continual basis to ensure that public health recommendations are current and incorporate the latest scientific evidence. The task force’s main responsibility is making clinical recommendations, but its role should be expanded to also recommend priority areas for research on clinical preventive services.
The U.S. Community Services Task Force is relatively new and has the responsibility to identify interventions that work for communities. As state efforts to implement comprehensive cancer control plans gain momentum, guidance on the effectiveness of public health interventions will be critically needed.
The Board recommends that support for both task forces be sufficient for systematic syntheses and meta-analyses of data from the literature and to keep abreast of developments in both clinical and community disease prevention and health promotion. Greater investments in dissemination activities are also needed to reach health providers and the general public, both about areas of consensus among public health scientists regarding interventions that work, and about the areas of controversy that remain. Some evidence suggests that health care providers and the public are not very familiar with the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Likewise, individuals who make insurance coverage decisions for employers are unfamiliar with these recommendations (Partnership for Prevention, 1997).
A promising complementary development aimed at improving dissemination of evidence-based cancer control interventions has been initiated at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Closing the Discovery to Delivery Gap: Translating Research into Improved Outcomes (TRIO). The effort aims to (National Cancer Institute, 2001):
model and monitor the impacts of diffusion and dissemination efforts on the health promotion and cancer control objectives of Healthy People 2010 (US DHHS and Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2000);
collaboratively promote adoption of evidence-based cancer control interventions by local, state, and national service organizations; and
focus on eliminating cancer-related health disparities among medically underserved populations with cancer.
Recommendation 10: Public and private organizations (e.g., the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society) should take steps to improve the public’s understanding of cancer prevention and early detection with a focus on promoting healthy lifestyles and informed decision making about health behaviors and cancer screening.