Carlos Roberto Jaén, MD, PhD, professor and chairman of family and community medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio), will serve the next four years on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The task force announced his appointment on Jan. 5, effective immediately.
Dr. Jaén occupies the Dr. and Mrs. James L. Holly Distinguished Chair in the health science center’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine. His focus areas include improving preventive care for individuals of all ages, preventing complications from chronic diseases and supporting high performance in primary care offices. Dr. Jaén was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2013.
“The Long School of Medicine is extremely proud to congratulate Dr. Jaén on this prestigious appointment,” said Robert A. Hromas, MD, FACP, dean of the Long School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at UT Health San Antonio. “His experience in improving preventive care for people of all ages and supporting high performance in primary care offices will serve the task force and the health care community well.”
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. Members come from primary care and prevention-related fields, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, obstetrics and gynecology, and nursing. Dr. Jaén, who in addition to his doctoral degrees has a Master of Science degree in biology with emphasis in cancer, sees patients of the UT Health Physicians practice in the Long School of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (FAAFP).
The task force issues recommendation statements that have letter grades. A is the strongest recommendation in favor of a service (such as colonoscopy or mammography) and D is the strongest recommendation against. The task force also issues “I” statements when evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of a service.
“The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is probably one of the most consequential committees in the United States because, by virtue of the Accountable Care Act, anything that the task force determines to be A or B evidence for a recommendation must be covered by an insurance plan without charge to the patient,” Dr. Jaén said. “Decisions made by this task force affect everyone in our nation.”
Services to be reviewed include screening tests, counseling interventions and medications. The task force focuses only on primary prevention in people who are asymptomatic, before a disease state begins or is evident.
“Task force members review the best evidence there is, look at the risks or benefits of a service, and analyze studies that lay out the pros and cons,” Dr. Jaén said.
South Texas perspective
Only 16 of the nation’s primary care leaders serve on the committee at any given time. All terms are for four years.
“For me it is an opportunity to provide a perspective from being in practice in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 20 years,” Dr. Jaén said. “Part of the process, in addition to evaluating the evidence, is assessing the practicality of implementing particular recommendations.
“Patients in our communities have different needs,” he continued. “How we go about implementing and communicating what is recommended can vary. Understanding potential barriers and facilitators to making that happen is a perspective that I bring from the experience of being a practicing family physician in South Texas.”
“On behalf of the full task force, I welcome Dr. Jaén,” said task force Chair Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MASc. “Dr. Jaén’s expertise in guideline development and in improving quality and access to preventive care among Hispanic/Latino communities will be especially valuable as the task force works to address racial disparities and health inequities.”
Dr. Jaén has been selected to the Best Doctors in America yearly since 2002 and is dedicated to building a healthier San Antonio through efforts in community wellness.
Dr. Jaén served on the panels that published the U.S. Public Health Service smoking cessation guidelines in 1996 and 2000 and was co-chair of the panel that published an update in May 2008.
Dr. Jaén earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Niagara University and his MD and PhD degrees in epidemiology and community health from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed a residency in family medicine and a fellowship in primary care research at Case Western Reserve University.
To learn more about Dr. Jaén and all members of the Task Force, visit https://uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/about-uspstf/current-members.