Faculty and Researchers
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.
- Local strategies to maintain livelihoods and food security in conflict settings
- Famine causes and prevention
- Malnutrition, specifically the etiology of kwashiorkor malnutrition
- the Sahel (Niger, Chad, and Sudan)
- central and east Africa
Famine, Livelihoods, and Resilience: Food Security Analysis and Response in Crisis and Crisis-Prone Contexts (Directed Study, Spring Term)
- Fitzpatrick, M., Ghosh, S., Kurpad,A., Duggan, C., &Maxwell, D. “Lost in Aggregation: The Geographic Distribution of Kwashiorkor in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Food and Nutrition Bulletin. (2018). doi:10.1177/0379572118794072
- Maxwell, D., & Fitzpatrick, M. “The 2011 Somalia famine: Context, causes, and complications.” Global Food Security 1, no.1 (2012). 5-12.
Merry Fitzpatrick laid the groundwork, finalizing a communications tool for stunting to help mothers and practitioners to better understand what stunting is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While this study…Read More
Merry Fitzpatrick’s abstract titled, “Sulfur Amino Acid Dietary Intake Lower in a High Kwashiorkor Prevalence Population” was accepted for presentation at Nutrition 2020, a annual nutrition science meeting hosted by…Read More
Feinstein Research Projects
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.Read More
Budikadidi is a five-year (2016-2021) development program to promote self-sufficiency and improved nutrition in the isolated, under-developed Kasai Orientale Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).The Feinstein International Center is leading three studies under this program.Read More
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.Read More
This study found that there is a relatively small overlap between people deemed the most influential and the elected committee members of self-organizing groups.Read More