Kelly Cox Watkins is responsible for patient volume and strategic growth initiatives for Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s system of care — regionally, nationally and internationally. Today, the organization serves patients from nearly every state and more than 70 countries.
Most recently, Kelly has led the development and launch of Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Advisory Services Group, providing strategic assessment, care-model and facility design, and clinical operations and training services to organizations nationally and internationally. This program extends Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s mission, transferring knowledge and sharing best practices throughout the world.
Notably, her leadership has proven pivotal in the successful clinical affiliation with Capital Health in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which recently opened Specialized Rehabilitation Hospital, the first rehabilitation hospital of its kind in the country.
As a critical care and rehabilitation nurse and clinical operations executive, Kelly joined Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (then Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) in 1998, serving in various roles, from Vice President of Corporate Partnerships to Vice President of Inpatient Operations.
Kelly earned her BS in nursing from Maryville University in St. Louis, Mo., and her MS in nursing administration from the University of Colorado Denver.
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
355 East Erie
Chicago, IL 60611
Education & Professional Associations
PresidentKids' Chance of Illinois, 2016
- 2008 - 2009Chief Operating OfficerTIRR Memorial Hermann
- 2003 - 2008VP, Inpatient OperationsRIC
- 1999 - 2003VP, Corporate PartnershipsRIC
- 1998 - 2000Executive Director, Corporate PartnershipsRIC
- 1996 - 1994Chief Nurse ExecutiveIntensive Hospital of Columbus, OH - LTAC
- 1987 - 1989Nurse ManagerCraig Hospital