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Lori Pbert appointed to United States Preventive Services Task Force

UMass Medical School Communications

January 23, 2019
  Lori Pbert, PhD

Lori Pbert, PhD

UMass Medical School preventive and behavioral health expert Lori Pbert, PhD, has been appointed to a four-year term as a member of the United States Preventive Services Task Force. The task force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that 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.

“I am honored to join the team of clinicians and scientists on the task force dedicated to helping clinicians ensure their patients receive the best evidence-based preventive services possible,” said Dr. Pbert, professor of population & quantitative health sciences. “As a member of the task force I will have the chance to help make a difference in how preventive health care is delivered on a larger scale than what I can accomplish as an individual researcher.”

A clinical psychologist and behavioral scientist whose work centers on tobacco use and obesity prevention and treatment, with a focus on youth and families, Pbert has expertise in the development of clinician-delivered, preventive health interventions in primary care settings. She is associate chief of the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Population & Quantitative Health Sciences, and founder and director of the Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training at UMMS.

“On behalf of the full Task Force, I am happy to welcome Dr. Pbert,” said Sue Curry, PhD, task force chair. “Her efforts to integrate preventive health interventions into clinical practice and work in prevention for youth and families will be an important addition to the task force.”

Pbert’s research portfolio includes the development of clinician-delivered preventive health intervention protocols within primary care settings and the establishment of clinical-community linkages and adjunct approaches to support clinic-based health promotion and disease prevention efforts. Her current research includes evaluating the effectiveness of a coaching program as an adjunct to a pediatric office-based intervention to help families of children who are overweight or obese make recommended changes in diet and physical activity; mindfulness training as an adjunct to medical care in managing symptoms and improving quality of life in adults with asthma; and school-based interventions to improve self-regulation and cardiovascular health behaviors in adolescents. Her work has also included the development of measures to assess clinician delivery of evidence-based clinical preventive services.

As a founding member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Center for Child Health Research Tobacco Consortium, Pbert led efforts to review and synthesize the literature to develop and disseminate recommendations for the treatment of tobacco use and exposure among youth within pediatric practice. Her protocols to prevent and treat nicotine dependence in adolescents have been disseminated by the National Cancer Institute and cited in the 2012 Surgeon General’s Report on Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults.

“Dr. Pbert has an impressive track record of moving the needle on major preventive health issues including tobacco cessation and obesity,” said Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine. “We are proud that she will represent our institution’s commitment to primary care and public health.”

The task force comprises 16 experts in the fields of preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, obstetrics/gynecology and nursing. Members use their own expertise and routinely invite the input of topic experts and specialists, stakeholders, and the public to develop recommendations. The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality convenes the task force and provides scientific, administrative and dissemination support.

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