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.

Beyond being known as another form of alternative dispute resolution, I would like the role of ombudsman to be as common and well known in society as a plumber or a fireman and as well respected as a doctor or a lawyer.  More generally, I want people to 1) see the word ombuds, 2) say the word ombuds, and 3) have a basic understanding of what ombuds do, while acknowledging the many different types of ombuds programs.

Before I continue, I would like to acknowledge that there were many ombuds working behind the scenes, both on the subcommittee and volunteering for many other activities.  Last year, we hosted nearly 400 participants at two Ombuds Day virtual events with Chuck Howard as our keynote speaker and leadership representatives from each of the ombuds professional organizations.  We helped to coordinate 7 national ombuds-related webinars and sought state proclamations in all 50 states. We also developed a dedicated social media presence on Twitter, @OmbudsDay, and have a website,, which we can use as a reference for all Ombuds Day related materials and links.

How can you help?

This is the 4th annual recognition of the event, so we have refined our messaging and developed a general plan over the last 3 years.  In order to convert those plans into actions, we need volunteers to support our efforts!  Specifically, we would like to:

  • Reach out to ombuds across the nation and to contact the governor’s offices in all 50 states to request state proclamation (and possibly some proclamations in major metropolitan cities).
  • Identify ombuds programs across the nation and capture useful information about those programs (program name, program website, specific contacts, program social media accounts, etc.) to further promote awareness and connections between programs.
  • Host an ombuds-related webinar that would support your ombuds program and create general awareness of ombuds-related services.
  • Other small but related projects to be defined later.


In addition, for 2021, we’re also planning to focus our efforts on hosting a virtual event that would be targeted to decision-makers that might establish or interact with ombuds programs like professional associations that represent senior executives from corporations, universities, and healthcare facilities as well as federal, state, and local legislators that might see the value in mandating ombuds programs in support of new initiatives and programs.

If you’re interested in either of these roles, IOA Liaison or a project volunteer, then please contact me at [email protected].  I would be happy to chat with you if you have any questions before making a commitment.

Thanks in advance for your support,


Ken Skodacek
CDRH Deputy Ombuds
Center for Devices and Radiological Health
Office of Policy
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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