News

5.06.2014

Dr. Norman H. Altman Named New Miller School Ombudsperson

Norman H. Altman, V.M.D., professor of pathology and Director of the Division of Comparative Pathology, has been appointed the new Miller School ombudsperson. He succeeds Richard J. Thurer, M.D., the B. and Donald Carlin Professor of Thoracic Surgical Oncology (emeritus), who was named the School’s first ombudsperson when the office was created in 2010.

The appointment was made jointly by the Medical Faculty Council and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. Altman’s three-year term begins June 1.

“This is a challenging position because it requires a high level of interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to navigate the other internal resources available at the Miller School to resolve a variety of issues,” Goldschmidt said. “Dr. Thurer has done an excellent job launching and building the Office of the Ombudsperson. I know that Dr. Altman will continue that tradition of excellence.”

“I’m looking forward to starting the position,” said Altman, who believes his prior experience on the Faculty Senate and Faculty Council will be useful in his new role, as will positions he has held as UM Vice Provost for Research, Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Miller School’s Senior Associate Dean for Research.

“I plan to inform the Miller School community of this resource that is available to them by having ‘Ombudsperson’ added to the other side of my white coat,” he said.

After four years in the position, Thurer leaves with a strong sense of accomplishment. “I believe I did some good for some people, providing advice and giving them a reality check in their situation. Providing emotional support has been an important facet of the job.”

Thurer also believes that passing the baton to Altman is an opportunity to push the program, which grew steadily under his tenure. He anticipates continued growth under Altman, and the possible addition of services to staff.

The Office of the Ombudsperson was established in an effort to ensure that all faculty and students receive fair and equitable treatment and to foster a collaborative environment in which personal and institutional goals can be achieved. The Ombudsperson informally assists in resolving conflicts, concerns or problems brought to their attention by faculty or students, including undergraduate medical students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The Office provides an accessible venue for individuals to bring concerns about misunderstandings, incivility or possible wrongdoing, and is intended to be a safe place where issues can be discussed without fear of retaliation. It does not duplicate existing resources for conflict resolution; rather, it offers an alternative approach outside of the administrative structure of the School.

The Office of the Ombudsperson is located in Suite 931 in the Clinical Research Building, 1120 NW 14th Street. For appointments, please call 305-243-8400. More information is available online at http://ombudsperson.med.miami.edu.

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