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Davenport Campus

Alumnus among three D.C.s now at overseas military bases

Dr. Reggie Clifton opened a chiropractic clinic at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa, Japan, in July 2010. He is one of three chiropractors who, in 2010, became the first D.C.s ever to practice at overseas U.S. military bases.
Dr. Reggie Clifton standing next to U.S. Naval Hospital sign

Reggie Clifton, D.C., Davenport ’87, got his first taste of caring for active duty military personnel in 2003 when he started a five-year stint at Offutt Air Force base near Omaha, Neb. He was one of two contracted chiropractors at Offutt, which was part of a Department of Defense (DoD) pilot program that offered on-base chiropractic care to military personnel. Other Davenport Campus graduates who have worked at Offutt include Drs. Greg Lillie, ’88, Jason Christenson, ’97, and Derrick Eichstadt, ’97.

“I worked primarily for the Air Force there,” Dr. Clifton recalls, “from pilots to flight surgeons, kids with one stripe to two-star generals, and everyone in between.” He adds that they are the “most appreciative people” he’s ever met.

“Taking care of a clinician who had been on their feet all day, Kinesio taping a pilot before a long flight and addressing acute low back pain caused by lifting a tire, were all in a day’s work,” he says.

Dr. Clifton credits a number of Palmer graduates for the increasing availability of chiropractic care in the military, including colleague Dr. Lillie as well as Bill Morgan, D.C., West ’85.

In 2008, Dr. Clifton left Offutt to open a private practice in West Des Moines, Iowa. In time, he realized he still felt drawn back to the military program. Then in 2009, he learned that the federal government was about to add more D.C. positions at a group of military bases and Veterans Health Administration facilities. One of those positions was at the Naval Hospital in Okinawa, Japan.

“When the Okinawa position was first posted, I didn’t really give much thought to applying for it,” he says. “To this day I probably wouldn’t have pursued it if not for my wife’s encouragement.”

After applying and being selected, Dr. Clifton received his orders and proceeded to open a clinic at Camp Foster in July 2010. In accepting this position, he joined two other chiropractors who, in 2010, became the first chiropractors ever to provide chiropractic care at an overseas U.S. military base. The two other chiropractors now practice in Germany.

At Camp Foster, Dr. Clifton’s patients include active duty men and women of all branches of service. His clinic operates under the physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic command. While patients are initially referred to the base’s chiropractic facilities by primary practitioners, all physicians within the hospital are able to freely refer their patients to other healthcare providers.

“I have the full support of my fellow healthcare workers using the referral process,” says Dr. Clifton, who can recommend his patients undergo further testing, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and labs.

He also can refer patients to other specialists, such as orthopedic physicians, neurologists and physical therapists.

“This is what attracted me to the DoD,” says Dr. Clifton. “We all know why we are here, and that is to keep the men and women of our armed forces battle ready. It’s no different than private practice, except these patients lay their lives on the line everyday for the rest of us.”

“Just last week in the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Team Clinic, a Master Chief of 20-plus years in the service noted in front of a dozen other younger active duty personnel, ‘You don’t know how lucky you are to have chiropractic available.’ He added that when he was younger, they didn’t have the things that are offered today to help them do their job. That, my friend, is a testimony.”

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