U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Delivers its First Annual Report to Congress on High-Priority Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services

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Hey folks, this is significant. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has come out with eleven high-priority clinical preventive services that USPSTF believes deserve further examination. (So researchers and funders of research need to listen up!)

In the Affordable Care Act, Congress also requested that the USPSTF identify evidence gaps that prevent it from making recommendations that target specific populations or age groups. On the list of four specific topics that the USPSTF has prioritized as having critical evidence gaps for targeted populations and age groups that may be addressed through research and that if filled are likely to result in important new recommendations, number two is Screening for Depression in Children.

From the report:

Okay, the message is clear - USPSTF is telling Congress that this is an important area of focus and that more research could result in important new recommendations. Time to get busy.

Read the press release:

In its “First Annual Report to Congress on High-Priority Evidence Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services,” the USPSTF highlights eleven high-priority clinical preventive services that the USPSTF believes deserve further examination with the hope that it will assist public and private researchers and research funders in targeting their efforts.  Additionally the Report includes an overview of the USPSTF, its methods, and processes.
Concurrent with the release of the USPSTF’s report, the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) issued its first Report to Congress.  The work of the USPSTF complements that of the CPSTF, which makes recommendations to identify programs, services, and policies proven effective in communities, worksites, schools, and local governments. The CPSTF report provides background on the CPSTF, its methods, findings, and recommendations, and describes both gaps in existing research on community preventive services and priorities for future Task Force efforts.
Taken together, the recommendations of the two Task Forces provide our nation with the knowledge of how health is improved by prevention in both clinical and community settings. The two reports were submitted to Congress together on October 27, 2011 to demonstrate the close collaboration of the two Task Forces, and to provide a full picture of our nation’s prevention research needs.

Download the complete report here


  1. Lisa Lambert's avatar
    Lisa Lambert
    | Permalink
    Here in Massachusetts -- and we may be the only state -- we routinely do screening at well child visits. There are 8 approved screening tools, some for certain age groups, others for certain suspected problems (autism, depression, substance use). Even with this going on, there is no data about which tools pediatricians are using or any data about how the tools correlate with positive screens. So close and yet so far!!
  2. Mario Hernandez's avatar
    Mario Hernandez
    | Permalink
    I agree. Fortunately and unfortunately the child mental health field has focused on the most challenging children. Without hampering services research on children with serious challenges we have to press the field to expand its reach to prevention and to understanding the associated factors. The Affordable Care Act will be challenged in the long run if the field can't grow it's expertise in prevention of serious and challenging emotional issues in children and adolescents.
  3. Jim Cook's avatar
    Jim Cook
    | Permalink
    I'm very disappointed that most of the services in the list are not really prevention but screening for existing conditions. Early identification is clearly different from prevention. If we could really focus on the factors that lead to the development of problems, we'd have a potentially greater gain. Not sure how counseling for obese children and adults could ever be considered a preventive service. The only true preventive interventions appear to be home visitation to prevent child abuse and aspirin to prevent heart attacks.
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