Heart works with people with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and mental illness; of all genders and gender identities, sexual orientations, race, socioeconomic status, religions, cultures, and ethnicities. Ellen has experience working with a diverse population, attends trainings on inclusion and diversity, and practices culturally-sensitive approaches in all of her work.
Heart Consulting believes in empowering people with disabilities to live full lives with meaningful relationships, and works to do this by educating about safe and healthy relationships, as well as provide support and advocacy to individuals. We also believe in community engagement, education and outreach to create change and reduce abuse of individuals with disabilities.
Ellen Merker, LPC-IT, started Heart Consulting LLC in 2017, after seeing the need for more resources around sexual assault and domestic violence in the disability community. After receiving her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology, Ellen worked for over 5 years as a case manager and transition coordinator for adults with developmental disabilities, then as an IRIS Consultant. In 2015, she piloted a program with the Rape Crisis Center to provide education to young adults with developmental disabilities around healthy relationships. Ellen has been selected to present this work at two End Domestic Abuse WI conferences, as well as the Project SEARCH national conference.
Educational Programming Intern
Francisco Lozano is a second-year Master’s student, earning his M.S. in Rehabilitation Psychology at UW-Madison. Francisco has been serving youth in Oklahoma City and Wisconsin since 2015. Most recently, he has worked as a group and individual counselor at the juvenile detention center in Dane County. He is also a project assistant under the supervision of Dr. Tim Tansey working on the Wisconsin PROMISE Grant since summer of 2018. Currently, Francisco is simultaneously working at the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and with Heart Consulting. Francisco will be working 1:1 with clients, assisting in running a men’s group and other events, and collaborating with other agencies with common goals. In his spare time, Francisco is a talented musician and Francisco is a current WSUM DJ on 91.7 FM as well as the Founder of Society of Professional DJs.