David Merlo, MS, COTA/L, CPRP, ROH is founding director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Bryant and Stratton College in Rochester, NY. Prior to that he was professor and clinical fieldwork coordinator for over 18 years at Erie Community College OTA Program in Buffalo, NY. He was awarded Professor Emiratis status after his retirement from Erie Community College.
Previous clinical work includes his role as program manager at Restoration Society, Inc., a community mental health agency in Buffalo. Trained through Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, David is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) in addition to being a COTA. He completed graduate studies in assistive and rehabilitation technology at the SUNY Buffalo, Center for Assistive Technology (CAT). He earned an MS degree at Buffalo State College, focusing on adult education with emphasis on technology and supporting students with disabilities.
David is board president of Restoration Society, Inc., a person-centered, occupation-based community mental health program based on the "Recovery Model". He serves on committees and boards, locally and nationally, representing occupational therapy and psychiatric rehabilitation among consumers, other disciplines, and organizations - including New York State Occupational Therapy Association, American Occupational Therapy Association, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, and the Consortium of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Educators. David has presented at conferences, meetings, and social networks, regionally and nationally.
David’s vision is to enable all people - regardless of condition, circumstance, or ability - the opportunity to improve their health and wellness, to live self-directed lives, to be integrated and contributing members of their communities, and to strive to reach their full potential (SAMHSA Definition of Recovery). He believes in the capacity of all human beings to rise above challenges to become better, stronger, and wiser as a result of those challenges - that is the essence of recovery. One of his favorite quotes is:
Recovery is about forming relationships with people, not just making diagnoses.
It’s about helping them rebuild their lives, not just treating symptoms. It’s about
working alongside someone, not doing treatment to them. It’s about treating people like
they’re capable of self-direction and growth, not like incapacitated patients. It’s about forming
real emotional relationships, not artificial treatment relationships. It’s about hope and
empowerment, self-responsibility and respect, community integration and fighting stigma.
(from What's Really Different About Recovery? by Mark Ragins, M.D, 2011)