To be honest, I was not really familiar with the USPSTF until this task force issued recommendations regarding screening for depression in adults and emphasized the importance of screening for depression in pregnant and postpartum women.  But what I have learned is that the USPSTF recommendations reach a tremendous number of people and have the potential to shape public opinion and policy.

So what is the USPSTF? According to their website:

Created in 1984, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications. All recommendations are published on the Task Force’s website and/or in a peer-reviewed journal.

So now the USPSTF is working on evidence-based guidelines regarding interventions to reduce risk of postpartum depression — another extremely important topic.  The outline looks pretty comprehensive, but the public is welcome to comment.  This opportunity for public comment expires on June 15, 2016 at 8:00 PM EST.

In an effort to make the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations clearer and its processes more transparent, the Task Force started posting draft Recommendation Statements online for public comment in 2010. To further enhance its work, the Task Force began inviting public comment on all its draft Research Plans in December 2011.

The final Research Plan will be used to guide a systematic review of the evidence by researchers at an Evidence-based Practice Center. The resulting Evidence Review will form the basis of the USPSTF Recommendation Statement on this topic.


Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Draft Research Plan for Postpartum Depression: Interventions – No longer available

Final Research Plan


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