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February 12, 2016
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate physician named to national task force that makes health screening recommendations

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— John Epling, MD, MS Ed, professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Upstate Medical University, has been named to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The task force issues evidence-based recommendations about a variety of screenings, and medications aimed a preventing illness and disease.

With his appointment, Epling becomes one of 16 members on the task force.

Members are appointed to serve four-year terms by the director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Upstate is please to congratulate Dr. Epling on this important appointment,” said David Duggan, MD, dean of the College of Medicine. “His appointment to this noteworthy panel reflects his outstanding work in preventive and evidence-based medicine and family medicine. Clinicians, patients, policy makers will be well served by Dr. Epling as he shares his expertise creating new recommendations for a healthy future across the United States.”

The task force was created in 1984 as an independent panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. The task force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications.

A recent recommendation that garnered significant attention was the group’s recommendation for screening for depression in the adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women. The group also recommended that screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up.

Other recent noteworthy screenings include the recommendation that adults 18 and older be screened for high blood pressure. In 2013, the USPSTF recommended annual screenings for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography in adults 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-a-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Epling was selected for his work on evidence-based medicine, clinical preventive services and the translation of research into practice and quality improvement.

Epling is also a professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. He has directed courses in and teaches family medicine, evidence-based medicine, and clinical prevention. Epling’s principal research interests include evidence-based medicine and the translation of research into practice, quality improvement and human performance technology, and technology integration in medical education and practice. His clinical research areas of focus include clinical preventive services, such as screening, vaccination, preventive medication, and behavioral risk counseling, as well as intimate partner violence.

He joined Upstate in 1999.

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