Purpose and Scope of Services

The Ombudsman provides an alternative to formal processes for dispute resolution and functions to assist parties in reaching mutually acceptable agreements in order to find fair and equitable resolutions to concerns that arise at OHSU. Use of the office is voluntary. The office does not advocate for either side in a dispute, nor represent management or visitors to the office.

The Ombudsman is committed to protecting the identity of participants and the confidentiality of information that is shared. Communication to the office does not constitute notice to the University. Because confidentiality, neutrality and informality are critically important, communications with the office are made with the understanding that they are confidential and off-the-record. 

In limited circumstances the Ombudsman may not maintain confidentiality of certain information, including disclosures involving imminent threats to safety and mandatory reporting required by law, such as child abuse.  Although it is highly uncommon, the Ombudsman may be required to disclose information as part of a formal external legal process. However, OHSU will not require the Ombudsman to participate in any formal process inside OHSU or report incidents to any authority at OSHU other than as may be described in this section.

In a climate of organizational change and reduced resources, increased stress and misunderstandings often arise. Confidential consultation, conflict coaching, mediation, and training are particularly effective ways to improve the morale and functioning of a work unit.

Situations Which May Benefit From Our Services Include But Are Not Limited To The Following

  • An employee feels singled out by a supervisor and wants to proactively work to address this relationship.
  • A student has concerns about unfair treatment from faculty members or other students.
  • An academic team member experiences lack of respect or recognition for his/her contribution, including authorship issues, team-developed products, or input to the work environment.
  • A manager and an employee have different expectations regarding the degree of flexibility in meeting the requirements of the job.
  • A work team experiences significant staffing changes due to budget cuts or reorganization and wants help restoring a culture of trust and good morale.
  • Workplace bullying is going on, and a visitor to the office wants help bringing the topic to the work group and developing a communication protocol.
  • A faculty member wants to prepare trainees to be leaders with effective conflict competence skills.