Joanne C. Smith, MD


The Most Powerful Women in Chicago Business


Crain's Chicago Business


Joanne Smith makes no local-only plans. After obsessing over "every square inch of construction" of the 27-story Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and securing $332 million in donations to fund it, she declares, "This is a gift to the world."

She means it literally. Smith envisions the 18-month-old Streeterville successor to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago as a "proof of concept" for others like it. More than just a new building, the lab brings patients and researchers into the same spaces, with the hope of speeding scientific feedback and spurring faster recoveries.

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