Merry Fitzpatrick

Merry FitzpatrickSenior Researcher

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 Finalizes a Communications Tool
April 10, 2020

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…

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Merry Fitzpatrick’s study on kwashiorkor to be presented at Nutrition 2020
March 3, 2020

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…

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Feinstein Research Projects

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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Budikadidi
By Merry Fitzpatrick | August 2020

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.

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Feinstein Publications

Committee Members and Influential People in Village Networks
By Merry Fitzpatrick | August 2020

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.

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Working with Cliques to Reach Everyone in Budikadidi Villages
By Merry Fitzpatrick | August 2020

Sometimes a group of people within a community exist somewhat separately. A clique is a subset of people within a larger group that has intense interaction within the subset but…

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