Dr. Maurice Clifton brings more than 20 years of professional experience and leadership

  Friday, April 19, 2024
  Health, Announcements, Academics

By Saira Cabrera

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – APRIL 19, 2024 – It was in the red-bricked Boise VA Medical Center in Idaho that Dr. Maurice Clifton first realized he wanted to help others through science.

He would spend hours volunteering at his local hospital, "shadowing and helping the nurses out," he said.

It was a time well before he decided to pursue a career in medicine.

"I would spend over 40 hours a week helping wherever I could in the hospital. It was fascinating to me," he said. "I often found myself wanting to help people, and I liked science. So, medicine was something that just clicked for me."

Now, as the new senior associate dean of Student Affairs and Admissions for the UTRGV School of Medicine, he will mentor and help educate future physicians who, like him, have a passion for science and helping others.  


His upbringing had much to do with his career choice. Coming from a long line of educators, Clifton had a personal motivation for pursuing academic medicine. It was not where he initially thought he would end up, though. 

Dr. Maurice Clifton, MD, MSEd, MBA, is the new senior associate dean of Student Affairs and Admissions for the UTRGV School of Medicine. Clifton's areas of expertise include career advising, student support, admissions, assessment using standardized patients, curriculum design, development of clinical reasoning, adolescent medicine, and medical education research and analytics, among others. (UTRGV Photo by Raul Gonzalez)

"Pursuing academic medicine wasn't something I purposefully sought," he said. "But I always liked mentoring, even in high school and college. I think this interconnection between helping others and education comes from my long line of family members who are teachers."

With that motivation, Clifton sought out opportunities where he could keep mentoring through medicine – now one of his primary responsibilities at the UTRGV School of Medicine as the new senior associate dean of Student Affairs and Admissions.

In that role, Clifton will help guide the building and development of medical programs while providing opportunities for students who want to enter medicine, paving the way to becoming a physician.

"I didn't think I would be doing a lot of academia. This shifted during my fellowship in adolescent medicine, where I helped care for teens and youth who were at risk," Clifton said. "I was able to help give these kids access to care they wouldn't otherwise have. From there, I've never looked back."

When students get to medical school, his team will help them succeed in the intricacies of medicine by providing resources, counseling and advising "to help them along the path," he said.

Clifton is a skilled medical professional with over 20 years of experience and has held leadership positions in various organizations, including R3 Education Inc., Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, and the University of Pittsburgh.


"I like building programs," he said. "At younger schools, such as ours, there tend to be more opportunities for building things. So that's something that attracted me to UTRGV."

He holds a medical degree, completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in adolescent medicine, a master's degree in education, and a master's degree in business administration, all of which have prepared him for his medical career path and academic medicine.

At the UTRGV School of Medicine, he will implement policies and programming to support academic progress from admission to graduation and beyond, including educational support, advising, learning environment, career development, student wellness, and alumni initiatives. 

"I moved across the country to the Valley because I'm interested in the possibilities of impacting a community that needs more access to healthcare," he said, "and in the opportunity to build and transform how we care for our region by helping guide our students, our future healthcare professionals."


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.