Office of the Ombudsman

Confidential - Neutral - Independent - Informal

About Us

Mission Statement

To facilitate collaborative processes and the creative resolution of conflict for the entire NIH community.


Standards of Practice

The NIH ombudsmen are committed to integrity and the highest professional standards. We operate under the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice enunciated by the International Ombudsman Association (IOA); we are neutralindependentconfidential, and informal.

For more information about the IOA, please visit https://www.ombudsassociation.org


About the Ombudsman Office

Click here to download a copy of our BROCHURE.


Meet the Staff

The NIH Office of the Ombudsman provides assistance to members of the NIH community in addressing lab- and work-related issues.

 

Julie A. Muroff, J.D., LL.M. 
Acting Director 

Julie A. MuroffJulie A. Muroff, J.D., LL.M., is Acting Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution/Office of the Ombudsman. Julie has served the NIH community for 14 years, including on a past detail to the Center as an associate ombuds.  She is an accomplished lecturer, presenter, and practitioner in conflict management/alternative dispute resolution, with extensive experience as a seasoned mediator, facilitator, and executive coach within and beyond the Federal Government, including in past positions in the private sector and in academia. 

Julie is an active contributor to the field through her leadership in professional development initiatives, conferences, and committees.  She is a published author of journal articles and reference book chapters, and she has designed and delivered a broad range of courses, programs, and trainings. Julie has been intrigued by the interplay between health and conflict since her undergraduate work in psychology, focusing on school-based initiatives to overcome depression in adolescents and on community-based initiatives that she led in West Philadelphia. 


Linda M. Brothers, J.D.
Senior Associate Ombudsman

Linda M. Brothers is Senior Associate Ombudsman at the Center for Cooperative Resolution, Office of the Ombudsman. Prior to coming to NIH, she was Ombudsperson and Director of Equal Opportunity at Wellesley College, where she established the college's first ombuds office and served as the Co-Director of MERI (the Multicultural Education Research Initiative). A conflict analyst and ADR practitioner, her areas of special focus include perceived difference and racial /intercultural conflict, systems change, and role boundary conflation. She has designed numerous systemic interventions for corporations, universities, and federal offices and is the author of many training and educational programs addressing interpersonal and institutional dispute resolution.

Linda has written and presented on the role of conflict in shaping organizational identity, most recently at the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution Annual Conference (Peacemaker in a Sick Society: the Role of Conflict in Defining Group and Organizational Identity). She consults frequently and is a former Board member of the New England Association for Conflict Resolution. Linda holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from NYU.


Jason Byron, M.A.
Lead Associate Ombudsman

Jason Byron is the Lead Associate Ombudsman at NIH. He has an extensive background in conflict management in healthcare settings. Before joining NIH, he managed the bioethics mediation service at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He also led the palliative care and chaplain services at UPMC Shadyside. In these roles, he facilitated the resolution of several thousand conflicts involving patients, family members, nursing and medical staff, post-graduate fellows, and others. He also regularly guest lectured at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and School of Law on medical ethics and alternative dispute resolution in healthcare. Prior to this work, he taught scientific reasoning, logic, and the history of science to undergraduate students at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. He was also a research assistant in a molecular phylogenetics lab at the University of Maryland, where he worked on avian evolution and ecology. He is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution, International Ombudsman Association, and American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.

 


Judith Gail
Associate Ombudsman

Judith Gail is an associate ombudsman and international consultant and practitioner with over 20 years’ experience in organization development and change management. As a core Organization Development practitioner Judith facilitates organizations through interventions for strategic planning, conflict management, leadership development, group dynamics, diversity management, and other organization change initiatives.

Her work in the field of change and transformation has provided her the opportunity to work with leaders at all levels of system, across multiple industries, and around the world. What particularly leads her to smile is the deep awareness that comes as organizational members meet themselves anew after confronting risks or reaching beyond their comfort zone to overcome a challenge they once saw as insurmountable.

As a life-long learner Judith’s education has been her on-going reality. She holds an undergraduate degree is in Business Administration and graduated from American University with a MS in Organization Development. Her postgraduate studies in Ethical and Creative Leadership, and Gestalt help to create the foundation of her work.

Raised in Motown (Detroit) music has had a great impact on her life, that and sports. She now lives in the Nation’s capital where the intersection of politics, social justice and youth leadership has captured her attention. When not developing recipes for a cookbook, she’s writing or working on her screenplay, while trying to better her golf game, which in her opinion is a great equalizer. A trip to Broadway is always on her joy continuum.


Stephen Kotev
Associate Ombudsman

Stephen Kotev has dedicated his professional career to the practice and study of conflict resolution. His first exposure to conflict resolution began as a high school peer mediator over twenty years ago and his interest in the theory and practice of conflict resolution continues to this day. He has over 1,400 hours of mediation and conflict resolution training, encompassing EEO and workplace disputes, cross-cultural communication, interest-based negotiation and advanced facilitation skills. He holds a Master of Science degree from George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and certificates in conflict coaching and leadership coaching from Dr. Tricia Jones of Conflict Coaching Matters LLC and Georgetown University. Since 2007, he has served as an Adjunct Professor for George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution in Arlington, Virginia where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on how to better manage the stress of high-conflict interventions. He is the Chair of the Association for Conflict Resolution Taskforce on Safety in ADR and holds rank in the Japanese martial art of Aikido and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Jenn Mahony
Associate Ombudsman

Jenn is an Associate Ombudsman for NIH. Prior to coming to NIH, Jenn lived and worked in New Zealand for almost 10 years, most recently working for FairWay Resolution as the Director for Workplace Conflict services, which included designing complaint and dispute resolution systems and processes and establishing and overseeing ombuds programs for several New Zealand government agencies.

Jenn has 20 years’ experience as a dispute resolution practitioner, presenter, and trainer. Jenn understands the importance of relationships. She is passionate about empowering people with the skills and tools they need to resolve conflict, and to rebuild relationships at work. She uses a wide variety of skills in her practice, including restorative justice principles, restorative circles, facilitating group change initiatives, conflict coaching and solution-focused coaching principles, and integrative bargaining techniques. Special areas of focus include cultural empathy, and developing conflict resiliency.

Jenn speaks frequently at international conferences on the nature of workplace conflict and the importance of ombuds work; she is a Fellow in Arbitration of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) as well as on the AMINZ mediator panel; and has a Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law. She is a member of the International Ombudsman Association and serves on the International Outreach committee.


Staff Publications and Presentations

Bingham, S., Smith. T., Burton S., and Elkerson, D. (2018), The Research Agenda for the Organizational Ombuds Profession: A Living Document. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association. Retrieved From: https://www.ombudsassociation.org/assets/docs/JIOA-2018-3_Research-Agenda-for-the-Organizational-Ombuds-Profession.pdf

Kathleen Moore, J. (2016), The Art of Ombudsing: Using Multiple Frames to Resolve Conflict. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association, 9 (1), 8-22.

Gadlin, H. (2014), Toward the Activist Ombudsman: An Introduction. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31: 387–402. doi:10.1002/crq.21099

C Levine, JM Hoffman, J Byron, R Arnold, A Kondrat, D Mukherjee. 2015. "Surrogate decision making and truth telling in a rehabilitation case." Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 7(7): 762-69. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/19341563

Kathleen Moore, J. (2014), The Reflective Observer Model. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31: 403–419. doi:10.1002/crq.21094

Brothers, L. M. (2014), Identity and Culture in Ombudsman Practice. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31: 421–434. doi:10.1002/crq.21095

Levine-Finley, S. (2014), Stretching the Coaching Model. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31: 435–446. doi:10.1002/crq.21097

Myers, L. and Witzler, L. (2014), Two Perspectives on Learning the Organizational Ombudsman Role. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31: 447–462. doi:10.1002/crq.21096

Michael, D. E. (2014), Prioritizing Practice in Ombudsman and ADR Programs. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31: 463–476. doi: 10.1002/crq.21098

Smith, T. (2014), Ombuds & Mediation: Frequency, Circumstances and Differences Amongst Backgrounds. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association, 7 (3), 48-67.


NIH Ombuds Quinquennial Report 2013-2017