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Ombuds Office

The HWCOM Ombuds Office provides medical students with a highly confidential, independent 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 conflicts. Information provided to the HWCOM Ombudsperson will be held in strict confidentiality. The only exceptions to this commitment of confidentiality are potential risk of serious harm to any person or requirements of University policy or applicable law. The HWCOM Ombudsperson serves medical students only. The HWCOM Ombudsperson is an advocate for fairness in all processes affecting medical students but will not serve as an advocate for any party to a dispute. The Ombuds Office has no formal decision making authority.

Typical concerns brought to the HWCOM Ombuds Office include issues related to the work/ learning environment and performance, fear of retaliation, and professional misconduct. Any issue may be brought the Ombudsperson.

The HWCOM Ombuds Office seeks to enhance the ability of all students 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, and referrals can be made to those with expertise in a specific area or proper authorities at the school. When appropriate, the HWCOM Ombudsperson can provide shuttle diplomacy or mediation services to help find a satisfactory solution. The medical student seeking assistance decides which course of action, if any, is taken and that action is tailored to fit the situation presented.

In Summary the Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson Include:

  • Providing a neutral safe and confidential environment to talk.
  • Listening to concerns and complaints, and discussing appropriate options.
  • Mediating conflicts and engaging in unbiased diplomacy.
  • Providing information and referring students to appropriate resources.
  • The Ombuds Office will not participate in existing academic processes or formal grievance processes. Our aim is to resolve issues before formal action is pursued.

*Note: The IOA Code of Ethics is followed as outlined at www.ombudsassociation.org

Notice to the University:

The HWCOM Ombuds Office may assist in the informal resolution of concerns regarding a variety of issues. . Talking to the HWCOM Ombudsperson does not constitute notice to the University, since the purpose of the HWCOM Ombuds Office is to provide medical students with a confidential forum where different options may be considered. The HWCOM Ombudsperson can provide a medical student with information about how a complaint may be made to the University.

Contact the Ombuds Office

Sheldon H. Cherry, MD, FACOG, FACS 
Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs
Ombudsman 
305-348-4370
shcherry@fiu.edu