“I am thrilled to join the Department of Urban-Global Public Health at the Rutgers School of Public,” says Merchant. “I look forward to preparing students as public health leaders, scholars, and practitioners. Alongside colleagues at Rutgers University, and beyond, I am excited to conduct public health research and scholarship and engage collaboratively with communities and populations.”
As a faculty member focused on contributing to the education program at the school, Merchant is excited to lead students in active discussions and activities on global food and culture, food systems, global public health, and more as well as use her research portfolio as a vehicle to increase student engagement both in and out of the classroom. She will also be helping lead the public health nutrition concentration.
“Dr. Merchant will be an outstanding addition to our faculty,” says Leslie Kantor, professor and chair of the Department of Urban-Global Public Health. “She is an engaging and committed educator who is able to bring topics related to public health nutrition come to life through innovative teaching. Her research has been in both U.S. and global contexts, making her a great example of our commitment to urban-global public health. Dr. Merchant has deep ties to Rutgers where she received her academic degrees and has lots of ideas about enhancing the overall student experience. We are very excited to welcome her to the department!”
During her undergraduate education, Merchant studied the impact of climate change in Antarctica using autonomous underwater vehicles. Post-graduation, she pivoted to working on climate change closer to home and spent five years promoting sustainability within the New Jersey food system through consumer and health focused initiatives. This led to her pursuit of a graduate degree where she studied health outcomes associated with increased consumption of indigenous and traditional leafy greens in Kenya and Zambia.
Merchant's research focuses on the interface between food environments and human health using culturally preferred foods as a vehicle for delivering nutrients to underserved populations.
Merchant is an alumnus of Rutgers University where she received both her B.S and Ph.D.