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The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services

Together, the Community Guide and the Clinical Guide provide evidence-based recommendations across the prevention spectrum.

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What is the Task Force?

What is the Community Preventive Services Task Force's purpose?
The Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) was established in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to identify population health interventions that are scientifically proven to save lives, increase lifespans, and improve quality of life. The Task Force produces recommendations (and identifies evidence gaps) to help inform the decision making of federal, state, and local health departments, other government agencies, communities, healthcare providers, employers, schools and research organizations.

Where can I find Task Force recommendations?
The collection of all Task Force reviews, recommendations and other findings can be found on this website. The publications page includes peer-reviewed articles of Task Force recommendations and the systematic reviews on which they are based. This website also includes information such as stories of how Task Force recommendations have been used to promote community health, and slides for telling others about Task Force recommendations.

How does the Task Force arrive at its recommendations?
The Task Force bases its recommendations on rigorous, replicable systematic reviews of the scientific literature, which do all of the following:

  • Evaluate the strength and limitations of published scientific studies about community-based health promotion and disease prevention programs, services, and policies
  • Assess whether the programs, services, and policies are effective in promoting health and preventing disease, injury, and disability
  • Examine the applicability of these programs, services, and policies to varied populations and settings
  • Conduct economic analyses of recommended interventions

These systematic reviews are conducted, with Task Force oversight, by scientists and subject matter experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with a wide range of government, academic, policy, and practice-based partners.

How does the Task Force decide what to review?
The Task Force conducts a careful prioritization process every three years that includes input from a broad scope of partners, including its official Liaison organizations and agencies.

Two Task Forces Different, but Complementary

The Community Preventive Services Task Force and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) are both expert panels that make prevention-oriented, evidence-based recommendations based on scientific reviews. Their work is complementary, because they focus on different settings.

  • The USPSTFExternal Web Site Icon provides evidence-based recommendations on clinical preventive services for patients. Their recommendations are typically used in primary health and healthcare-referable settings by clinical care professionals and decision makers. The USPSTF has evaluated clinical services such as screening tests, preventive medications, and behavioral counseling. The USPSTF receives administrative, research, and technical support from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
  • The Community Preventive Services Task Force provides evidence-based recommendations on preventive services, programs, and policies for community populations. Their recommendations are used by policymakers, practitioners, program planners, and other decision makers in communities, including companies, schools, public health agencies, healthcare institutions, and health plans, at the local, state, and federal levels. This task force has evaluated community education programs, behavior change programs, organizational and legislative policies, and health systems interventions. CDC provides ongoing administrative, research, and technical support for this task force.

The task forces and CDC and AHRQ staff collaborate on methods development, articles about the two task forces, and linking efforts across clinical and community settings to prevent disease, disability, and injury, and improve quality of life.


Complementary Work of Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)

This X-Y axis shows overlapping responsibilities of the USPSTF (clinical perspective) and the CPSTF (public health perspective) as a venn diagram. On the Y axis, which represents the Type of Preventive Services, with increasing space between categories as it progresses; from the point of origin moving up: Screening Tests, Preventive Medications, Behavior Change Counseling, Information/Education, Organizational Policies, Legislative Policies. On the X axis, which represents Settings, spaced equally across the figure; from the point of origin moving right: Primary Care Offices, Health System/Community-Based Organizations; Built Environment/Worksites/Schools, Communities/States/Nation. Work of the USPSTF is represented by a medium blue bubble shape whose middle covers the point of origin and extends up to Organizational Policies on the Y axis and right to Built Environment/Worksites/Schools on the X axis. Work of the CPSTF is represented by a light blue bubble shape that covers the upper right corner of the grid and extends down to the very bottom, or Screening Tests, and left to Primary Care Offices, just shy of the Y axis. Where the two bubble shapes overlap, there is a dark blue area that represents the overlapping areas of their work.