Each topic team (Section 1.9) includes the AHRQ Medical Officer, a Task Force Chair or Vice Chair, representatives from the EPC conducting the systematic evidence review, and several Task Force members, known as "leads." One of the Task Force leads serves as the primary lead for that topic.
AHRQ staff solicits volunteers for the position of primary lead from among assigned topic leads during work plan development. When selecting a primary lead, an effort is made to choose an individual whose tenure on the Task Force will extend throughout the life of the topic.
The leads' role on a topic begins once they have received a draft work plan on the topic. A call is then scheduled to discuss the draft work plan.
Responsibilities of the Task Force topic leads include:
- Attending calls on the topic.
- Attending in-person Task Force meetings where the topic is to be discussed.
- Providing input on the draft research plan, reviewing public comments and proposed changes, and approving the research plan as final.
- Providing input on the draft evidence review and reviewing the final evidence review in preparation for drafting the recommendation statement.
- Assessing the evidence on each key question as convincing, adequate, or inadequate.
- Assessing the certainty of evidence and magnitude of net benefit across all key questions.
- Proposing a grade and supporting discussion of the grade at an in-person Task Force meeting.
- Contributing to the drafting of a recommendation statement and reviewing the public comments received.
- Contributing to revisions of the draft recommendation statement following the public comment period.
- Approving the final recommendation statement for ratification by the full Task Force.
Additional responsibilities of the primary lead (formerly known as the "lead lead"), beyond those of the other leads, include:
- Liaising with the AHRQ Medical Officer and the EPC and answering methodological questions as needed.
- Reviewing every comment received from the public on the draft research plan and bringing other leads to consensus on revisions needed.
- Facilitating discussion on calls and bringing other leads to consensus on key questions, certainty of evidence, magnitude of net benefit, and grade of the recommendation.
- Presenting the draft recommendation statement at the in-person Task Force meeting.
- Reviewing every comment received from the public on the draft recommendation statement and bringing other leads to consensus on revisions needed.
- Potentially serving as spokesperson for the media, as needed.
- Approving a one-page clinical summary for posting along with the recommendation statement.
At the start of, and throughout a topic, the following applies:
- Scheduling of topic team calls will take the primary lead's schedule into account first.
- Calls may be scheduled if and only if the primary lead plus at least one other Task Force topic lead can attend the call.
- Other members of the topic team who cannot attend a scheduled call can direct comments prior to or after a call to the primary lead, all parties (e.g., via email), or the AHRQ Medical Officer.
Current as of: July 2017
Internet Citation: Appendix IV. Roles and Responsibilities of USPSTF Members Serving as a Topic Lead. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. July 2017.