U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF): An Introduction

Created in 1984, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF or Task Force) is an independent group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, or preventive medications. The USPSTF is made up of 16 volunteer members who come from the fields of preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, obstetrics/gynecology, and nursing. All members volunteer their time to serve on the USPSTF, and most are practicing clinicians.

When Congress authorized the USPSTF, it required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the Task Force's work. The 1998 Public Health Service Act and the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act instruct AHRQ to provide administrative, research, technical, and communication support to the Task Force. As part of this support, AHRQ

  • helps with day-to-day operations,
  • coordinates the production of evidence reports
  • ensures consistent use of Task Force methods, and
  • helps disseminate Task Force materials and recommendations.

The Director of AHRQ also appoints new USPSTF members, with guidance from the Chair of the Task Force. While AHRQ staff supports the Task Force, it is important to note that the Task Force is an independent body, and its work does not require AHRQ or HHS approval.

For more information about the USPSTF and its recommendations, go to http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/.

To nominate a new member of the USPSTF, go to www.ahrq.gov/professionals/clinicians-providers/guidelines-recommendations/nominate.html.

The following resources related to the USPSTF's recommendations are also available:

The following AHRQ Annual Conference presentations related to the USPSTF and USPSTF recommendations are available:

America's “Growth Spurt”: Screening and Treatment of Overweight Children and Adolescents in Primary Care – 2010

Improving Preventive Health Care for Older Americans – 2010

What Not to Do in Primary Care: Overuse of Preventive Services – 2009

Improving Preventive Health Care: Success Stories – 2009

Note: Slide presentations can be accessed using a Free PowerPoint® Viewer.

Page last reviewed September 2012
Internet Citation: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF): An Introduction. September 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/clinicians-providers/guidelines-recommendations/uspstf/index.html