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

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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Merry Fitzpatrick and Irv Rosenberg rediscover book on starvation in Warsaw Ghetto
July 19, 2022

Warsaw Ghetto’s defiant Jewish doctors secretly documented the medical effects of Nazi starvation policies in a book recently rediscovered on a library shelf The book includes haunting photos from inside…

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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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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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