University of Vermont

College of Medicine


Office of the Ombudsperson

OmbudspersonThe UVM College of Medicine Ombuds Office provides medical students, residents, and fellows with a highly confidential, independent and informal forum to help consider all of the options in managing or resolving conflicts. The Ombudsperson is an impartial sounding board who strives to see that people are treated fairly and equitably, and is a neutral third party who is not otherwise involved with the academic promotion or evaluation of learners.


Services are confidential, informal, independent, and neutral. Types of concerns reported to the College of Medicine Ombudsperson are:

  • Mistreatment in the learning environment - harassing unkind behavior, unprofessional demeanor, sexual harassment, retaliation, insensitivity, personality conflicts, hostile workplace
  • Discrimination - different treatment due to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age
  • Miscellaneous - fear of retaliation, safety, stress, ethical dilemmas, communication breakdown, work environment, and other issues hindering professional development

The Ombudsperson will not:

  • Adjudicate or participate in formal grievances
  • Determine guilt of any party in a dispute
  • Get involved in any formal litigation or testify in court
  • Provide legal advice
  • Assign sanctions on individuals
  • Replace any official university office, department, or process
  • Keep records of students and/or conversations

About the Ombudsperson

Sally Bliss, R.N., M.S.B.

Ombudsperson Sally Bliss, R.N., M.S.B., is also a clinical ethicist at The University of Vermont Medical Center and University of Vermont adjunct assistant professor of medicine. She was appointed as Ombudsperson for the UVM College of Medicine in January 2013, and will report to College of Medicine Dean Frederick C. Morin III, M.D. She also works closely and collaboratively with the Learning Environment and Professionalism Committee.

A nurse and bioethicist, Bliss began her career at the former Medical Center Hospital of Vermont (now The UVM Medical Center) as a nurse in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, where she gained the knowledge and skills required to support patients, families and multidisciplinary professionals. She also served as a house-wide clinical supervisor and administrator, assuring clinical integrity and interdisciplinary collaboration. Bliss holds a Master of Science degree in bioethics from the Union Graduate College/Mt. Sinai School of Medicine Program for Bioethics, where she taught for four years as an assistant professor of clinical ethics. She returned to The UVM Medical Center in 2009 in the Office of Clinical Ethics, where she is currently serving as interim director while Robert Macauley, M.D., is on sabbatical.

Last modified November 12 2014 03:51 PM