Maria Merritt, PhD
Inaugural Associate Chair for Student Matters
Associate Professor, International Health
Health Systems Program
Associate Professor Maria Merritt
Maria Merritt, an associate professor in the Department’s Health Systems Program, was appointed the first Associate Chair for Student Matters. In her new position, Dr. Merritt will help ensure that as the Department grows, students have the resources they need to thrive both academically and personally.
In her new role, Merritt leads the Admissions Committee, works on policy formation for student tuition and financial support, and coordinates student matters across the Department’s four program areas. Merritt is working with Professor Joanne Katz, the Associate Chair for Academic Programs, to develop a new training program for International Health faculty who advise students. She also works one-on-one with students to help resolve specific academic challenges.
In May, the Bloomberg School’s Student Assembly honored Merritt with its Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Commitment to Student Success. Students from across the School nominated faculty and then cast their votes to determine the recipient. Cristina Salazar, the Department’s Academic Program Manager, who works closely with Merritt and International Health students, believes the award is well deserved:
Dr. Merritt puts her heart into her work. I’m very happy the students chose to honor her. It confirms how much positive impact she’s been able to have in less than one year in this new role.
Merritt is a philosopher by training, with a joint appointment in the Berman Institute of Bioethics, and teaches the course entitled, The Ethics of Public Health Practice in Developing Countries. In it, students learn how to apply ethical concepts to real-world public health issues.
Her prior scholarship has focused on the ethics of public health research in low- and middle-income countries and what sorts of responsibilities researchers may have to benefit participants and populations involved in their studies. She recently received grants from the Greenwall Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to lead the development of a way to factor in social justice issues when evaluating health policy options. “This work will be important for enabling decision makers to take explicitly into account both social justice and ‘value for money’ in a single analysis,” explains Merritt.