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 joins The Conversation podcast to discuss “Maladie de Famine”
January 24, 2023

Jewish doctors in the Warsaw Ghetto secretly documented the effects of Nazi-imposed starvation, and the knowledge is helping researchers today – podcast Starvation was omnipresent in the Warsaw Ghetto for both…

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Abubakr Siam, Merry Fitzpatrick share learning about COVID-19 in North Darfur
August 27, 2022

Abubakr Siam, El Thahir A. El Tahir, and Merry Fitzpatrick published their blog “Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic in El Fasher and rural areas of North Darfur, Sudan” on the Sudan…

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Feinstein Research Projects

Recovering in Sudan for Improved Nutrition and Growth (RISING II)

The RISING II operational research analyzes the informal social safety nets—how they function, who benefits from them, and how external support interacts with them—in multiple program areas in Darfur, Sudan.

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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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Feinstein Publications

Harnessing Informal Social Safety Nets for Resilience and Development
Cover of Harnessing Informal Social Safety Nets Report

This report examines how informal social safety nets operate, the functions they serve, who benefits, and the obligations on community members in North and South Darfur.

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Measuring the Resilience of Livelihoods in Darfur: The Income Streams Index
cover of the report on measuring the reslience of livelihoods in Darfur

This report uses an innovative real-time index, the Income Streams Index (ISI), to teach us how households in three states in Darfur Sudan managed and adapted their livelihood activities in the face of multiple shocks of various types and sizes over three years.

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