Donald Proby

Donald Proby is the director of the Office of Mediation, Coaching, Ombuds and Support Services (OMCOSS). Launched on Monday, Jan. 6, OMCOSS provides services, education and resources to the Brigham Health workforce in support of building and sustaining trusting, respectful relationships. All services are voluntary for faculty, staff and trainees — each person is free to participate or decline without consequence. In this Q&A with Brigham Clinical & Research News, Proby shares information about OMCOSS and the services it offers.

Q: How would you summarize what OMCOSS is all about?

DP: OMCOSS helps individuals understand healthy conflict as a natural and vital part of our lives. We’re committed to creating a psychologically safe place for people to come for assistance, structure and support to move through conflict. We will meet each individual where they are, and offer services that magnify the humanity in our collective workspaces. This is all in pursuit of building a stronger culture and a better Brigham Experience for our employees, and ultimately our patients.

Q: How can clinical and research groups at the Brigham benefit from OMCOSS services?

DP: On the listening tour that I initiated, I heard that our research and clinical culture is deeply influenced by high stress, high stakes and the most tenacious commitment to achieve and maintain excellence. Physicians and researchers at every career stage are regularly confronted with a variety of structural and interpersonal challenges, heightening the potential for miscommunication and unintentional slights.

At OMCOSS, clinical and research groups will find a new resource for improving work quality and performance, relationship management and the quality of work life before, during and after conflict. We offer a full spectrum of support including conflict coaching, professional coaching, mediation services, peer support and direct access to our Employee Assistance Program. We also help people navigate systems to remedy professional and organizational concerns, which may include a visit to our ombudsperson. Our peer support services can help clinicians work through the impact of critical incidents.

Given our dynamic array of services, we believe clinicians and researchers, along with our entire workforce, will benefit from the support OMCOSS offers.

Q: What should employees expect when they approach OMCOSS for assistance?

DP: OMCOSS staff will ask questions such as: What are your needs? How can we support you in doing your best work? Our team will listen, reflect and partner with individuals and work with teams to help them determine what intrapersonal, interpersonal, group level or systems level interventions are needed to help cultivate an optimal work environment.

A central theme of our work at OMCOSS involves allowing individuals to guide the content and context, while we provide the structure and process for potential growth and transformation moving forward. Our approach is rooted in conflict transformation theory and facilitative/transformative approaches to mediation and coaching.

You’ll get support from our team of professionals experienced in coaching, mediation, ombuds services and consulting. And of course, we will respect your privacy.

Q: From an employee perspective, there are many Human Resources programs and other initiatives (Employee Assistance Program, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, OMCOSS) available to employees. How do these services complement one another, and how should employees decide where to go and when?

DP: We are all committed to the idea that there is no wrong door to enter. OMCOSS will help faculty, staff and trainees navigate the options, and will call in partners across the organization to help as needed.

Q: How do you access OMCOSS services?

DP: Call 617-525-9797 or email