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Get Involved in Planning Ombuds Day!

By Ken Skodacek, ABA Ombuds Day Subcommittee Chair

Ombuds Day is the 2nd Thursday of October, with this year's day of recognition falling on 14 October 2021.  I’m honored to again be leading and coordinating this year’s activities as the chair of ABA’s Ombuds Day Subcommittee.  I’m writing to request your support. I would like to have someone to work with me as the IOA Liaison: this individual would work closely with me and also interact with representatives from other professional organizations (COFO, USOA, NASOP, ACR). I would also like to have other volunteers to support specific projects (short-term commitments of 4-6 hours total). If you’re familiar with Ombuds Day, you can skip the next few paragraphs and focus on the “How can you help?” section below.

The primary goal of Ombuds Day is to improve public awareness of ombuds.  Our actions are intended to educate the public about the role of ombuds, explain the wide variety of services that ombuds provide, encourage greater use of ombuds programs and services, and highlight the value ombuds bring to the institutions and constituents they serve.  The secondary goals of Ombuds Day are to connect ombuds in their respective communities and to recognize their important work.

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Happy Ombuds Day & Chuck Howard's Speech

By IOA Executive Director, Chuck Howard

Happy Ombuds Day 2020

 

Today, on this 3rd Annual Ombuds Day, IOA Executive Director Chuck Howard was honored to speak during the virtual event Ombuds Day – A Recognition of the Ombuds Profession & the Value of Ombuds, presented by the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Day Committee.

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How Can You Safely Participate in Ombuds Day During COVID

Celebrate Our Profession October 8, 2020

The primary goal of Ombuds Day is to improve public awareness of ombuds. 

Our actions are intended to

  • Educate the public about the role of ombuds
  • Explain the wide variety of services that ombuds provide
  • Encourage greater use of ombuds programs and services
  • Highlight the value ombuds bring to the institutions and constituents they serve.

With all of that in mind. How can you participate this year while keeping safe and healthy? Here are some helpful suggestions from Ken Skodacek, representing the ABA Ombuds Day Subcommittee.

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My #OmbudsDay2020 Playlist

By Michael Green

With #OmbudsDay 2020 around the corner, I received a ‘challenge’ from a few colleagues and members of IOA. They, knowing of my passion for creating meaningful playlists, suggested I curate a list of songs for this event taking place on October 8th, 2020. I took this informal invitation as an opportunity to craft some songs for personal reflection and professional development. Using the lens of an ombuds, with an eagerness to serve communities and listen to the issues facing organizations, institutions, and everyday people, I developed the playlist that follows.

It was my intention to utilize art, in this case music, as a mechanism for awareness into the lives of the people who walk through the doors of ombuds offices. I attempted to absorb the complexities and dynamics that various populations are being forced to face during this turbulent year and mold that into a list of songs that could provide insight for those of us working with those populations. I believe that being intune with the culture of our constituents is vital to our impact. It is my hope that my fellow ombuds (former, current, and aspiring) can use this playlist to reflect on the past year, enhance their current practice amidst major societal shifts, and as a means to inspire transformation as we move forward. There is much work to be done, but I think if we listen intently to those we serve we will be better ombuds, better global citizens, and better human beings.

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Ombuds Day 2020 Is Scheduled for October 8, 2020

By Ken Skodacek
CDRH Deputy Ombuds

Ombuds Day 2020 is scheduled for October 8, 2020, only 3 months away!  

As a reminder, the theme for Ombuds Day 2020 is "Ombuds: Unusual name. Important service."  The primary goal of Ombuds Day is to improve public awareness of ombuds. 

Our actions are intended to: 

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Highlights from the Second Annual Ombuds Day

By Katie Swanson, Ombuds Day Task Force Committee Volunteer

The second annual Ombuds Day has come and gone leaving many amazing highlights from this year’s events and theme – Ombuds: Unusual Name. Important Service. In case you may not be familiar with all of the back story behind Ombuds Day,be sure to check out the ABA Journal on What are ombuds? The ABA provides a primer on special day.

A major point of focus surrounding Ombuds Day 2019 was the effort behind pushing cities, states, universities, and so forth to make a proclamation that would recognize the second Thursday of every October going forward as Ombuds Day. And the effort by those involved paid off in a very meaningful way with the response received. On the state level, proclamations were received from Colorado, Connecticut, Texas, North Carolina, New Mexico, Washington, Arizona, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Joining in as well at the city level, Boulder, Denver, Aurora, Anchorage, East Lansing, Des Moines, and King County in Washington have proclaimed Ombuds Day moving forward. This is only the beginning when it comes to proclamations as the efforts continue so be sure to stop by the Ombuds Day Toolkit for all the details and keep watching for who is added to the list next.

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Read Chuck Howard's Ombuds Day Keynote Address

IOA Executive Director Chuck Howard gave the keynote address at the Ombuds Day event held on 10 October 2019 in Washington DC. Read on for the full transcript of Chuck's speech.Chuck Howard Speaking at 2019 Ombuds Day in Washington DC

This is the second year of Ombuds Day celebrations. Last year, the inaugural Ombuds Day event was held here in Washington to an overflow crowd with a waiting list. This year, there are three main Ombuds Day events—here, in Chicago, and in Boulder, Colorado—as well as an Ombuds Day event in Connecticut on October 15th, with the delay necessitated by lack of space for it on the 10th. We have several state proclamations—from the governors of Colorado, Maryland, Connecticut, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, as well as proclamations from the Mayor of Washington, D.C. and from at least 8 local governments. There are also numerous events being hosted by ombuds offices at companies, universities, and other organizations.  I think this is remarkable progress for only the second year, and I hope next year’s celebrations will be even bigger and more numerous.


Before I turn to my main remarks, however, l would like to give a bit of background on what the ABA DRS Ombuds Committee is, what it has tried to accomplish, and how Ombuds Day celebrations came about.
I don’t know when the first ABA Ombuds Committee was organized, but one existed in the early 2000s, as it was very instrumental in helping to achieve ABA adoption of two important ombuds resolutions by the ABA House of Delegates in 2001 and 2004. These resolutions help standardize the terminology for the different types of ombuds programs—classical, advocate, and organizational. They also set forth standards for the creation and operation of these programs. These have been foundational documents in the growth of the ombuds field in the United States. this is remarkable progress for only the second year, and I hope next year’s celebrations will be even bigger and more numerous.

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