Merry Fitzpatrick

Merry FitzpatrickSenior Researcher

Merry’s research interests span two separate but related fields.  She has had a long-term interest in livelihoods and food security in conflict and post-conflict settings.  The focus of this work is on supporting local strategies that households and communities use to mitigate, cope with, and recover from the effects of conflict.  More recently, she has been studying the etiology of kwashiorkor malnutrition in order to design preventive interventions in extremely low resource settings and biomarkers to indicate the early stages of kwashiorkor.  Although Merry has worked in most regions of the world, her research interests are primarily in central Africa around the Great Lakes, and the Sahel.

Merry has more than 20 years of field experience in humanitarian response. She worked with multiple humanitarian agencies, including the International Rescue Committee, GOAL Ireland, and Food for the Hungry. Most recently, at World Concern she was the Relief Director and then the Senior Director for Technical Support. With Feinstein she conducted research on the Somalia famine, resilience and livelihoods in Darfur, Sudan, and pastoralism. Additionally, she was the international research team leader on the Sudan Humanitarian Assistance and Resilience Program (SHARP) and continues to contribute to the center’s research.

Merry holds a B.S. in chemistry from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.B.A. with a concentration in international development from Hope International University, an M.Sc. in food policy and applied nutrition and a Ph.D. from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts.

Research Interests:
  • Local strategies to maintain livelihoods and food security in conflict settings
  • Famine causes and prevention
  • Malnutrition, specifically the etiology of kwashiorkor malnutrition
Regional Focus:
  • the Sahel (Niger, Chad, and Sudan)
  • central and east Africa
Most Recent External Publications:

Maxwell, D., & Fitzpatrick, M. (2012). The 2011 Somalia famine: Context, causes, and complications. Global Food Security, 1(1), 5-12.

News Items

Merry Fitzpatrick published article on kwashiorkor in Food and Nutrition Bulletin
August 23, 2018

The Food and Nutrition Bulletin published Merry Fitzpatrick’s article, Lost in Aggregation: The Geographic Distribution of Kwashiorkor in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, on August 23, 2018. Kwashiorkor is…

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Merry Fitzpatrick discusses post-hurricane Caribbean
April 20, 2018

On April 18th, Merry Fitzpatrick was a panelist at the Post-Hurricane Caribbean: Response and Recovery discussion hosted by the Fletcher Human Rights Project and the Fletcher Humanitarian Action Society. She…

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Feinstein Research Projects

Taadoud Transition to Development Project I & II

The broad aim of the SHARP Taadoud operational research is to strengthen the impact of resilience-related actions and interventions.

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Feinstein Publications

Briefing Paper: Risk and Returns: Household Priorities for Resilient Livelihoods in Darfur
resilient livelihood systems Darfur
By Merry Fitzpatrick, Helen Young | April 2017

Livelihood systems in Darfur have experienced massive shocks and extreme changes over the past two decades. Though most communities are making positive progress, their recovery from multiple shocks over the…

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(Arabic) Briefing Paper: Risk and Returns: Household Priorities for Resilient Livelihoods in Darfur
Sudan resilience, humanitarian action, climate change, livelihoods, climate change, and pastoralism research
By Merry Fitzpatrick, Helen Young | April 2017

Livelihood systems in Darfur have experienced massive shocks and extreme changes over the past two decades. Though most communities are making positive progress, their recovery from multiple shocks over the…

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