Janet Rich-Edwards is an epidemiologist focused on the intersection of a woman’s health and that of her children, investigating social and biological pathways though which health and disease processes develop. She is a codirector of the science program in Academic Ventures at the Radcliffe Institute, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a codirector of the Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology track at Harvard School of Public Health, where she directs an advanced course in reproductive epidemiology. Her research has highlighted how the physical development of young women presages both their fertility and their risk of metabolic disorders and has helped to establish inverse associations of birth weight with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, for example.
Rich-Edwards’s epidemiology analyses, the fruit of collaborative teams, draw from large cohorts. She founded two new cohorts within the Nurses’ Health Study II, and based on her occupational study indicating a correlation between work schedule and pregnancy outcome, a pilot contract for a web-based Nurses’ Health Study III was created. She also cofounded a subcohort of 68,000 nurses with data on physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, which has enabled unique analyses of the impact of childhood abuse on chronic disease outcomes. Outside of the Nurses’ Health Studies, she cofounded Project Viva, a birth cohort of more than 2,000 women and children, in which she examined predictors of preterm delivery and maternal depression. Rich-Edwards earned an MPH from the University of North Carolina and an SCD from the Harvard School of Public Health.