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AHRQ Announces New Vice-Chair and Members of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

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Press Release Date: March 24, 2005

Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., director of HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today announced five new members and a new vice-chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The Task Force, sponsored by AHRQ, is the leading independent panel of private-sector experts in prevention and primary care and conducts rigorous, impartial assessments of the scientific evidence for a broad range of preventive services.

Diana Petitti, M.D., M.P.H., a member of the Task Force for the past year, became vice-chair in January, replacing former vice-chair Janet Allan, Ph.D., R.N. Bruce Nedrow (Ned) Calonge, M.D., M.P.H. is the current Task Force chair. The five new members are Thomas DeWitt, M.D.; Kenneth Kizer, M.D., M.P.H.; Michael LeFevre, M.D., M.S.P.H.; Lucy Marion, Ph.D., R.N.; and George Sawaya, M.D.

"The Task Force plays a vital role in advancing the field of prevention in primary care," said Dr. Clancy. "The addition of these new members, and the selection of Dr. Petitti as the new vice-chair, assures that Task Force deliberations will be further informed by experience and expertise in such important areas as quality improvement, managed care, and health care information technology."

Dr. Petitti, an expert in preventive medicine, is senior scientific advisor for health policy and medicine for Kaiser Permanente of Southern California in Pasadena. She is a member of the American Public Health Association, the Society for Epidemiologic Research, and the American Epidemiologic Society, and is a fellow of the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology. She is currently a member of the Institute of Medicine committee on new approaches to early detection of breast cancer; the California Office of Statewide Planning on Health's Technical Advisory Committee; and the Kaiser Permanente National Research Council.

Dr. DeWitt is the Carl Weihl professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of General and Community Pediatrics, and associate chair for primary care in the Department of Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. He has also served as the Project Director for the Bureau of Health Professions grants in General Pediatrics Residency Training and Faculty Development, both at Children's Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati and at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Dr. DeWitt also served on the Board of Directors of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, serving as president from 1993 to 1994.

Dr. Kizer is president and CEO of the National Quality Forum in Washington, D.C. He currently serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of Medsphere Systems Corporation in Aliso Viejo, California, and he is the director of Trinity Health of Novi, Michigan. Previously, Dr. Kizer served for 5 years as Undersecretary of Health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the CEO of the Veterans Healthcare System. He was also Director of the California Department of Health Services and in this role was California's top health care official.

Dr. LeFevre is a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. He is the medical director of family medicine for Missouri University Health Care. He is also the director of the Missouri University Health Care Electronic Medical Record Project, chair of the credentialing committee for the Department of Family Medicine and director of clinical services in the Department of Family Medicine. Dr. LeFevre has served on the commission on clinical policies and research of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Dr. Marion is the dean and professor of the Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing. Previously, she was associate dean for academic nursing practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing. She has served on state and national advisory groups concerning mental health care, environmental risks to children, the genetics workforce, and the practice doctorate for nurses, and belongs to several professional organizations.

Dr. Sawaya is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. He currently serves on two expert panels for HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that focus on detecting ovarian, breast, and cervical cancers. He also serves as a peer reviewer for several journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The Task Force has made recommendations on a wide range of preventive services, including screening for prostate cancer, obesity, cervical cancer, and most recently abdominal aortic aneurysms, as well as counseling for healthy diet, the use of aspirin to prevent heart disease and vitamins to prevent cancer and heart disease. Its recommendations are considered the gold standard for clinical preventive services. Upcoming recommendations are expected on hormone therapy for the prevention of chronic conditions in postmenopausal women and screening for HIV, among others.

More information about the Task Force can be found on the AHRQ Web site at

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: (301) 427-1246 or (301) 427-1865.


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