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Lippold named as national co-leader for Grand Challenge

Melissa Lippold, Ph.D., has been selected to serve as a national co-leader for the Grand Challenge for Social Work addressing “Ensure Healthy Development for All Youth.” She is an associate professor and Prudence and Peter Meehan Early Career Distinguished Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work.

Lippold will also serve as a member of the steering committee for the Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health, an interdisciplinary group of researchers, practitioners and policymakers who are committed to reducing behavioral health problems in young people. The coalition is part of the Grand Challenge and has established a goal of reducing the prevalence and incidence of behavioral health problems in young people, including the embedded racial and socioeconomic disparities in such problems.

Valerie Shapiro, Ph.D., (University of California Berkeley) and Kimberly Bender, Ph.D., (University of Denver) will serve with Lippold as Grand Challenge co-leaders.

“This is fantastic news — a national leadership role that fits squarely in Melissa’s area of expertise and research!” noted Gary Bowen, dean of the UNC School of Social Work.

Lippold joined the UNC School of Social Work faculty in 2013. Her research and career have focused on parent-adolescent relationships and their impact on adolescent behavior and health as well as family-based interventions to promote child and parent well-being. In 2019, she was recognized by UNC-Chapel Hill for its “Carolina Focus” program.

Her research has been funded by a variety of sources, including the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse; was selected as a Graham Fellow (Pennsylvania State University) and a McCormick Fellow (University of Chicago); served as a visiting scholar at the Center for Developmental Research in Orebro, Sweden; and was awarded the School of Social Work Excellence in Research Award in 2018.

Lippold earned her doctoral degree in human development and family studies from Pennsylvania State University where she focused on prevention science, master’s degrees in social work and in public policy from University of Chicago, and bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Colorado at Boulder.

She will begin her service as Grand Challenge co-leader in July 2020.

The Grand Challenges for Social Work is an initiative comprising 12 separate areas that represent the toughest social problems in the United States. The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare first championed this initiative in 2013. Today, the Grand Challenges for Social Work is a call to action for social work researchers and practitioners to apply the science and knowledge base of social work, in collaboration with professionals from related disciplines, in developing solutions with national impact for each of these social problems.