Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Ranked No. 1

Press Release

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report for 31st Consecutive Year

Posted By Megan Washburn

Remains only hospital of its kind to hold this distinction.


JULY 27, 2021 — CHICAGO — Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) again has been recognized as the national leader in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, topping the U.S. News & World Report list for the 31st consecutive year. It remains the only hospital of its kind to hold this distinction.

U.S. News has declared Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to be the best hospital in its field every year since 1991. For the ranking, the independent news organization analyzes data for more than 4,500 medical centers nationwide in 25 specialties, procedures and conditions.

“For more than three decades, it’s been an honor to be recognized by U.S. News for our vision and pioneering spirit,” said Joanne C. Smith, MD, president and CEO of Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. “Although we value and greatly appreciate external affirmation, we don’t need to look outward for daily examples of how we lead. Here, curiosity is boundless as we challenge convention and pursue breakthroughs. Passion and compassion are palpable as everything we do centers around our patients and our purpose — to Advance Human Ability.”


In addition to caring for those with the most severe, complex injuries and conditions, the organization has remained nimble and ready to serve emerging patient populations. For instance, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab established a COVID Care Unit designed to serve inpatients recovering from severe infection, and broadened its outpatient offerings to care for those struggling with chronic debility stemming from long COVID. Additionally, in the last year, its scientists have identified permanent nerve damage and diaphragm muscle weakness in COVID survivors, sharing these findings broadly and recommending targeted treatments to help patients get back to work and life.


Founded in 1953 as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is the global leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation for adults and children with a range of conditions — from traumatic brain and spinal cord injury to stroke, amputation and cancer-related impairment. The organization opened its doors to a $550 million, 1.2-million-square-foot research hospital in March 2017. The facility is the first-ever “translational” research hospital in which physicians, scientists, innovators, technologists and clinicians work together with patients in the same space, applying novel research in real time during rehabilitation. The central goal of the translational approach is to develop new research and insights to help patients gain more function, achieve better outcomes and enjoy greater ability and independence.

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, go to

Let's get connected.

Request an appointment