USPSTF changing guideline development process to be more gender inclusive
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced that it is “strengthening the way it communicates about sex and gender in recommendation statements,” according to a press release.
Previously published data indicate that there are approximately 1 million people in the U.S. who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming, according to the USPSTF.
“Clinicians nationwide are caring for people across the spectrum of gender diversity, and we want to help ensure that they have the best possible information to keep people healthy,” Aaron Caughey, MD, MPP, MPH, PhD, a task force member and associate dean for Women’s Health Research and Policy at Oregon Health & Science University, said in the press release.
The USPSTF will consider sex and gender issues before developing a research plan for new or updated recommendations, including how biology and identity “inform the risks, outcomes and provision of the preventive service; whether certain populations based on sex, gender or both may be disproportionately affected by a condition or susceptible to variation in the effectiveness of the preventive service; and whether there is potentially adequate evidence to consider a specific review and recommendation for transgender, intersex, gender nonbinary and gender nonconforming populations,” Caughey and colleagues wrote in JAMA.
The task force’s multistep approach also includes soliciting input from appropriate underrepresented groups, considering the gender of participants in studies that are used to develop a recommendation and noting when such evidence is unclear.
When issuing recommendations, the task force will utilize gender-neutral language when appropriate and indicate “whether each given recommendation should be applied based on someone’s sex at birth, current anatomy or gender identity,” according to the press release.
The USPSTF’s announcement is also a call to action for the health care community, according to Caughey.
“Unfortunately, research studies of clinical preventive services often do not fully consider biological sex and gender identity, leaving the task force without the data necessary to offer more nuanced recommendations,” he said. “We are calling for all clinical research to adopt a more inclusive approach to considering and reporting the sex and gender of study participants.”
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force publishes article addressing sex and gender in primary care prevention. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/sites/default/files/file/supporting_documents/jama-tf-approach-addressing-sex-gender-issues-bulletin.pdf. Published Oct. 25, 2021. Accessed Oct. 25, 2021.