Ombudspersons at the New Jersey Medical School offer a safe place where students, faculty and staff may discuss problems or issues within the Medical School and Rutgers University. The Ombudsperson treats all inquiries as confidential, as described in our Ethical Principles below. We can assist in several ways:
- Provide a welcoming environment to listen to concerns
- Provide information on School and University policies and practices
- Provide information on how to make the School and University aware of a particular problem
- Discuss and assist in evaluating available options
- Provide referrals to the proper authority to resolve a situation
- Facilitate constructive dialogue
- While maintaining confidentiality, provide upward feedback to the administration (or others in authority) when a systemic issue or trend occurs
The Ombudsperson does not take a side in disputes. Overall, the Ombudsperson is an advocate for fairness and equity.
Ombudspersons are available to all students, faculty and staff affiliated with the New Jersey Medical School.
Debra S. Heller, MD
Office: UH E-158
Joshua R Berlin, PhD
Office: MSB I-621
For information about other RBHS ombudspersons, see the
Ombudsperson Program at RBHS
The Ombudsperson operates according to the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
The Ombudsperson is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within Rutgers.
Neutrality and Impartiality
The Ombudsperson, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombudsperson strives to promote procedural fairness in the content and administration of the School’s and University’s practices, processes, and policies. The Ombudsperson does not engage in any situation that could create a conflict of interest.
The Ombudsperson holds the identity and all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except as required by law, or where, in the judgment of the Ombudsperson, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.
The Ombudsperson, as an informal resource, is separate from existing formal grievance and complaint procedures and does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention. As an informal resource, the Ombudsperson is not authorized to accept notice (formal complaints) for the New Jersey Medical School or Rutgers University. Moreover, because the Ombudsperson holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, subject to the limited exceptions detailed above, the Ombudsperson will not forward information received in confidence.
The position of the Ombudsperson was established on the basis of these ethical principles. We offer a unique setting where students, faculty and staff may talk about issues in a candid and authentic manner without fear of reprisal. Our efforts are geared toward managing conflict, thereby improving the student life experience and the work environment.
Contacting the Ombudsperson is voluntary. No one is required to use Ombudsperson services. If you meet with an Ombudsperson, you will be understood to have agreed to abide by these ethical principles, including agreeing not to call the Ombudsperson to testify with respect to confidential communications.