When the GUIDE TO COMMUNITY PREVENTIVE SERVICES: Systematic Reviews and Evidence-Based Recommendations (the Guide) is published in 2001, it will represent a significant national effort in encouraging evidence-based public health practice in defined populations (e.g., communities or members of specific managed care plans). The Guide will make recommendations regarding public health interventions to reduce illness, disability, premature death, and environmental hazards that impair community health and quality of life. The Guide is being developed under the guidance of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (the Task Force)-a 15-member, nonfederal, independent panel of experts. Subject matter experts, methodologists, and scientific staff are supporting the Task Force in using explicit rules to conduct systematic literature reviews of evidence of effectiveness, economic efficiency, and feasibility on which to base recommendations for community action. Contributors to the Guide are building on the experience of others to confront methodologic challenges unique to the assessment of complex multicomponent intervention studies with nonexperimental or nonrandomized designs and diverse measures of outcome and effectiveness. Persons who plan, fund, and implement population-based services and policies to improve health at the state and local levels are invited to scrutinize the work in progress and to communicate with contributors. When the Guide is complete, readers are encouraged to consider critically the value and relevance of its contents, the implementation of interventions the Task Force recommends, the abandonment of interventions the Task Force does not recommend, and the need for rigorous evaluation of the benefits and harms of promising interventions of unknown effectiveness.