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Treatment guideline panels for obesity and PTSD are named

APA’s guidelines to be drafted by multidisciplinary groups of scientists and clinicians.

By Howard S. Kurtzman and Lynn Bufka, PhD

The Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association has approved the memberships of two new panels that will draft APA’s clinical treatment guidelines for obesity and for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The members of the panels are:

Clinical Treatment Guideline Development Panel for Obesity
  • Jamy Darone Ard, MD
    Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

  • Gary Bennett, PhD
    Duke University

  • Phillip Brantley, PhD
    Pennington Biomedical Research Center
    Louisiana State University

  • Leonard Epstein, PhD
    SUNY, University at Buffalo

  • Barbara Fiese, PhD
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Jane Gray, PhD
    Texas Center for the Prevention & Treatment of Childhood Obesity
    Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas

  • Maria Llabre, PhD - Chair
    University of Miami

  • Michelle Polfuss, PhD, RN, CPNP-AC/PC
    Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

  • Hollie Raynor, PhD, RD, LDN
    University of Tennessee

  • Delia Smith West, PhD
    University of Arkansas

  • Denise Wilfley, PhD
    Washington University in St. Louis

Clinical Treatment Guideline Development Panel for PTSD
  • Laura Brown, PhD
    Fremont Community Therapy Project (Seattle, Wash.)

  • Joan Cook, PhD
    Yale School of Medicine

  • Christine Courtois, PhD - Chair
    Courtois & Associates (Washington, D.C.)

  • John Fairbank, PhD
    Duke University

  • Matthew Friedman, MD, PhD
    Dartmouth Medical School

  • Joseph Gone, PhD
    University of Michigan

  • Devon Hinton, MD, PhD
    Harvard Medical School

  • Russell Jones, PhD
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

  • Annette La Greca, PhD
    University of Miami

  • Priscilla Schulz, LCSW-C
    Peace Corps

  • Jeffrey Sonis, MD, PhD
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The treatment guidelines website contains background information about each member of the obesity and PTSD panels.

The members of these panels were selected following calls for nominations that were issued in April 2012. Fifty-four nominations were received for the obesity panel, and 46 were received for the PTSD panel. The advisory steering committee that is overseeing APA’s guideline development effort reviewed the nominations and recommended these names to the Board of Directors, which approved them in November. Following current standards for guideline development, the steering committee designed the panel to include scientists and clinicians who represent a broad range of expertise, experience and perspectives, from psychology as well as other fields.

All panel members have submitted information regarding potential conflicts of interest (including financial, organizational and personal conflicts, as well as intellectual commitments and biases). After reviewing this information and other available materials, APA staff and the steering committee have determined that no members have any conflicts that would preclude them from serving on the panel. Conflicts of interest will be reviewed again at least annually as the panel members proceed with their work.

Each panel will meet in person and hold regular conference calls. They will begin their work by becoming fully acquainted with current standards and procedures for guideline development, such as those formulated in recent reports of the Institute of Medicine (for example, Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews and Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust) and within organizations such as Guidelines International Network (of which APA is a member). As their work proceeds, the panels may also call upon consultants with expertise in particular areas. Both panels will develop mechanisms for soliciting and incorporating the perspectives of patients and other stakeholders.

Development of guidelines will be based upon systematic reviews of the relevant scientific literature. It is expected that the PTSD panel will draw primarily on systematic reviews concerning PTSD interventions that will soon be released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The obesity panel will assess the appropriateness and relevance of available systematic reviews for obesity interventions and can recommend that APA commission additional reviews.

As reported previously, APA has also established a guideline development panel for depression. That panel is holding its first formal meeting in December 2012. It will initially focus on developing the questions that will guide the systematic review to be commissioned by APA. Researchers from RTI International, which has a contract with AHRQ as an evidence-based practice center, will meet with the depression panel to provide guidance on current approaches to systematic reviews and guideline development, similar to consultations they have recently provided to the steering committee and APA staff.

The work of each guideline development panel is expected to take approximately two years. Funding and staff support for all three panels is provided entirely by APA.

All three panels will initially examine the effectiveness of various treatments across the lifespan. It is possible, however, that the first guidelines to be produced will have more limited scopes, based on the availability of evidence and on the feasibility and cost of obtaining systematic reviews covering multiple interventions and age ranges. The scopes of guidelines can be expanded as they are updated in subsequent years.

Additional information about APA’s treatment guideline development initiative can be found on the project website. Questions and comments are invited and may be sent to APA’s Clinical Treatment Guidelines email.

(Note that in 2013, APA will begin to implement a change in terminology aimed at bringing its labeling of guidelines in accord with that of other health care organizations. The term “clinical treatment guidelines” will be replaced by “clinical practice guidelines.” Further, the term “practice guidelines” will be replaced by “professional practice guidelines.” Clinical practice guidelines are focused on specific disorders and interventions, while professional practice guidelines are mainly concerned with how practice is conducted with particular populations or in particular settings. The Council of Representatives approved this terminology change at its August 2012 meeting.)


Previous coverage:

Howard Kurtzman, PhD, is deputy executive director for science (Science Directorate) and Lynn Bufka, PhD, is assistant executive director for practice research and policy (Practice Directorate) at the American Psychological Association. This article is appearing in both Psychological Science Agenda and PracticeUpdate.