Merrick Schaefer is the Senior Digital Health Advisor at USAID’s Center for Innovation and Impact in the Global Health Bureau, where he operationalizing the Agency's Digital Health Vision and leading the Digital Square mechanism. Previously he led the Development Informatics team where he helped lead the Lab’s Ebola efforts in using technology to improve disaster response and recovery and drive institutional change initiatives focused on improving the Agency's ability to use technology in their programs. His work focuses on the intersection of technology and international development. Before joining the USAID he was a Senior Innovation Specialist at the World Bank and an mHealth Specialist at UNICEF where he was a founding member of the UNICEF Innovation Team. His work ranges from strategic program design to managing software development, as well as implementing programs in the field and the monitoring & evaluation of ICT4D projects. Three defining projects of his career were managing the development of the RapidSMS software framework, leading Programme Mwana in Zambia, one of the first mHealth programs to be scaled nationally and co-drafting and championing the Principles of Digital Development.
Merrick started working as a web developer in 1995, having a front row seat to the explosive growth of the World Wide Web. He has worked on enterprise level systems while consulting to Accenture, as well as creating websites for small businesses and non-profits while running a web development consultancy. He graduated from the University of Chicago where he earned a B.A. in Medical Ethics, when not hacking on web projects. Merrick is also an avid rock climber of 26 years, and often can be found dangling off cliffs in far flung corners of the world.