Expert Bio

Melissa Merrick

Melissa T. Merrick, PhD

Senior Epidemiologist, Surveillance Branch, Division of Violence Prevention


Areas of Expertise

  • Child abuse and neglect prevention
  • Adverse childhood experiences

Melissa T. Merrick, PhD, is a Senior Epidemiologist with the Surveillance Branch in the Division of Violence Prevention at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Her major research interests focus on the etiology, surveillance, course, and prevention of child maltreatment. Much of her work examines safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments, as they relate to child maltreatment prevention, and examining the effects of adverse childhood experiences, particularly maltreatment, throughout the lifespan.

Dr. Merrick is involved in multiple DVP projects. In partnership with the HHS Office of Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), she serves as the Science Lead for the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. She also leads DVP’s surveillance of safe, stable, nurturing relationships in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV). Dr. Merrick serves as science lead for a study panel examining the role of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments in the intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment. Finally, she is a scientist on the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) and is particularly interested in violence experienced in childhood and adolescence.

Prior to joining CDC, Dr. Merrick was an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow with the University of Miami Child Protection Team (CPT), involved in a multisite program of research that examined child maltreatment risk and protective factors in families evaluated by CPTs across the state of Florida.

Dr. Merrick received her BA in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001. She then completed a two-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Training Award Fellowship at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in the Section on Social and Emotional Development. Dr. Merrick received her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, where she served as a program coordinator for the San Diego site of the Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) consortium.