Maria Merritt, PhD

Associate Professor
CV

Contact

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E8150
Baltimore, MD 21205
  • Core Faculty
    Berman Institute of Bioethics
  • Associate Professor
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Merritt is interested in questions of public health ethics in international public health research and practice. The two main lines of inquiry in her funded research portfolio have been: how to consider social justice in the economic evaluation of health policy options; and how to delineate researchers’ and sponsors’ ethical responsibilities regarding community members’ health needs in public health intervention research. A third, complementary line of inquiry is related to moral psychology — the study of feeling, thought, and action in morally significant contexts — and involves nurturing the capacity for wonder in educational settings for health professionals. Looking ahead, Dr. Merritt’s emerging research agenda focuses on public health ethics in relation to the search for climate solutions.

Dr. Merritt served 2016-2020 as Associate Chair for Student Matters in the JHSPH Department of International Health, and 2015-2020 as Program Officer for the JHU Exploration of Practical Ethics. She was a Visiting Scholar at the NIH Department of Bioethics for academic year 2020-2021.

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HONORS AND AWARDS

  • Hastings Center Fellow, elected December 2020
  • Recognition for teaching excellence as principal instructor of JHSPH course, Ethics of Public Health Practice in Developing Countries (221.616.01: classroom), 4th term 2016-17, 2015-16, 2014-15, 2012-13, and 2011-12; (221.616.81: online), 4th term 2017-18 and 2016-17; and as principal instructor of Ethics in Global Health Practice (604.603.86), 2018-19.
  • Student Assembly Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Commitment to Student Success, 2017
  • Principal Investigator, NIH award number 1R01AI114458-01A1, 2015-19, “Assessing Social Justice in Economic Evaluation to Scale up Novel MDR-TB Regimens” (award issued by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)
  • Recognition for teaching excellence as principal instructor of JHSPH course, Ethics of Public Health Practice in Developing Countries (221.616.01), 4th term 2015-16; 2014-15; 2012-13; and 2011-12
  • Co-Investigator, NIH award number 1R01AI085147-01A1, 2010-14, “Ancillary Care in Community-Based Research: Deciding What to Do” (PI Holly A. Taylor; award issued by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)
  • Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program in Bioethics career development award, 2009-12, “Researchers’ Obligations in Community-Based Research: Resolving Dilemmas of Care”
  • Faculty Innovation Fund, 2007-08, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Ancillary Care in Public Health Intervention Research in Resource-Limited Settings: Researchers’ Practices and Decision-Making”(Co-PI Holly A. Taylor)
  • Faculty Fellow, Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics, Harvard University, 2005-06
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Clinical Bioethics, National Institutes of Health, 2000-02
  • Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University, 1987-90

Research Interests

  • Developing a novel methodology for considering social justice impacts side-by-side with cost-effectiveness as part of economic evaluation in health policy
  • Ethics of public health research in low- and middle-income countries – particularly questions about researchers’ responsibilities to benefit research participants and populations
  • Moral psychology, the study of feeling, thought, and action in morally significant contexts

Education

  • B.S., Wake Forest University
  • B.A., Oxford University
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Clinical Bioethics, NIH

Recent Publications

  • Taylor HA, Dowdy DW, Searle AR, Stennett AL, Dukhanin V, Zwerling AA, Merritt MW (senior author), “Disadvantage and the Experience of Treatment for Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB),” SSM – Qualitative Research in Health (2022): 2: 100042: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmqr.2022.100042
  • Dowdy DW, Zwerling AA, Stennett A, Searle A, Dukhanin V, Taylor HA, Merritt MW (senior and corresponding author), “Measuring Stigma to Assess the Social Justice Implications of Health-Related Policy Decisions: Application to Novel Treatment Regimens for Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis,” Medical Decision Making Policy & Practice (2020): 5(1): https://doi.org/10.1177/2381468320915239
  • Geller G, Steinman C, Caldwell M, Goldberg H, Hanlon C, Wonnell T, Merritt MW (senior author), “Development and Validation of a Capacity for Wonder (CfW) Scale for Use in Educational Settings,” Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment (2020): 38(8): 982-994: https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282920918727
  • Merritt MW, Sutherland CS, Tediosi F, “Ethical Considerations for Global Health Decision-Making: Justice-Enhanced Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of New Technologies for Trypanosoma brucei gambiense,” Public Health Ethics (2018): phy013, https://doi.org/10.1093/phe/phy013
  • Dukhanin VA, Searle A, Zwerling A, Dowdy DW, Taylor HA, Merritt MW (senior and corresponding author), “Integrating Social Justice Concerns into Economic Evaluation for Healthcare and Public Health: A Systematic Review,” Social Science & Medicine (2018): 198: 27-35