The US Department of Health and Human Services today announced the members of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the new council will help coordinate research and guide investments in comparative effectiveness research funded by the Recovery Act.

“Comparative effectiveness research can improve care for all Americans and is an important element of President Obama’s health reform plan,” said HHS Spokeswoman Jenny Backus. “President Obama is committed to openness and transparency and the Coordinating Council will host open meetings and a listening session as it begins its important work.”

Comparative effectiveness research provides information on the relative strengths and weakness of various medical interventions. Such research will give clinicians and patients valid information to make decisions that will improve the performance of the U.S. health care system.

The 15 member council, named today in accordance with a Congressionally-mandated timeline, will assist the agencies of the federal government, including HHS and the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, as well as others, to coordinate comparative effectiveness and related health services research. The Recovery Act authorized $300 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, $400 million for the National Institutes of Health, and $400 million for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to support comparative effectiveness research.

The council will not recommend clinical guidelines for payment, coverage or treatment. The council will consider the needs of populations served by federal programs and opportunities to build and expand on current investments and priorities. It will also provide input on priorities for the $400 million fund in the Recovery Act that the Secretary will allocate to advance this type of research.

Council members represent a diverse set of individuals and agencies; most of its members are clinicians. Representatives on the council will address the impact on subpopulations. To ensure that all voices are heard, the council will hold a public listening session on April 14, 2009. Its deliberations and recommendations will be public and transparent, consistent with all Recovery Act investments as well as the President’s commitment to open government.

A list of council members is available on the HHS [removed]Web site[/removed].

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services