What is the Ombuds Office?
The Ombuds Office is a confidential, informal, independent, and neutral place to discuss concerns, resolve disputes, manage conflicts, and increase skills regarding communication, negotiation and problem solving.
How is the Ombuds Office different from other entities at Baylor College of Medicine?
The Ombuds Office is an informal, neutral resource, separate from formal Baylor resources, is strictly confidential, is off the record and is independent in structure and function from other entities within Baylor College of Medicine.
Because the Ombuds Office is informal and off the record, visitors have significant influence over the process and can request the level of services they’re interested in, whether that’s asking the ombuds to listen, to provide feedback, to help explore options or to become involved in mediating a dispute.
Who can use the office?
The ombuds is available for all Baylor College of Medicine students, faculty, trainees and staff. All students, faculty, trainees and staff at all campus locations and affiliates may request assistance from the ombuds.
What does the ombuds do?
The ombuds helps resolve conflicts and concerns through one on one interactions with a visitor, or with multiple individuals separately or all together. The ombuds may serve as an intermediary, mediator, facilitator, or simply as a listener. The ombuds may make recommendations for the general improvement of Baylor College of Medicine and may provide feedback on trends, issues, policies, practices and procedures. Learn more about the services of the Ombuds Office.
What doesn’t the ombuds do?
The ombuds does not make binding decisions, mandate policies, or formally adjudicate issues for the College. The ombuds is neutral and therefore does not serve as an advocate for any individual or entity. The ombuds does not provide legal counsel or testify in formal proceedings, including formal grievance or legal proceedings. The ombuds does not conduct formal investigations.
Does using the ombuds prevent me from filing a complaint or raising a concern?
No. Use of the Ombuds Office does not prevent you from accessing any other resources at Baylor. You may choose to file a complaint or raise a concern through the Integrity Hotline, Human Resources (Baylor login required), the Center for Professionalism or other channels before, while or after visiting the Ombuds Office.
When should you contact the Ombuds Office?
Reach out to the Ombuds Office as a first step, a last resort, or at any point along the way. You may also reach out anytime you would like to discuss something confidentially and aren’t sure where to go. Read more about when you might want to visit the Ombuds Office.
Does the ombuds keep records?
No. Permanent records kept by the Ombuds Office include only de-identified statistical information maintained for data reporting purposes.
Is the ombuds my advocate?
No. The ombuds advocates for a fair and equitable process and does not advocate on behalf of any particular individual or entity. The ombuds considers the legitimate concerns and interests of all individuals affected by the matter under consideration.
Are interactions with the ombuds confidential?
Yes. The ombudsman holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except in situations where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm and where there is no other reasonable option.
Do I need an appointment?
Advanced appointment scheduling is not required, but it is recommended to ensure the availability of the ombuds.
What materials should I bring?
You do not need to bring anything with you. However, if there are records or communications that you believe would be helpful to the ombuds in understanding and assisting with your concern, you may bring them with you to your meeting.