The Insider Outsider: Life as an Ombudsman in the Federal Government

Dr. Howard Gadlin, Ombudsman and Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution at the National Institutes of Health, will discuss the formation and evolution of the Office of the Ombudsman at the National Institutes of Health, with particular attention to providing dispute resolution services in a federal bureaucracy that conducts and supports scientific research. Using case examples, he will examine his transition from focusing on the dynamics of individual cases to identifying and working with systemic issues. He will also share some of his second thoughts and hesitations about the role of dispute resolution professionals in large organizations.

An experienced mediator, trainer, and consultant, Dr. Howard Gadlin has years of experience working with conflicts related to race, ethnicity and gender, including sexual harassment. Currently he is developing new approaches to addressing conflicts among scientists. He is often called in as a consultant/mediator in “intractable” disputes. Dr. Gadlin has designed and conducted training programs internationally in dispute resolution, sexual harassment and multicultural conflict. Dr. Gadlin is past President of the University and College Ombuds Association (UCOA) and of The Ombudsman Association (TOA).

Dr. Gadlin is the author, among other writings, of Bargaining in the Shadow of Management: Integrated Conflict Management Systems, Conflict, Cultural Differences, and the Culture of Racism, and Mediating Sexual Harassment. He is the co-author of Neutrality: What an organizational ombudsperson might want to know and Conflict Resolution and Systemic Change.

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