Covering news about screenings, preventive health recommendations

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

AHCJ webcastThe U.S. Preventive Services Task Force just released a recommendation that pregnant women be screened for gestational diabetes, even if they have not been previously diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes.

The task force often finds itself in the news when determining what works and doesn’t work in screenings and preventive care.

Previously, it told healthy women not to bother with calcium and vitamin D pills, said many women could wait on mammograms until age 50 and recently clarified who might benefit from regular lung cancer screening tests. The task force’s work lies in translating medical evidence into clinical practice, which can be a difficult and contentious task. Its recommendations are often nuanced and misunderstood.

How does the group come to these determinations and how can you report on the science and not just the heat a recommendation generates? What is evidence-based medicine and how does the USPSTF use it to make recommendations on health care services?

In a Jan. 28 webcast, USPSTF chair Dr. Virginia Moyer and co-vice chair Dr. Michael LeFevre will explain how the task force works in an effort to deepen our reporting of upcoming task force recommendations. A Q&A with the doctors, moderated by AHCJ medical studies topic leader Brenda Goodman, will follow.

How to participate

This is an event for AHCJ members, so you will need your AHCJ user name and password to access the webcast. About 15 minutes before the webcast begins, a link will be added to this page.

About the speakers

Virginia-MoyerVirginia A. Moyer, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, is the vice president for maintenance of certification and quality at the American Board of Pediatrics. She is a board-certified pediatrician with expertise in ambulatory care, diagnostic testing, and evidence-based medicine. She is also an experienced researcher, lecturer, and author.

Moyer has served as deputy editor of Pediatrics and is a past member of the American Academy of Pediatrics steering committee on quality improvement and management. She serves as editor or reviewer for numerous pediatric journals, including being a founding editor of Evidence-Based Child Health, a Cochrane Review journal.

Previously, Moyer was the head of the Academic General Pediatrics Section and a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. She served as chief quality officer for medicine and chief of academic medicine service at Texas Children’s Hospital and as a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Texas Medical School, where she was also the associate director of the Center for Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine. Moyer is a member of the Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group and the steering committee for the Cochrane Collaboration Child Health Field.

Moyer was a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force from January 2003 to December 2008. She returned to the Task Force as Chair in March 2011 for a three-year term.

Michael-LeFevreMichael L. LeFevre, M.D., M.S.P.H., co-vice chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, is the Future of Family Medicine professor and vice chair in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

As director of clinical services for the Department of Family Medicine, he oversees eight practices that have 100,000 outpatient visits, 2,500 admissions, 5,000 nursing home visits, and more than 200 obstetric deliveries each year. He maintains an active family medicine practice.

LeFevre served for a decade as the chief medical information officer for University of Missouri Health Care. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2011 and has been named to the “Best Doctors in America” list annually since 1996.

His research and clinical interests include family medicine, information technology in clinical care, clinical practice guidelines, preventive services, and women’s health care.

LeFevre has been a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force since January 2005 and was appointed co-vice chair in March 2011.

brenda-goodmanBrenda Goodman is AHCJ’s medical studies core topic leader. She helps guide journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enables them to translate the evidence into accurate information that their readers can grasp.

Goodman has been a health and science reporter for 15 years across a variety of platforms. Her stories have appeared in Scientific American, The New York Times, Psychology Today, Self, Health, Parade and The Boston Globe. She is a regular news writer for WebMD. She has a master’s degree in science, health, and environmental reporting from New York University and lives in Atlanta.

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