Howard Gadlin discusses the difference between a mediator's role and an ombudsman's role. Ombudsman uses mediation as a tool, but their role is to assist a group of people within an organization to identify the organization's policies and regulations that are causing internal conflict, then make recommendations.
Howard Gadlin is the former Ombudsman and Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution, at the National Institutes of Health since the beginning of 1999. Before that, from 1992 through 1998, he was University Ombudsperson and Adjunct Professor of Education at UCLA. He was also director of the UCLA Conflict Mediation Program and co-director of the Center for the Study and Resolution of Interethnic/Interracial Conflict. While in Los Angeles, he served as well as Consulting Ombudsman to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Prior to moving to Los Angeles Dr. Gadlin was Ombudsperson and Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has also served as Chair of the Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen. and Chair of the Federal Inter-agency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group Steering Committee. Dr. Gadlin is past President of the University and College Ombuds Association and of The Ombudsman Association (TOA).
An experienced mediator, trainer and consultant, he has years of experience working with conflicts related to race, ethnicity and gender, including sexual harassment. At present he is developing new approaches to addressing conflicts among scientists. He is often called in as a consultant/mediator in “intractable” disputes. He has designed and conducted training programs internationally in dispute resolution, sexual harassment and multicultural conflict. In recent years he has concentrated on developing approaches to addressing conflicts among scientists. With his colleague, Dr. Michelle Bennett, he is conducting trainings and workshops on Team Science and Collaboration at Medical Research Centers and Universities throughout North America. He is the author, among other writings, of “Conflict, Cultural Differences, and the Culture of Racism,” and “Mediating Sexual Harassment.” He is the co-author of the “On Neutrality: What An Organizational Ombudsman Might Want to Know” and was Guest Editor of a Negotiation Journal section entitled “The Many, Different and Complex Roles Played by Ombudsmen in Dispute Resolution.” His most recent writings include “Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide.”