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David B. Clifford, MD

David B. Clifford, MD, the Melba and Forest Seay Professor of Clinical Neuropharmacology in Neurology, is honored for excellence in teaching and his pursuit of innovative educational opportunities for medical students.

His colleagues note that, for Clifford, everything is a teachable moment, and nearly all teachable moments are memorable. In his popular neurology lectures, he is well known for highlighting to second-year medical students the effects of ischemia on nerve fibers and the sequential recovery of somatosensory function by cutting off circulation to his own arm with a blood pressure cuff. That immersion philosophy also is apparent in his efforts to expand health care services to underserved populations. He has served as president of the medical staff of St. Louis ConnectCare, an indigent-care program in St. Louis and as the founder of a neurology education partnership with Mekelle University in Ethiopia, where he offers Washington University residents international rotations to both teach African students as well as learn about the challenges of health care in the developing world.

Clifford’s research and clinical focus lies in the management of neurological diseases such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and in particular, the neurological complications of HIV/AIDS. He led the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke-supported Neurologic AIDS Research Consortium and is the principal investigator for Washington University’s AIDS Clinical Trials Unit. Through his international research related to HIV, he has created opportunities for students to see, experience and advance HIV/AIDS care and research in Africa and the United States. His students consistently note that Clifford is a model of compassionate-care practices and exemplifies humanism in medicine.

Clifford earned his medical degree and completed both his internal medicine and neurology residency at Washington University. He joined the faculty in 1980.

Published: 02/15/2016