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Professor Janis Baird MBBS, PhD, FFPH

Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health

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Janis Baird is Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

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 origins of health and disease into public health policy and practice.

After graduating 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.

Currently, Janis co-leads a series of complex intervention studies which aim to improve the health and nutrition of women of childbearing age, with a particular focus on reducing inequalities. As well as having extensive experience of systematic review, she also has an interest in process evaluation and between 2011 and 2014 Janis chaired a group of researchers, funded by the Medical Research Council, who developed guidance on process evaluation within complex intervention studies.


MB BS, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff (1987)
DCH Royal College of Paediatrics (1992)
DRCOG, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (1993)
MFPH, Faculty of Public Health (2001)
PhD Epidemiology, University of Southampton (2001)
FFPH, Faculty of Public Health (2007)

Appointments held

Associate Professor of Public Health Medicine 2014-
Senior Lecturer in Public Health Medicine 2012-14
Senior Research Fellow 2006-11
Honorary Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Southampton University Hospital Trust 2006-
MRC Special Training Fellow in Health Service and Health of the Public Research 2002-06

Research interests

Complex Intervention Studies
Southampton Initiative for Health (SIH)

With Mary Barker, Janis co-leads the SIH – a complex public health intervention aimed at improving the diets and physical activity levels of women from disadvantaged backgrounds. The over-arching aim of the SIH programme is to improve the health of women of childbearing age, thereby improving the health of their children and of future generations. This work is funded by the NIHR as part of SUHT’s Nutrition and Lifestyle Biomedical Research Centre, and has been show-cased at a meeting of the Council of Heads of Medical Schools across the country as an example of good practice in translational research. The SIH is a training intervention delivered to staff in Sure Start Children’s Centres to enable them to support women and their families in changing their health behaviour. The intervention is being evaluated in a non-randomised controlled trial. A detailed process evaluation assessing changes in staff practice runs alongside the trial. The exploration of the influence of food environment on women’s dietary quality, and the effects of maternal diet and feeding control practices are important components of the SIH programme, and the SIH group is collaborating with groups in the UK, Australia and the US to advance these components of the work.

SPRING (Southampton Pregnancy Intervention for the Next Generation)

SPRING is a complex public health intervention study which aims to improve the nutrition of mothers during pregnancy leading to more optimal body composition in their offspring. Janis co-leads the study with Mary Barker, Nick Harvey anc Cyrus Cooper. The study is a randomised controlled trial of factorial design evaluating the impact of a behaviour change intervention combined with vitamin D supplementation.

Process evaluation

Between 2011 and 2014 Janis chaired a group of researchers who, with funding from the MRC Population Health Sciences Research Network, developed guidance on process evaluation within complex intervention studies. The guidance has been endorsed by the Medical Research Council and published in the British Medical Journal.

Environmental determinants of diet

Since 2009, Janis Baird and Christina Vogel have carried out research to characterise the food environments of women living in Southampton and explore their influence on women’s dietary quality. Their observational work is now informing the development of multi-level interventions which aim to improve diet by combining environmental strategies with individual-level behaviour change.

Systematic review to assess developmental influences on later health

Janis is working on a number of systematic reviews with colleagues in the MRC LEU and the wider faculty of medicine. These include systematic reviews to explore developmental influences on bone mass and sarcopenia, and an HTA review exploring the association of vitamin D with health outcomes across the lifecourse.

Determinants of growth, health and well-being during infancy and childhood

Using the children’s follow up of the Southampton Women’s Survey, Janis is working with colleagues with the MRC LEU and the wider faculty of medicine to explore the determinants of health and well-being in childhood. Current research focuses on sleep and parenting as determinants of early growth and psychological development.

For more information on the work of the MRC LEU, please visit



Human Development and Health

Affiliate Department(s)

Human Development and Physiology

Student supervision

Current supervision

Ilse Bloom PhD 2015 –

Christina Vogel post-doc 2014 –

Taylor Rose 2016-

Emma Phelps, University of Oxford, post-doc 2016-

Rachael Marsh, MSc in Public Health, 2017-

Personal Tutor for two undergraduate medical students

Past supervision

2015 Taylor Rose, MSc in Public Health

2014 Christina Black PhD

2013 Ilse Bloom, MSc Public Health Nutrition

2011 Beatrice Paganini MSc Public Health Nutrition

2010 Ross Kenny MSc Public Health Nutrition 

2008 Jeanette Keyte MSc Public Health Nutrition

Faculty of Medicine

Co-lead for the Southampton Initiative for Health (SIH), and SPRING two complex intervention studies that aims to improve the diets and nutrition of women of childbearing age.

Member of advisory group for CREW – cohort study to explore recovery following primary treatment of colorectal cancer, led by Macmillan Cancer Research Unit, School of Health Sciences.
University of Southampton

Member of advisory group for a feasibilty study to follow up lung cancer survivors.

University representative on Southampton City Council’s chief executive’s group to address ways in which the City can work with the University to promote the health of Southampton.
Public engagement with science – representative of the university at annual school science events
MRC Population Health Sciences Research Network – organisation of two workshops:
Process evaluation in complex public health interventions November 2010
Early career researchers February 2011

Member of Faculty of Medicine Athena Swan committee, leading on promotion, appraisal and mentoring, and member of the Human Development and Health Athena Swan sub-committee.

National and international

Expert Adviser NICE Centre for Guidelines 2017-2019
NICE Public Health Advisory Committees (PHAC) core member of PHAC C, 2016-
Member of NICE Public Health Advisory Group on safe sunlight exposure 2013-15
Member of the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) for the South Central region 2014 onwards
Chair of MRC PHSRN Process Evaluation in Complex Interventions Guideline Development Group 2011-14
International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity member and member of Policies and Environments Special Interest Group 2015-
Society for Social Medicine, committee member 2012-15
Member of Faculty of Public Health Child Health Interest Group 2002-
Member of NCCHTA college of experts
Archives of Public Health - member of editorial board
NIHR peer reviewer 2008-
Co-author of BMA report: Early Nutrition and Lifelong Health 2009
NICE consultation on maternal and child nutrition – Faculty of Public Health representative September 2005
FPH annual scientific meeting – organisation of child public health conference sessions (peer review and abstract selection) 2003-06
Member of Health Development Agency low birth weight reference group 2002-03.
WHO advisory group on nutrition and low birth weight – rapporteur for scientific meeting 2003.

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BM5 Year 4 Research for Health and Medicine
lecturing on systematic review and meta-analysis

MSc in Public Health
lecturing on systematic review and meta-analysis

PGT Research Skills and Statistics Module:
Lecturing on systematic review

BM 4/5:
Finals annual marking of critical appraisal exam

  • Selector undergraduate medical students – BM4, BM5 and BM6.
  • Postgraduate teaching and supervision – MSc Public Health, PhD students, Public Health Registrars.
  • Epidemiology for Clinicians – lecturer and facilitator.
  • Supervisor – currently two PhDs and two postdoctoral students
  • Educational supervisor for Wessex Deanery
  • Mentor for Faculty of Medicine – three undergraduate medical students.
  • Member of Faculty of Medicine postgraduate mentoring scheme.
  • Mentor for Society for Social Medicine.
  • ARCP clinical academic assessor since 2012.
  • PhD and MD examiner
Professor Janis Baird
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit University of Southampton Mailpoint 95 Southampton General Hospital SO16 6YD


Room Number: SGH/MRC/MP95

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