Laura Ferrio is a creative executive with vast clinical, managerial and executive experience.
For decades, Laura has served Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, the global leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation for adults and children with the most severe, complex conditions. In her current role as Chief Operating Officer, she oversees all clinical operations — including inpatient hospital services, outpatient, DayRehab, specialized clinical services and the alliances — as the hospital cares for more than 50,000 patients annually from around the globe.
Laura began her career with the organization as a Nurse Intern, eventually working her way up to Chief Nurse Executive and Vice President of Patient Care and Services. In that role, she influenced decision-making in every clinical area, including patient-care units, therapy and research laboratories and ancillary departments. She also spearheaded efforts that resulted in Shirley Ryan AbilityLab receiving the Magnet Recognition — the first rehabilitation hospital in the country to secure this prestigious designation. The extensive process for application that Laura developed and implemented laid the groundwork for our hospital to receive four successive Magnet designations.
Prior to becoming Chief Operating Officer, Laura also served as Chief Advancement Officer — leading philanthropy and development efforts for the organization, and increasing annual direct contributions, endowments and restricted funding in the process. She continues to serve as President of the Keystone Board.
Over the course of her career, Laura has been part of many important initiatives. She was instrumental in the design of Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s state-of-the-art hospital and implementation of its translational model. Additionally, with philanthropic seed funding, Laura co-founded Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s LIFE Center, which now houses the largest collection of patient education and consumer health resources for people with functional impairments.
Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northern Illinois University, as well as an MBA and Master of Science in Nursing from Loyola University Chicago. She also completed a Fellowship for Nurse Executives at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. A lifelong champion for nurses, Laura serves on the board of the American Nurses Foundation. She is the past president of both the Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders and the Illinois Coalition for Nursing Resources. She was named the Illinois Nurse Leader of the Year in 2004 and received a governor appointment to serve on the Illinois Board of Nursing, a role she held for a decade (2004-2014). In addition, Laura received the 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award for the College of Health & Human Sciences at Northern Illinois University.
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
355 East Erie
Chicago, IL 60611
Education & Professional Associations
Board MemberIllinois State Board of Nursing, 2004 - 2014
Board MemberDePaul University School of Nursing Advisory Board, 2016 - Present
Board MemberNurse.com/OnCourse Learning, 2002 - Present
Board MemberLoyola University of Chicago Niehoff School of Nursing Alumni Advisory Board, 2000 - 2007
Honors & Awards
Outstanding Alumni Award for the College of Health & Human SciencesNorthern Illinois University, 2009 - 2010
Illinois Nurse Leader of the YearUniversity of Illinois College of Nursing, Institute for Healthcare Innovation, 2004 - 2005
Nurse TraineeshipLoyola University of Chicago, 1991 - 1992
ScholarshipAssociation of Rehabilitation Nurses, 1991 - 1992
- 1996 - PresentVice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse ExecutiveRehabilitation Institute of Chicago
- 1993 - 1996Nurse ManagerRehabilitation Institute of Chicago
- 1989 - 1993Clinical Nurse EducatorRehabilitation Institute of Chicago
- 1986 - 1989Staff NurseRehabilitation Institute of Chicago
- 1985 - 1986Nurse ExternRehabilitation Institute of Chicago