Lisa J. Merlo Ph.D., M.P.E.

Contact Information

Dr. Lisa Merlo
Department of Psychiatry
University of Florida College of Medicine
PO Box 100256
Gainesville, FL 32610-0256


Dr. Merlo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine; Affiliate Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Affiliate of the UF Institute for Child Health Policy. In the UF Department of Psychiatry she serves as Assistant Residency Program Director for Psychotherapy Training, and Director of Research for the UF Health Florida Recovery Center. She also serves as Director of Research, Professionals Resource Network, Inc., Fernandina Beach, FL.

Research Area

Research Area: 
Dr. Merlo’s research is concerned with psychosocial factors related to addiction and recovery.


2000: B.A., Transylvania University, Lexington, KY (Psychology, Spanish and Drama)
2002: M.A., Wayne State University, Detroit MI (Psychology)
2005: Ph.D., Wayne State University (Clinical Psychology)
2005-2007: Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Florida (Clinical Child/Adolescent and Pediatric Psychology)
2008-2010: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Washington University, St. Louis, MO (Training Program in Drug Abuse Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research)
2010: M.P.E.,Washington University, St. Louis, MO (Psychiatric Epidemiology)

Current Research

Dr. Merlo’s primary research focus is on psychosocial factors related to addiction. She is particularly interested in special populations including youth, healthcare professionals, and students in the health professions. Dr. Merlo serves as the Director of Research for the Professionals Resource Network (the State of Florida’s impaired healthcare professional monitoring program), and has published and presented widely on the topic of substance-related impairment among healthcare providers. Dr. Merlo also conducts research with health professions students, in order to better understand students’ knowledge, competence, and stigmatized beliefs related to addiction, as well as best practices for improving addiction-related education. She collaborates with other researchers across the university as well as nationally.

Recent Publications

Merlo, L.J. (in press). Drug testing of healthcare professionals to improve overall wellness and patient care. Invited commentary on “Alcohol and drug testing of health professionals following preventable adverse events: A bad idea. American Journal of Bioethics. 2014.” American Journal of Bioethics. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2014.964990

Merlo, L.J., Cummings, S.M. and Cottler, L.B. (2014). Prescription drug diversion among substance-impaired pharmacists. American Journal on Addictions, 23, 123-128. PMID: 25187048

Merlo, L.J., Sutton, J.A. and Gold, M.S. (2014). Brief educational intervention to improve medical student competence in managing patients exposed to secondhand smoke. Substance Abuse, 35, 163-167. PMID: 24821353

Holtzman, A., Babinski, D. and Merlo, L.J. (2013). Knowledge and attitudes toward hookah usage among university students. Journal of American College Health, 61, 362-70. PMCID: PMC3756819 / PMID: 23930750

Merlo, L.J., Singhakant, S., Cummings, S.M. and Cottler, L.B. (2013). Reasons for misuse of prescription medication among physicians undergoing monitoring by a physician health program. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 7, 349-353. PMID: 24089039

Merlo, L.J., Trejo-Lopez, J., Conwell, L and Rivenbark, J. (2013). Patterns of substance use initiation among healthcare professionals in recovery. American Journal on Addictions, 22, 605-612. PMID: 24131169