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Office of Graduate Medical Education


SUNY Downstate residents have several avenues of communication to identify problems related to their work environment or issues related to the program or faculty without fear of intimidation or retaliation.

Residents are expected to address complaints and grievances to their Program Director and/or department chair. However, if this fails to resolve the issue, or if the resident does not wish to discuss the matter within the program, the resident may directly and confidentially contact the Associate Dean/DIO who serves as Ombudsman for GME. Residents are assured that nothing can be communicated about what they say to the Ombudsman without their express permission. Referrals as well as problem solving interventions are provided in strict confidence. Residents can reach the ombudsman by phone, email or in person as is needed.

Program Level:
Chief Resident
In most programs, Chief Residents serve effectively as liaisons advocating on behalf of their residents and students.

Faculty Advisor or Mentor
Many programs assign residents to faculty advisors or mentors. This concerned faculty members assist residents with issues related to performance in the program and often provide career guidance and help with both professional and personal concerns. In addition, many residents develop informal mentoring relationships with faculty, and these faculty can be a very helpful resource.

Program Director
Program Directors along with their Associate Program Directors are charged with the responsibility of looking after the welfare of their residents and assuring an appropriate environment for training and patient care. Program Directors are the principal advocate for residents are should be consulted for any areas of concern.

Resident Review of Program and Faculty
Programs are required to provide residents with at least an annual opportunity to review and evaluate their educational program and their faculty anonymously in writing.

Departmental Level:
Educational Committee
Each Department has established a committee to address program outcomes, resident concerns and/or resident performance. They are sometimes referred to as Resident Councils, Housestaff Affairs, or similar names. Residents can raise concerns to their department’s education committee or to peer elected representatives who sit on this committee. Each department has policies which describe the process and role of the Education Committee.

Department Chairperson
The Chairperson of each Department has responsibility for oversight of the conduct, quality and outcomes of all its training programs and clinical services. Chairs are very concerned, dedicated and potent advocates for students, residents and, of course, patients.

GME Level:
GME Office Staff: Many issues can be addressed by the GME Office staff. When necessary, referrals will be made to the DIO and Resident Ombudsman.

Chair of Resident Subcommittee: For educational, work environment and institutional issues, residents from each department elect peer representatives to serve on the GMEC Resident Sub-committee. This committee meets, without program directors or faculty present, monthly as a forum for communication and exchange about resident concerns.

Resident Ombudsman/DIO: Residents can speak directly and confidentially to the Associate Dean/Designated Institutional Official (DIO) who serves as Ombudsman for GME. Residents are assured that nothing is communicated about what they say to the Ombudsman without their expressed consent. Referrals as well as problem solving interventions are provided in strict confidence.

Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC): After consulting with the Associate or Vice Dean for GME, residents may formally seek adjudication through the GME Committee. (Please Policy for Adjudication of Resident Complaints and Grievances) An ad hoc grievance subcommittee of the GMEC will be appointed to address the grievance or complaint.

Employer Level:
Affiliated employing hospitals may provide additional avenues for you to raise concerns.

Union Representation
For residents assigned to Kings County Hospital pay lines or other affiliated hospitals where they are represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) as well as residents salaried by SUNY and represented by UUP, there are additional avenues for the redress of grievances within policies developed through collective bargaining.


Formal charges of discrimination based on race, sex, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or veteran status, should be filed with the campus ODAA Office and addressed as per institutional policy.


Approved by GMEC June 2009 and re-approved June 16, 2010