BUFFALO—Erie Community College professor David Merlo has been chosen by the American Occupational Therapy Association to receive their Occupational Therapy Assistant Award of Excellence at this year's AOTA Annual Conference and Expo, scheduled for April 3 to 6 in Baltimore, MD.
Merlo, a Clarence resident and ECC alum, earned the award—which recognizes individuals who exemplify the highest level of technical skills and knowledge in occupational therapy—for his national promotion of occupational therapy in the field of mental health education, advocacy and innovation. A professor and academic fieldwork coordinator in ECC's Occupational Therapy Assistant Department since 1996, Merlo also serves on several boards and committees related to mental health locally and nationally, including Restoration Society, Inc. of Buffalo, the national Consortium of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Educators and conference host, AOTA.
This renowned occupational therapy professional association was established in 1917 to represent the interests and concerns of occupational therapy practitioners and students, and to improve the quality of occupational therapy services. AOTA's major programs and activities are directed toward assuring the quality of occupational therapy services; improving consumer access to health care services, and promoting the professional development of members.
Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state's SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC's faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.