Shirley Ryan speaks at ground breaking

Press Release

Shirley Ryan Joins Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Board of Directors

Posted By Meg Washburn Give Now


CHICAGO — (Aug. 19, 2016) — The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) today announced that Shirley W. Ryan has joined its Board of Directors.

Mrs. Ryan serves as the Chair of Pathways, the leading resource in early detection and intervention tools that maximize children’s motor, sensory, and communication development. Earlier this summer, she and her husband, Patrick W. Ryan, contributed a record gift in support of RIC’s state-of-the-art research hospital. When the new facility opens in March 2017, it will be named the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. As part of this transformative gift, Pathways, which consists of a leading outpatient pediatric therapy clinic and an expansive educational website, has integrated with RIC.

“Shirley is a visionary who has devoted her life to empowering people with the knowledge, services and tools to advance ability,” said Joanne C. Smith, M.D., RIC president and CEO. “We are thrilled that she’s joining our board and are confident she will apply her insight and influence to propel RIC and Pathways even farther.”

In addition to her work with Pathways, Mrs. Ryan serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and on the Board of Directors of the University of Notre Dame, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Alain Locke Charter Academy, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Mrs. Ryan has been appointed by two presidents to the National Council on Disability, which advises Congress on disability issues. She has also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Notre Dame.

About the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab


The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, is the leading rehabilitation destination for adults and children with the most severe, complex conditions — from traumatic brain and spinal cord injury to stroke, amputation and cancer. Founded in 1953, it has been designated the “No. 1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. With the opening of its $550 million, 1.2-million-square-foot hospital in 2017, the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab became the first-ever “translational” research hospital in which clinicians, scientists, innovators and technologists work together in the same space, surrounding patients, discovering new approaches and applying (or “translating”) research real time. This unique approach enables patients to have 24/7 access to the brightest minds, the latest research, and the best opportunity for recovery. For more information, go to

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