Developing Primary Care-Based Recommendations for Social Determinants of Health: Methods of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Ann Intern Med. 2020 Sep 15;173(6):461-467. doi: 10.7326/M20-0730. Epub 2020 Jul 14.


The purpose of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is to provide evidence-based recommendations on primary care screening, behavioral counseling, and preventive medications. A person's health is strongly influenced by social determinants of health, such as economic and social conditions; therefore, preventive recommendations that address these determinants would be ideal. However, differing social determinants have been proposed by a wide range of agencies and organizations, little prevention evidence is available, and responsible parties are in competition, all of which make the creation of evidence-based prevention recommendations for social determinants of health challenging. This article highlights social determinants already included in USPSTF recommendations and proposes a process by which others may be considered for primary care preventive recommendations. In many ways, incorporating social determinants of health into evidence-based recommendations is an evolving area. By reviewing the evidence on the effects of screening and interventions on social determinants relevant to primary care, the USPSTF will continue to provide recommendations on clinical preventive services to improve the health of all Americans.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Biomedical Research
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Preventive Health Services / standards*
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Assessment / standards
  • Social Determinants of Health / standards*
  • United States