Dr. James Sliwa

James Sliwa, DO

Position Chief Medical Officer &
Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs
Chief Quality and Safety Officer
Practicing since 1984
Joined staff in 1984
Phone Number Description Phone

Telephone Number


About Me

About Me

Through his medical expertise and leadership, James Sliwa, DO, is focused on driving the highest level of performance for patient care, safety and outcomes.

Dr. Sliwa has been a practicing physician for Shirley Ryan AbilityLab since 1984. He specializes in a variety of areas, including cancer rehabilitation, treating neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, and caring for medically complex patients. As Chief Medical Officer and Chief Quality and Safety Officer, he is responsible for overseeing patient quality and safety throughout the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab system of care. Additionally, Dr. Sliwa is a Director of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) and a Professor in the Departments of PM&R and Medical Education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dr. Sliwa has led development of the Ability Quotient (AQ), a new outcomes tool that is the most sensitive and predictive in the field of rehabilitation medicine. The AQ will allow providers not only to measure outcomes more accurately and consistently, but also to predict extent of recovery. In addition, it will allow all providers to compete on the same system of quality — with real, measurable, verifiable and quantitative results.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Sliwa served as the Program Director for residency training in the Department of PM&R at Northwestern. Today it is the leading medical residency program in PM&R.

Dr. Sliwa earned his BA in Biology and Religious Studies from Indiana University and his DO from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Northwestern University/Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (then the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago).


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

355 East Erie

Chicago, IL 60611

Education & Training



    1970 - 1974
    Biology and Religious Studies, Indiana University
    1976 - 1980
    Osteopathic Medicine, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
    1980 - 1981
    Internship, Chicago Osteopathic Hospital


    1981 - 1984
    Residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University/ Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Honors & Awards

  • Teacher of the Year
    Residents, 1998
  • Teacher of the Year
    Residents, 1999
  • Mentor of the Year
    Residents, 2003
  • Chicago's Best Doctors
    Castle Connelly, 2015

Certificates & Licenses

  • Board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    Americn Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    American Osteopathic Board of Physical Medicne and Rehabilitation
  • Licensed physician
    Stae of Illinois

Research Interests

  • Resident Education
  • Cancer Rehabilitation