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From time-to-time we all experience stress. Some of it is work-related, including adjusting to a new research group, learning new techniques, experiencing conflict, negotiating authorship, discussing career goals with your mentor, preparing for a thesis committee meeting, preparing job or graduate/professional school applications, and trying to balance work and personal life. Some stresses are the result of situations outside of work but affect work performance.

One antidote to stress is developing supportive relationships with your colleagues and peers at NIH and in your community. We strongly encourage you to become involved in the NIH community by joining groups such as the NIH Parenting Group, the Recreation & Welfare Association, international scholars associations, etc. We also encourage you to attend networking activities organized by FELCOM, the GSC, or the Postbac Committee.

There are many resources at NIH to help you deal with stress, mediate conflict, and find a healthy approach to your work and life. We know from experience that trainees who take advantage of the resources available to them deal more effectively with the challenges they face, leading to a more successful and satisfying training experience.


If you are experiencing conflict with someone in your lab, speak with him or her directly. If that does not resolve the issue, speak with your PI. If you are not comfortable doing that, or if the situation is not easily resolved, seek advice from other mentors (i.e., your Institute Training Director, your Lab/Branch Chief, OITE staff, colleagues) who can help you consider the issues from different angles. If you have concerns about interactions with your PI, it is important to talk with someone you trust. Hopefully you will have devel­oped relationships with your training director, Lab/Branch Chief or with more senior trainees/staff in the lab. Feel free to come by the OITE at any time to talk confidentially about the issues you are facing.

Office of the Ombudsman, Center for Cooperative Resolution (CCR)

Building 31, Room 2B63


The NIH Office of the Ombudsman, Center for Cooperative Resolution (CCR) is a neutral, independent, and confidential resource providing assistance to NIH scientists, administrators, trainees, and support staff. The NIH Ombudsman helps in addressing work-related issues such as authorship and other scientific disputes, employee-supervisor conflict, racial and ethnic tensions, and conflicts between peers. An NIH ombudsman can help you develop a strategy for dealing with a challenging situation and can identify resources relevant to your concerns.  An ombudsman will not reveal to anyone that you contacted the CCR without your specific permission to do so (except in cases of an imminent risk of serious harm). The CCR is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and can be flexible in scheduling appointments after hours.  Please call 301-594-7231 to schedule an appointment or for more information.



CIVIL is a coordinated NIH resource that strives to attain its vision of "An NIH Work Environment Free of Acts and Threats of Violence". Call CIVIL if you need help assessing the potential serious­ness of a threatening situation; you are experiencing a threatening situation at work and need intervention from trained staff; you become aware of a workplace situation involving intimidating, harassing, or other unproductive/dangerous behaviors and need consultation; a situation involving threats or aggressive acts already has occurred and you need assistance managing the aftermath and its effect on staff; or you need help in addressing your own aggressive reactions to a workplace situation.


NIH Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Building 31, B2B57


The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential service available to NIH trainees. You can visit the EAP to discuss work or life concerns including life transitions, work-life balance, career progression, substance abuse, family dynamics, or any other issues that might affect your ability to succeed as a postdoc. EAP has an open-door policy and is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday; you can also call for immediate assistance.


NIH Recreation & Welfare Association (R&W)

R&W is an organization designed to provide trainees and employees at NIH with a variety of social, athletic, wellness, educational, and special interest activities. It also focuses on building an NIH sense of community and charitable outreach. R&W publishes a monthly newsletter describing services on campus and also offers planned excur­sions and discounted tickets to various activities and events. Additionally, the Association runs fitness centers and gift shops located throughout campus. To join R&W you must pay an annual membership fee of $7.00.

NIH Fitness Centers

NIH fitness centers are run by the NIH Recreation and Welfare (R&W) Association. Services include weight rooms, aerobics, yoga classes, Weight Watchers, and personal trainers.

Incorporating Mindfulness into Your Life, a videocast


Sometimes things happen: a parent passes away; you suspect a child is being abused; you have been abused; you want help stopping smoking; you are experiencing a mental health crisis. The NIH Employee Assistance Program main­tains a list of helpful phone numbers that will connect you with 24-hour crisis hotlines, smoking cessation programs, resources for single parents, and self-help groups.