An ombudsman is an independent and neutral person
who can help you resolve
your lab and workplace conflicts. Ombudsmen provide a confidential and informal environment where you can consider options for addressing issues.
NIH ombudsmen are trained professionals with extensive experience in identifying and resolving both individual and organizational conflicts. We use our knowledge of conflict theory and organizational dynamics to identify the underlying causes of disputes and provide visitors with tools for resolving their issues.
We work with individual visitors, tailoring our approach to each situation. To resolve sensitive issues, ombudsmen employ conflict resolution practices such as mediation, group facilitation, peer panels, coaching, and shuttle diplomacy. However, we will not take action without the approval of the person visiting our office. We also identify systemic conflicts, bringing to management’s attention those practices, norms, policies, and aspects of NIH culture that appear to exacerbate tensions or create problems for fellows, scientists, and administrative staff.
By highlighting these systemic issues and providing suggestions for addressing them, ombudsmen help institutions take steps to improve the work environment across multiple layers of the organization.
Our office is led by the director, and our staff includes the deputy director, five additional ombudsmen, and an administrative assistant.
Ombudsmen do not: