Your Ombudsman is:

Dr. Robert Yates, MBBS, MSc., FRCP, FRCPCH, FFFICM, DA, PGDip Pall Med

Professor, Pediatrics

Ombudsperson Role in the Neonatal Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program (NPM)

The primary role of the ombudsperson is to ensure that postgraduate learners receive fair and equitable treatment during residency training at McMaster University. The ombudsperson is an individual who does not have an administrative role/ leadership with the residency program.

As a resident, many support systems are in place, informal and formal.  

  • Colleagues,  family,  friends
  • A faculty member who acts as advisor/ mentor/academic coach,
  • Program director/ program administrator
  • PGME Resident Affairs
  • PGME Associate Dean, PGME office

The ombudsperson role is a formal support system within the residency program that will help to create and maintain a positive learning environment and promote resident well-being.

What are the specific responsibilities of the ombudsperson?

  • Discuss any problems (personal, professional) that a resident may have. The ombudsperson is an ideal person to meet with if unclear about the particular nature of the problem or unsure where to go to help.
  • Listen carefully to the issues and work in partnership with the resident to gather all relevant facts, make enquiries and suggest solutions. Fairness and attention to due process is of utmost importance.
  • Advise the resident how to access appropriate decision makers
  • Inform the resident of relevant policies and procedures and help them to navigate the process.
  • Refer to the appropriate resources, if necessary
  • Mediate and/or negotiate with the resident and other parties
  • Identify a resident in crisis and advocate for appropriate and timely resources
  • At times, define themes within a residency program that affect more than one resident and work with program/ PGME  leadership to address ( if appropriate)

What are the principles under which the ombudsperson works?

It is important to understand that the ombudsperson works under a certain structure of principles. These are:


  • An attempt is made to make the ombudsperson independent in structure, function and appearance to the best degree possible in the structure of the residency program. This allows issues that might otherwise remain hidden come up to the surface and be addressed


  • When a resident tells the ombudsperson something, this is not necessarily telling the program/institution leadership
  • The ombudsperson will treat all discussions strictly confidential unless there are serious concerns regarding the health and safety of the resident/


  • Defined as not taking part in either side of a dispute or quarrel
  • Impartiality means favoring no one side or party more than another, without prejudice or bias
  • The goal is that all parties should be treated equitably and biases need to be put on the table


  • Listens, provides and receives information
  • Identifies and reframes issues
  • Develops a range of options for resolution
  • Seeks resolution
  • The ombudsperson does not conduct investigations or replace formal channels
  • Ombudspersons serve as advisors and mediators but are not decision- makers; formal appeals and or complaints will be referred to the appropriate resource (e.g. PGME Office)