Meet the Staff

Our Doctors

Dr. Annette Merlino is one of the Dentists here and also the owner of the practice.  She has been in practice for over 26 years.  She grew up in the Pittsburgh area and now resides in Delmont with her husband Tom and her daughter Leia.  She graduated in 1988 from the University of Pittsburgh with a Doctorate in Dental Medicine.  She spent four months working at a hospital in Kenya, and worked as an associate before opening her own practice in 1990.  She enjoys music, theatre, travel, and is an active participant in the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.  She takes mission trips whenever possible to donate her talents to the less fortunate.  Her husband works with Mission to the World, leading their Disaster Response Ministry.

Dr. Annette Merlino

Dr. Thomas Brindock

Dr. Thomas Brindock joined our practice this summer.  He is sweet and gentle!

Our Hygienists

Dr. Priya Patel

Dr. Priya Patel is one of Dr. Merlino's Associates, and has been working with us for two years now.  She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular Molecular Biology, and recieved her Doctorate of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.  Dr. Patel is from Pittsburgh and is excited to use her talents locally.  She has joined Dr. Merlino on several dental mission trips and hopes to continue to do so into the future.  She loves watching movies, spending time outdoors, baking, and spending time with family and friends.  She loves to travel and hopes to visit all 7 continents one day. 

Julie Berkheimer is one of our Registered Dental Hygienists, and has been working with us for over ten years.  She was born in Johnstown, PA and currently lives in Latrobe with her husband and three children: Alyssa, Emily, and Noah.  She graduated from Westmoreland County Community College in 2006 with an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene.  She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling whenever possible.

Julie Berkheimer

Stephanie Petrilla

Stephanie Petrilla is one of our Registered Dental Hygienists, and has been working with us for over ten years.  She was born and raised in the Apollo/Leechburg area and still lives locally.  She graduated from Westmoreland County Community College in 2004 with an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene.  She has one daughter, Lily Madison.  She enjoys spending time with her family and taking family vacations, especially to Disney World.

Kelsey Martin

Mariela Ramirez

Mariela Ramirez is the Office Manager. She has been working for us for nine years. She is from Guatemala City and went to college there for business administration and computing and received her degree in 2006. She lives in Delmont with her husband Hardi and her two children, Gabriel and Sofia. She loves travelling, speding time with friends and family. Before living in the states, she worked for a non-profit for nine years, where God gave her and her husband an interest in missions. To this day, they do as much as they can to help needy families in Guatemala.

Kelsey Martin is a recent graduate of Westmoreland County Community College. She lives in Irwin with her nine month old son, Benjamin, and two dogs. She spends her time working and playing with her dogs and her son, and wouldn't trade any of it for the world.

Supporting Staff

Lauren Pommer

     Dr. Merlino graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Dental school in 1988.  She honed her skills at a mission hospital in Kenya and then worked as an associate around the Pittsburgh area.

     She was working with Dr. Stitt in Vandergrift when a dentist friend asked her to start a practice with him.  They settled in Delmont where Dr. Merlino’s brand new spouse, Thomas Felmley, was working.  They opened the Delmont office in September 1990.  The other dentist friend was called to Desert Storm and left the new practice. Dr. Merlino continued working in Vandergrift while she got the new practice off of the ground.  A few months later, Dr. Stitt asked her when she could take over his office! With a lot of prayer, Dr. Merlino bought the practice in October 1991.  Her husband was laid off ten days later! Thankfully, God knew what he was doing, and the practices thrived, allowing Tom to return to CMU for graduate studies. 

     When the 5 year lease in Vandergrift ended, Dr. Merlino moved the practice to a small house across from Kiski High School and the central location brought many new patients.   Dr. Merlino then added hygienists and an associate. 

     So that’s the story of how our practice started and why there are two locations not very far apart!

About the Practice

Christmas Party 2016

Front Row: Drs. Patel, Merlino, and Murdoch

Back Row: Julie, Steph, Lauren, Lauren, Mariela, Cathy, Jessica

Lauren Pommer is a receptionist at the Delmont office. She graduated from Westmoreland County Community College in Medical Administration in 2017. She enjoys spending her time with her family and friends.

Cathy Martin

Heather Artman is a former Certified Nursing Assistant who has recently joined our team as a Dental Assistant.  She was born in Kittaning and resides in Leechburg with her husband and three boys: Landyn, Ryder, and Colby.  She enjoys spending time with her family and going on family vacations.

Cathy Martin is Dr. Merlino's assistant. Though she has only been with us about two years, she has been assisting for 17 years and enjoys her job. She graduated from Western School of Health and Business in 2000.   In her free time she likes to spend time with her family.  She enjoys boating, fishing, and gardening.

Heather Artman