Dr. Shannon “Nikki” Clifford is an experienced and accomplished academic leader with 20 years of experience in higher education at both public and private institutions. Prior to joining USAHS, Dr. Clifford served as the Associate Dean of the School of Health Professions and Nursing at LIU-Post in Brookville, NY where she oversaw all daily operations and faculty/student functions of the School, provided direct oversight of all accreditation processes for 14 academic programs within the health professions, held the role of Program Director for the developing Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the Institution.
Dr. Clifford’s experience includes faculty and academic leadership roles at Kean University in New Jersey, where she served as the founding Executive Director of the School of Physical Therapy and DPT Program. During her time at Kean, she served as an associate professor and developed a now fully accredited DPT program [with over 200+ clinical partners] and developed formal partnership between the Robert Wood Johnson/Barnabas Healthcare group and the University. While at Kean, she also created a new BS/Biology Program with a Health Professions option, which successfully prepared students to enter graduate programs in either PA, PT or OT. In the past three years, that program has grown to one of the largest and most sought after undergraduate majors at the Institution.
Previous to her time at Kean, Dr. Clifford served as an Associate Professor and Chair of the DPT Department at LIU-Brooklyn. She has also held both faculty and director positions at Chatham University and the University of Pittsburgh, both in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Clifford received a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, where she also received both her BS and MPT degrees, while competing as an NCAA Division 1 scholar athlete in Women’s swimming.
Dr. Clifford’s research and clinical expertise lies in the area of low back pain including interventional and decision-making strategies for adult and adolescent patients, and best practice for the education of future manual therapists. Clinically, Dr. Clifford has focused on orthopedics and manual therapy and has gained experience with organizations such as UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, NovaCare/Select Medical, Intermountain HealthCare, and Allegheny and Chesapeake PT [now a part of Pivot PT]. Dr. Clifford has been fortunate enough to receive various national and institutional-level awards for research and teaching excellence from national and institutional organizations throughout her career.