Magdalena Janus

  • Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences
  • Associate Member, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI)
  • Ontario Children's Secretariat Chair in Early Childhood Development
  • Affiliate Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia


Dr. Magdalena Janus earned a Ph.D. in behavioural sciences from Cambridge University. Her doctoral research involved studying the nature of relationships among young human and non-human primates. Subsequently, she was a post-doctoral fellow and research associate at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, before joining the McMaster faculty in 2002. Since joining the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University in 1997, Dr. Janus, together with the late Dr. Dan Offord, has been involved in a community-linked project (School Readiness to Learn Project) developing a measure of children’s readiness to learn at school entry, called the Early Development Instrument (EDI). The focus of this research is to provide communities with the information that will inform them about the state of early childhood development and provide a tool for mobilization of resources. Magdalena and her team have now supported the implementation of the EDI for over 1,000,000 children in Canada, and its adaptation in over a dozen international sites, including developed as well as developing countries, e.g., Australia, USA, Sweden, Brazil, Peru, and Jordan. Magdalena’s research interests include indicators of early child development and their correlates in population and international contexts, social determinants of children’s health, transition to school, with a particular emphasis on children with special needs. She regularly serves as a consultant with various national and international organizations, including the World Bank, WHO, and UNICEF, on the measurement and indicators of early child development.

Current Activities

  • Monitoring of child development at school entry with the Early Development Instrument (EDI) – measuring five core areas of early child development known to be good predictors of adult health, education and social outcomes
  • Pan-Canadian Examination of Social Determinants of Children’s Developmental Health - examining the association between developmental health outcomes and socioeconomic and demographic variables according to local geographic areas where children spent their early years
  • Fit for School, Fit for Life-Child Health and School Readiness – investigating association between BMI and other health and developmental trajectories (e.g. physical activity, sedentary behaviours, sleep, nutritional risk, etc.) and emotion regulation trajectories in early childhood and school readiness at school entry
  • Forum for Early Child Development Monitoring - is a Canada-wide network of researchers, practitioners and organizations building a comprehensive, population-based early child development monitoring system
  • 2014 Ontario Child Health Study – examining the mental health and functioning of 10,530 children in families and neighbourhoods across Ontario
  • 2014 Ontario Child Health Study School Mental Health Surveys – a component of the larger 2014 OCHS that will enlist schools across Ontario to study school-level influences on student mental health


  • Janus, M., Reid-Westoby, C., Raiter, N., Forer, B., & Guhn, M. (2021) Population-Level Data on Child Development at School Entry Reflecting Social Determinants of Health: A Narrative Review of Studies Using the Early Development Instrument. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  • Saunders, N.R., Janus, M., Porter, J., Lu, H., Gaskin, A., Kalappa, G., & Guttmann, A. (2021) Use of administrative record linkage to measure medical and social risk factors for early developmental vulnerabilityin Ontario, Canada. International Journal of Population Data Science.
  • Halfon, N., Aguilar, E., Stanley, L., Hotez, E., Block, E., & Janus, M. (2020) Equity from the Start: Measuring Disparities in the Health Development of US Kindergartners. Health Affairs 39 (10) 1702-1709. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00920.
  • Pei, J., Reid-Westoby, C., Siddiqua, A., Elshamy, Y., Rorem, D., Bennett, T., Birken, C., Coplan, R., Duku, E., Ferro, M.A., Forer, B., Georgiades, S., Gorter, J. W., Guhn, M., Maguire, J., Manson, H., Santos, R., Brownell, M., & Janus, M. (2020). Teacher-Reported Prevalence of FASD in Kindergarten in Canada: Association with Child Development and Problems at Home. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04545-w. 2020.
  • Zeraatkar, D., Duku, E., Bennett, T., Guhn, M., Forer, B., Brownell, M., & Janus, M. Socioeconomic gradient in the developmental health of Canadian children with disabilities at school entry: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032396. 2020.
  • Cavallera, V., Black, M., Bromley, K., Cuartas, J., Eekhout, I., Janus, M., … & Dua, T. (2019). The Global Scale for Early Development (GSED). Early Childhood Matters, 128, 80-84.
  • Forer, B., Minh, A., Webb, S., Duku, E., Brownell, M., Muhajarine, N., Janus, M., & Guhn, M. (2019). A Canadian neighbourhood index for socioeconomic status associated with early child development. Child Indicators Research, 1-22. doi: 10.1007/s12187-019-09666-y
  • Raikes, A., Koziol, N., Janus, M., Platas, L., Weatherholt, T., Smeby, A. & Sayre, R. (2019). Examination of school readiness constructs in Tanzania: Psychometric evaluation of the MELQO scales. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 62, 122-134. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2019.02.003
  • Lancaster, G. A., McCray, G., Kariger, P., Dua, T., Titman, A., Chandna, J., … & Janus, M.(2018). Creation of the WHO Indicators of Infant and Young Child Development (IYCD): Metadata synthesis across 10 countries. BMJ Global Health, 3, 1-15. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000747
  • Gagné, M., Janus, M., Milbrath, C., Gadermann, A., & Guhn, M. (2018). Early Emotional and Communication Functioning Predicting the Academic Trajectories of Refugee Children in Canada. Educational Psychology, 1-18. doi: 10.1080/01443410.2018.1475627
  • Janus, M., Brownell, M., Ried-Westoby, C., Bennett, T., Birken, C., Coplan, R., … & Santos, R. (2018). Establishing a protocol for building a pan-Canadian population-based monitoring system for early childhood development for children with health disorders: Canadian Children’s Health in Context Study (CCHICS). BMJ Open, 1-10. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023688
  • Janus, M., Enns, J., Forer, B., Raos, R., Gaskin, A., Webb, S., … & Guhn, M. (2018). A Pan-Canadian data resource for monitoring child developmental health: The Canadian Neighbourhoods Early Child Development (CanNECD) database. International Journal of Population Data Science, 3, 1-11.
  • O’Leary, J. D., Janus, M., Duku, E., Wijeysundera, D. N., To, T., Ping, L.,… & Crawford, M. W. (2018). Influence of surgical procedures and general anesthesia on child development before primary school entry among matched sibling pairs. JAMA Pediatrics, e1-e8.

For further publications click here.

Additional Information

Contact Magdalena


Research Interests

  • Population-level measurement of children’s developmental health at school entry: methodology, outcomes and correlates
  • Individual, neighbourhood, community and policy impact on children’s development
  • Transition to school for children with special needs

Education, Memberships & Certifications

  • Ph.D., University of Cambridge
  • M.Sc., Jagiellonian University