Biography & Education


Personal Statement: I came to Providence Portland after 15 years on three different medical school faculties. The commitment to teaching - and the respect for the learner - is far beyond anything I had experienced. People really care here; it's a great place to be!

Areas of Academic Focus:

  • Behavioral medicine education
  • Physician-patient relationship

Most Significant Publications:

Merkel WT (2009). Practical tips for role playing (submitted for publication).

Cohn L, Merkel W (2004). One family, two family, new family: Stories and advice for stepfamilies. River Wood Books, Ashland, Oregon. (Gold National Parenting Publications Award Winner).

Merkel WT, Margolis RB, Smith R (1990). Teaching humanistic and psychosocial aspects of care in internal medicine residency programs. Current practices and attitudes. J Gen Intern Med 5;34-41.

Henderson JG, Merkel WT, Cohen JD (1987). A pragmatic approach to teaching applied preventive cardiology: Teaching medical students how to talk with patients about risk factor modification. Int Quart Community Health Ed 7:369-377.

Margolis RB, Duckro PN, Merkel WT (1992). Behavioral medicine - St. Louis Style. Prof Psychol: Res Pract 23:293-299.

Merkel WT, Searight R (1992). Why families are not like swamps, solar systems or thermostats: Some limits of systems theory as applied to family therapy. Contemp Fam Ther 14:33-50.

Margolis RB, Merkel WT, Tait RC, Richardson WD (1991). Family responses to patients with chronic pain. Can Fam Phys 37:429-435.


  • (With Michelle Guitteau, M.D.)  Agenda Setting:  So Easy, So Hard, So Helpful.  Society of General Internal Medicine, Northwest Regional Meeting, March 2007.
  • Peer feedback. Workshop at NW Regional Conference, Society of General Internal Medicine, Seattle, Wash. (2000).
  • How to plan and lead a workshop. Workshop at NW Regional Conference, Society of General Internal Medicine, Portland, Ore. (1997).
  • Recognition and treatment of anxiety disorders in primary care. Workshop at Practical Advances in Internal Medicine, Providence Portland Medical Center, Portland, Ore. (1996).
  • The grieving patient. Workshop at Primary Care Update Conference, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Ore. (1995)
  • Behavioral medicine in action: Office protocols for managing insomnia, chronic pain and non-adherence with medication. Grand Rounds, Providence Portland Medical Center, Portland, Ore. (1992).

Teaching Responsibilities:

  • Co-directs and teaches in the Chronic Illness Behavioral Health Clinic with Dr. Cohen
  • Leads professionalism and behavioral medicine case rounds for PACE block residents
  • Accompanies residents as a "shadow preceptor" seeing unselected patients in the PACE clinic and consults on specific PACE cases as requested
  • Presents at behavioral medicine noon conferences
  • Involved in various resident-related special projects and events
  • Serves on Consultants Group for Resident Wellness Program at Oregon Health Sciences University

Personal Interests:  Spending time with my family, exercising, reading, searching for the perfect hot fudge sundae.

Areas of Expertise

Behavior Medicine

Graduate School: University of Rhode Island Internship: Brockton VA Medical Center, Brockton, Mass. Fellowship: University of Rochester Medical Center

Care Locations

4805 NE Glisan St.
Portland, OR 97213
Phone 503-215-1111


Board Certifications
  • Psychology-clinical
Services Provided