The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care is composed of experts who develop recommendations for clinical preventive services delivered by Canadian primary care practitioners. The Task Force is responsible for prioritizing the topics that will be reviewed and is supported by the Global Health and Guidelines Division of the Public Health Agency of Canada to define the analytic framework and scope of each topic. The Task Force collaborates with two evidence review and synthesis centres from the University of Ottawa and the University of Alberta, which conduct evidence reviews that the Task Force uses to develop its recommendations. The Task Force’s Knowledge Translation (KT) Team from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto leads KT activities to promote guideline reach and uptake and to support practitioners and patients in shared decision making.
Message From the Chair
Greetings! In this issue, I am pleased to share information on a number of exciting Task Force activities.
Firstly, I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Ainsley Moore is the new Vice-Chair of the Task Force. Dr. Moore joined the Task Force in 2013 and has been an invaluable member since then. Among other contributions, Dr. Moore chaired the working group for our Screening for Asymptomatic Bacteriuria in Pregnancy guideline and has been an active member of the KT, Methods, and Topic Selection working groups. Dr. Moore is a highly knowledgeable family doctor, a strong researcher who is well-versed in the principles of evidence review and synthesis, and, importantly, simply an outstanding team member and colleague. I am looking forward to sharing leadership responsibilities and working closely with Dr. Moore.
The Task Force has recently developed videos to provide primary care physicians with key information about lung cancer screening. The videos reference the Task Force’s 2016 lung cancer guideline recommendations and explain disease progression, lung cancer screening, and the overall benefits and harms of screening. The videos are available in both English and French.
In addition, the Task Force is leading a 2-year pilot initiative to develop and evaluate a network of Clinical Prevention Leaders (CPLs) who are trained in Task Force guideline development and implementation. CPLs across Canada promote the uptake of evidence-based guidelines through educational outreach and peer-to-peer learning. For more information, see below or visit our website. We are currently recruiting more CPLs to join this initiative. Please contact Kate Einarson (research coordinator) (EinarsonK@smh.ca) with the subject line ‘CPL Network’ if you are interested in becoming a CPL.
The Task Force continues to offer two Continuing Medical Education modules through our e-learning platform: Obesity Prevention and Management and Screening for Cervical Cancer – see “Continuing Medical Education” below for more information.
As always, we appreciate your interest in the Task Force and we encourage you to stay up to date on our work by visiting our website at www.canadiantaskforce.ca.
Brett Thombs, PhD
Chair, Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care
NEW – Lung Cancer Video
This video was developed by the Task Force to provide primary care physicians with key information about lung cancer screening. The video references the Task Force’s 2016 lung cancer guideline recommendations. The video explains disease progression; lung cancer screening; and the Task Force lung cancer screening guideline recommendations, including the overall benefits and harms of screening
To access the Task Force’s Lung Cancer Video in English or French please visit:
Continuing Medical Education
The Obesity Prevention and Management e-learning module
The Obesity Prevention and Management e-learning module expands on the Task Force’s 2015 guidelines on the prevention and management of obesity in adults and in youth and children. The module is intended to help primary care providers better understand the impact of obesity on patients; explains measures for assessing and monitoring obesity in adults, youth, and children; and provides an overview of behavioural and pharmacotherapeutic interventions available to patients.
Screening for Cervical Cancer e-learning module
The Task Force is pleased to offer the accredited e-learning module “Screening for Cervical Cancer with the 2013 Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care Guidelines.”
This e-learning module represents a unique learning opportunity for primary care providers to develop a deeper understanding of the 2013 Task Force guidelines on cervical cancer screening and some of the nuances of how they can be applied in clinical practice.
Clinical Prevention Leaders Network Update
The purpose of this network is to develop Canadian capacity in evidence-based guideline development, to promote the uptake of evidence-based guidelines, and to address barriers to guideline implementation at a local level through educational outreach and peer-to-peer learning, in conjunction with other knowledge translation activities. An initial group of 13 CPLs were selected based on their experience as a practicing primary care practitioner or allied health professional; interest in the CTFPHC and evidence-based medicine; experience in educational outreach; and the degree to which they are considered social influencers.
We are currently recruiting more CPLs to join this initiative. If you are interested in becoming a CPL please contact Kate Einarson (research coordinator) (EinarsonK@smh.ca) with the subject line ‘CPL Network’
Meet the Task Force
Dr. Eddy Lang
Hi I’m Eddy. I am an emergency physician and the department head for Emergency Medicine in Calgary, Alberta. I am also the Scientific Director of the Emergency Strategic Clinical Network in Alberta and a member of the GRADE working group. My interest in the work of the Task Force stems from two aspects of my background. Working in emergency medicine over the past 25 years and practising in Quebec and now in Alberta has given me a unique view on the breakdown in continuity of care and hospital and community health systems that lead to “safety net” emergency visits. I have seen first-hand the impact that a strained healthcare system can have on patient presentations and outcomes. It seems at times that primary care and community services are often overwhelmed with the burden of an aging population with chronic diseases often-linked to modifiable risk factors like smoking. I have always wondered what role preventative health care services can have in mitigating the impact of chronic disease in our health care system. More recently, and through my work with the Task Force I have become increasingly aware of the potential harms that are associated with many well-intentioned screening programs and even some interventions designed to prevent illness or illness progression.
Over the years I have also been fortunate to serve as a guideline methodologist using the GRADE approach for a number of national and international projects spanning a wide range of topics and target audiences. I was first introduced to the GRADE approach to evidence synthesis and evaluation as well as the development of recommendations during a number of visits to McMaster University at their Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Workshop held each June. The GRADE approach has undergone a remarkable evolution over the past years but now represents the most widely used framework for guideline development on the planet. GRADE’s major strengths are that it considers a body of evidence at the level of outcomes as opposed to individual studies yielding variable results. GRADE also recognizes that invariably there are judgements to be made around the certainty of evidence and the importance of outcomes and effect sizes as well as the balance between benefits and harms leading to recommendations. It is GRADE’s adherence to transparency and explicitness that makes it so appealing, highlighting that you may not always agree with an evidence review or a panel’s judgement but at least you will see clearly how they got there.
On a personal note, I am a transplanted Montrealer and McGill grad having spent four decades of my life in Quebec. During my family medicine training I was supervised by Dr. Roland Grad who is now a Task Force colleague. The key to work-life balance for me is Masters swimming, an activity I enjoy with my wife whom I met on the McGill swim team. Four nearly-adult children later, we are enjoying the Calgary can-do mentality and the Rocky Mountains.
CTFPHC Internship Program
The Task Force is committed to providing mentored training opportunities to Canadian healthcare trainees and early career professionals. Opportunities for Task Force Interns include short-term training opportunities and longer-term internships. Both short-term and longer-term internships involve working closely with a Task Force member who will supervise and provide mentorship to the intern.
- Short-term Internships
Include projects that can be completed in a period consistent with a residency research rotation and could be used to fulfill rotation requirements.
- Longer-term Internships
Involve a mentored experience working with the Chair of a Task Force guideline working group from the initiation of the guideline process through completion.
Eligible applicants include MDs in residency training programs or who are conducting fellowships, trainees in doctoral programs, and practicing healthcare professionals in the first 5 years of their careers.
For more information regarding specific eligibility for short-term and long-term internships and the application procedure, please visit the Task Force Internship Program page.
Hiring – Bilingual Research Coordinator (French-English)
The Task Force’s Knowledge Translation (KT) Team from St. Michael’s Hospital is currently looking for a bilingual (French/ English) Research Coordinator to join their team. This position would support various KT activities such as developing and implementing strategies to disseminate and increase the uptake of guidelines and building strong supportive relationships amongst diverse stakeholders. If interested, please apply by September 24th.
Other Opportunities for Engagement
Usability Testing of Practitioner Tools
The Task Force produces practitioner tools to support each of its guidelines. To ensure that the content, layout, navigation, and aesthetics of these tools are appropriate and useful for practice, we conduct usability testing with practitioners. If you are interested in reviewing and providing feedback on one of our upcoming guideline tools, please email Rossella Scoleri, research assistant, at email@example.com for more information. Note that we offer $100 compensation for a one-hour telephone interview.
Patient Engagement in Guideline Development
The Task Force engages patients in its guideline development process. Specifically, the Task Force recruits patients to provide input at up to three stages of the guideline development process: (1) when outcomes are selected for inclusion in the systematic review protocol; (2) when the final guideline recommendations and KT tools are developed; and (3) when patient KT tools are usability tested. The Task Force uses feedback provided by patients to guide the search for evidence on the harms and benefits of preventive health care interventions and to develop KT tools to accompany the guidelines.
Guidelines in Progress
Upcoming Task Force clinical practice guidelines include the following topics:
- Screening for breast cancer (update)
- Screening for esophageal adenocarcinoma
For more information about these forthcoming guidelines, please visit our upcoming guidelines website page.
Is there a preventive health topic that you would like to see the Task Force develop a clinical practice guideline for? Let us know what you are passionate about! We accept topic suggestions on a rolling basis and would love to hear from you. To submit a suggestion, please complete an online form.
Suggestions for the next newsletter
Is there a subject that you would like to see addressed in the next issue of the Task Force newsletter? Let us know what you’d like to see covered! We are always accepting suggestions. To submit a suggestion, please email Rossella Scoleri, research assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Newsletter Suggestions”.