Merry Fitzpatrick

Merry FitzpatrickResearch Assistant Professor
Research Assistant Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition

Click here to read Merry’s Young Scholar Profile.

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
Courses Taught:

Famine, Livelihoods, and Resilience: Food Security Analysis and Response in Crisis and Crisis-Prone Contexts (Directed Study, Spring Term)

Most Recent External Publications:

News Items

Merry Fitzpatrick and colleague contribute post script to Field Exchange article on kwashiorkor
April 15, 2022

Because kwashiorkor, one of two major classifications of acute malnutrition, is often called “edematous malnutrition” and is diagnosed by pitting edema in both feet, any edema in compromised children is…

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Feinstein and Darfur Universities share lessons from research partnership
April 1, 2022

The Feinstein International Center has been working with academic colleagues in Sudan since it began working in the country more than 20 years ago. However, developing partnerships at the institutional…

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Feinstein Research Projects

Taadoud Transition to Development Project I & II

The Taadoud operational research aims to strengthen the impact of resilience-related actions and interventions.

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Revisiting the Evidence on Kwashiorkor Malnutrition
By Merry Fitzpatrick | October 2020

Through a series of webinars in late 2020, current researchers and practitioners review recent evidence related to kwashiorkor. These webinars will lead to another meeting of experts to discuss and advance kwashiorkor prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

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Feinstein Publications

Brief 2: Transforming Livelihood Systems: Meeting needs in a changing world

This brief reviews how farming, agro-pastoralist, and pastoralist livelihood systems in Darfur are permanently changing in response to these major changes and in the face of ever-increasing pressure on natural resources.

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Income Streams Index (ISI) Development: 2021 Interim Report
By Merry Fitzpatrick | March 2021

ISI is a measure of one aspect of resilience that is being developed and refined through a three-year longitudinal panel study embedded in the Taadoud program. This report uses data from six rounds of data collection and describes trends in livelihood activities, correlating them with ISI scores over time.

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