Nurturing Lifelong Leaders: Tiffany Delaney
Out of the myriad responsibilities that come with the role of director of
the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a position that Tiffany Delaney,
M.A.Ed., has held since 2013, one of the ones she looks forward to most
is meeting individually with every member of the incoming class. She
reviews with each new medical student their profile using the Intercultural
Development Inventory (IDI), a tool that provides insight into their current
level of intercultural competence, defined as the capability to shift cultural
perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences
and commonalities. The diversity office selected the IDI in 2014 to help
students understand their own profile, with a goal to enhance their
cultural competency skills over the four years of medical school.
As one of the only medical schools in the country to use the IDI in
this way – students complete the inventory as a first-year student and
again after they finish their clerkships — Delaney says it is one example
of the College’s multifaceted approach to diversity and inclusion.
“We are working to expand the definition of ‘diversity’ to encompass
more than just compositional diversity, to also include the idea that
each member of the College of Medicine is responsible for the ongoing
development of their own cultural awareness,” says Delaney.
Through initiatives such as the IDI, and the ODI Finding Our Common
Ground orientation curriculum, students learn the art of “human relations”
in all of its complexity, through the lens of diversity and inclusion, in a
way that’s integrated into the rest of their medical school experience. “We
have laid the groundwork to make sure all members of the Larner College
of Medicine know what we mean by diversity and inclusion,” she says,
adding that broad engagement from the entire Larner College of Medicine
community has been key to moving this and other goals forward.
At the Our Common Ground awards ceremony, colleague Diane
Jaworski, Ph.D., professor of neurological sciences, said that Delaney has
been the driving force behind many of the positive changes the College has
made in recent years, including the creation of the first explicitly genderneutral
restroom, and private changing rooms adjacent to the anatomy lab.
In their letters of support, students echoed Jaworski’s sentiments.
“I am proud to say that the Larner College of Medicine is now a
leader in medical education for openness and inclusivity for transgender
students — and not just in theory,” said Al York ’19. “As a result of her
hard work to make these safe spaces a reality, I feel respected, heard,
validated, and safe.”
Delaney’s work has led to national recognition: In 2014, UVM
earned its first Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
After receiving her master’s degree in higher education
administration from George Washington University, Delaney worked
for several institutions, including the New England Culinary Institute
and a community college on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin
Islands, before joining the office of admissions at the Larner College
of Medicine in 2003. In 2005, she became the director of admissions, a
position she held until 2013. In 2013, Dean Morin tapped her to create the
College’s first-ever Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the office soon
expanded to include Margaret Tandoh, M.D., the College’s associate dean
for diversity and inclusion, and Michael Upton, M.D., faculty development
liaison. The office’s comprehensive five-year strategic plan, steered by
Delaney, has helped to move the College forward as a leader in culturally
inclusive medical education.
“Through her advocacy, support, and leadership, Tiffany Delaney
has guided so many students and future physicians and has impacted
the Larner College of Medicine in countless ways,” said Jaworski in her
remarks. “People like Tiffany, who devote themselves to the nurturing
and cultivation of lifelong leaders, make ours an outstanding community
that others want to join.”
Story by Erin Post
Photos by David Seaver