Janis Baird is Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton. Her research focuses on the translation of evidence of the developmental determinants of health and disease into public health policy and practice. Janis leads an MRC programme focused on improving cardio-metabolic health across the lifecourse. Her research incorporates epidemiological studies, examining the factors and predict cardio-metabolic health and the mechanisms that link them with later disease, and complex intervention studies which aim to improve health and nutrition before conception and during pregnancy, with a particular focus on reducing inequalities.
Janis has contributed to the development of evidence-based practice, both locally through effective knowledge translation, and nationally through committee work including a leadership role at NICE. Locally, her research has directly influenced the city council’s Obesity Prevention Plan 2017. Nationally, she has been a core member of a NICE Public Health Advisory Committee since 2016 and, in 2018, was appointed as vice chair of the committee. As well as having extensive experience of systematic review, she also has an interest in evaluation of complex interventions. She led the development of the 2015 Medical Research Council guidance on process evaluation of complex intervention studies.
Janis graduated in medicine from Cardiff in 1987. She trained in General Practice before entering Public Health Medicine in 1993. She was a research fellow at the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit (EEU) between 1994 and 1997 during which time she carried out her doctoral studies exploring the environmental and genetic origins of blood pressure and glucose tolerance in a cohort of adult twins. Having completed specialist training in Public Health Medicine she returned to the MRC EEU in 2001. In 2002 she was awarded an MRC Special Training Fellowship in Health of the Public Research during which she carried out a series of linked systematic reviews to explore the association of infant growth with health and well-being across the life course and to assess the implications of this evidence for public health policy.