structures nor the organization of modern medicine and health care can be redesigned. Thus, the challenge is to improve communication and cooperation among health, education, developmental disabilities, and social services disciplines and government agencies.
Therefore, the committee recommends that an interagency task force, or other entity comprised of representatives from the relevant federal research, surveillance, and services agencies, be established to coordinate national efforts in FAS, ARBD, and ARND. Lead responsibility for heading this task force should be assigned to NIAAA, because it is experienced at encouraging research and at incorporating research methodologies into all activities and has had the longest history in addressing FAS. However, all member agencies should be willing and able to translate research findings into service delivery and policy development activities and be expected to contribute to and be consulted with about achieving the overall goals of preventing and treating FAS.
It is suggested that one of the top priorities of such a coordinating body should be to forge interagency cooperation in the adoption of a common terminology and set of definitions related to these disorders, such as proposed in this report, and the design and implementation of national surveys to estimate the true prevalence of FAS, ARND, and ARBD. At the same time, prevention and treatment of secondary disabilities associated with FAS, ARND, and ARBD, as well as prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence by pregnant women and by women at risk of becoming pregnant, should be a high, and long-term, priority of this coordinating body. Additional important areas of focus should include consideration of basic research and communication among the basic and clinical research communities and the health services community. Recommendations for research in all aspects of FAS can be found in this report and should serve as guidance for the coordinating body. Finally, the coordinating body should take active steps to encourage and facilitate the rigorous evaluation of all intervention programs.