The Ombuds Office, established in 1991, provides its visitors with a highly confidential and informal forum in which to help them to clarify their concerns, identify their goals and consider all of their options in managing or resolving their concerns. The Ombudsperson serves students, faculty, staff and trainees of Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is independent in structure, function and appearance. The Ombudsperson does not serve as an advocate for any party to a dispute. However, an Ombudsperson does advocate for fair treatment and processes. Some typical concerns brought to the Ombuds Office include work/learning environment and performance, fear of retaliation, professional misconduct, authorship, sexual harassment and discrimination. Any issue may be brought to the Ombudsperson.
The Ombuds Office seeks to enhance the ability of all visitors to deal more effectively with challenging situations on their own. If assistance is needed beyond individual coaching, further information can be gathered on behalf of the student, referrals can be made to those with expertise in a specific area or proper authorities at the school or affiliated institution can be contacted. When appropriate, the Ombudsperson can provide shuttle diplomacy, group facilitation or informal mediation services to help find a satisfactory solution. The visitor decides which course of action, if any, is taken and that action is tailored to fit each situation.
What makes the Ombuds Office unique?
The Ombudsperson can help explore concerns about:
- Career Management
- Work/Academic Environment
- Fair Treatment
- Interpersonal Relationships
- Sexual Harassment