Peggy Kirk

Peggy Kirk

Position President & Chief Executive Officer
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Telephone Number


About Me

About Me

Peggy Kirk, RN, leverages her deep clinical and leadership experience to guide Shirley Ryan AbilityLab as President and Chief Executive Officer, a role she has held since Sept. 2021.

Peggy most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer between 2007-2021. In this role, she oversaw all clinical areas, including Inpatient, Outpatient, DayRehab, and partnerships with acute-care hospitals domestically and internationally. She also led clinical teams in caring for more than 50,000 patients from around the world annually while achieving industry-leading benchmarks.

Additionally, she served as an integral member of the executive team charged with bringing to life Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s $550 million, 1.2 million square foot facility. The facility opened in 2017 as the first-ever translational research hospital, where physicians, scientists, innovators, technologists and clinicians work together in the same space, surrounding patients, discovering novel approaches and applying (or “translating”) research in real time. In this capacity, she led the evolution of clinical treatment models to align with the hospital’s vision of applied-research rehabilitation, while developing process and systems changes to facilitate this vision. She also led the two-year activation plan, guiding thousands of staff to prepare for the patient move to the new facility, which took place over the course of a single morning.   

Peggy joined Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) in 1981 as a Staff Nurse for the hospital’s spinal cord injury program. While in this role, she served as co-investigator on externally funded grants and also co-authored Spinal Cord Injury: A Guide to Rehabilitation Nursing, as well as a number of peer-reviewed articles on various rehabilitation topics. In the years that followed, she held diverse roles in virtually every segment of the hospital’s clinical enterprise — from Corporate Director for Inpatient Services to Vice President of Operations for various divisions, including DayRehab and Strategic Alliances.

Peggy earned her BS in Nursing from Northwestern University.   



Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

355 East Erie

Chicago, IL 60611

Education & Professional Associations



    1976 - 1980
    Nursing, Northwestern University

Work History

  • 2021
    President & CEO
    Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
  • 2007
    Chief Operating Officer & Senior Vice President
    Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
  • 2002
    Vice President, Clinical Operations
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now Shirley Ryan AbilityLab)
  • 1986
    Nurse Manager
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now Shirley Ryan AbilityLab)
  • 1981
    Staff Nurse
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now Shirley Ryan AbilityLab)