Under a blog post headline, “The meeting that wasn’t, and a surprise announcement,” federal health officer Dr. Kenny Lin announces he is leaving the support team of the US Preventive Services Task Force and resigning from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
That’s the surprise announcement.
The “meeting that wasn’t,” he explains, would have been today: “This was to be the first day of the third U.S. Preventive Services Task Force meeting of 2010… however, there is no USPSTF meeting today. And while the question of why the meeting was cancelled is perhaps easily answered by looking at the calendar, in my mind it is much less apparent how to repair the damage that this setback did to the Task Force, medicine, and the fragile public trust.”
He signs off:
“I will miss my colleagues at AHRQ and the Task Force very much. To borrow a line from a farewell message I sent to many of them last week, they deserve all our thanks for everything they do (and will continue to do) to make the U.S. health care “system” a little bit more rational, despite the many obstacles and challenges. Politics trumped science this time, as it has in the past, and may at times in the future. On the bright side, though, in a few more weeks the growing force of private sector allies of the USPSTF and evidence-based medicine will have one more member, and I’m ready and willing to speak my mind.”
The hyperlink to the story about the hijacking of USPSTF mammography recommendations one year ago was Dr. Lin’s – not mine.
I have tried to reach him by phone and email this morning but have not yet been able to do so.
According to his online bio, Dr. Lin is a Medical Officer for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). He provides technical assistance to the USPSTF in the form of drafting recommendations, conducting targeted evidence updates, and serving as a peer reviewer for USPSTF evidence reviews and products.
One other line in his bio is worth noting:
“Dr. Lin was the recipient of the AHRQ 2008 Article of the Year Award for his systematic review on the benefits and harms of prostate-specific antigen screening for prostate cancer.”
The USPSTF had originally been scheduled to vote on new prostate cancer screening recommendations today.
Last week I wrote that this meeting cancellation didn’t pass the smell test. Now it reeks even worse.