APA Urges IOM Committee to Strengthen Depression and Violence Screening Recommendations

Gwendolyn P. Keita, PhDOn March 9, 2011, Gwendolyn P. Keita, PhD, Executive Director of APA's Public Interest Directorate, was invited to present a statement before the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Preventive Services for Women  that urged revisions to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations.  Dr. Keita's remarks addressed two priority areas:

  • Depression Screening: APA proposed that USPSTF strengthen the grade for depression screening for youth and adults from a grade of “B” (recommends physicians provide the service) to an “A” (strongly recommends physicians provide the service).  Dr. Keita informed the Committee that the USPSTF recommendation should include screening of all adolescents and adults for depression and for treatment or referral for treatment and follow-up when depression is indicated.

  • Family and Interpersonal Violence Screening: APA also urged the Committee to strengthen and reconsider the recommendation for family and interpersonal violence screening, which currently has an “I” rating (insufficient evidence).  Dr. Keita’s remarks noted that the USPSTF did not review the evidence for the effectiveness of case-finding tools, which would appear to be an important review to conduct, and recommended the Committee review some of the more recent evidence-based violence prevention interventions, including the APA Adults and Children Together (ACT) to Prevent Violence program.  She noted that the costs of family and interpersonal violence to individuals’ health, safety, and well-being, as well as to society, are too high not to be included at least in the “B” category.

The IOM Committee's charge includes:

  • Reviewing what preventive services are necessary for women’s health and well-being, and which services should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines for preventive services for women; and

  • Providing guidance on a process for regularly updating the preventive screenings and services.

The USPSTF is an independent panel of non-Federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine composed of primary care physicians. It conducts scientific evidence reviews of a broad range of clinical preventive health care services.