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 RIC Executive Leadership Team

 Dr. Joanne Smith, CEO, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago  
Joanne C. Smith, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer
 Edward Case  
Edward B. Case
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
 Laura L. Ferrio  
Laura L. Ferrio
Vice President, Patient Care Services/Chief Nurse Executive
 Lois Huggins  
Lois M. Huggins
Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Vice President
 Peggy Kirk  
Peggy Kirk
Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Operating Officer
 Nancy Paridy  
Nancy E. Paridy, JD
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Government Affairs/Corporate Secretary
Elliot Roth  
 Elliot Roth, MD
Chairman, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
 W. Zev Rymer  
W. Zev Rymer, MD, PhD
Vice President, Research
 James Sliwa  
James Sliwa, DO
Chief Medical Officer, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs, Chief Quality and Safety Officer
 

 


Joanne C. Smith, MD, MBA

Joanne C. Smith, MD, MBA
President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Smith is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), America’s number-one rehabilitation hospital as named by US News & World Report every year since 1991.  Dr. Smith joined RIC as a practicing physician in 1992 after completing her residency and chief residency at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine (NU-FSM) and she was promoted to President and CEO in 2006, after serving the Institute in progressively expanded roles. In addition to her executive functions, Dr. Smith is an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at NU-FSM. She enjoys the honor of being named one of Chicago’s “Top Doctors” by Chicago Magazine in every edition since 2004. 

Dr. Smith is a member of several professional organizations, both regional and national, and serves on the healthcare industry boards of the Illinois Hospital Association and the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, two corporate boards, and a healthcare Advisory Board for a private equity firm.

Dr. Smith holds a BS, Cum Laude, from Oakland University in Rochester Michigan, an MD with Alpha Omega Alpha designation from Michigan State University, and is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Smith also holds an MBA from the University Of Chicago Graduate School Of Business.

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Edward B. Case

Edward B. Case
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Ed Case is a senior financial and operations executive with over 25 years of experience leading health care, academic, and community organizations. As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for RIC, Mr. Case provides leadership and oversight for all financial aspects of the Institute. In accordance with the Board-approved strategic plan for financial excellence, he is responsible for financial planning, financial reporting to internal and external constituents, treasury functions, contracting, and capital and operating budgets. In keeping with the Institute's mission of advocacy, Mr. Case also holds a key role in educating local, state, and federal legislators about important financial issues related to patient care for people with disabilities.

Mr. Case joined RIC from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was President & Owner of Healthcare Resource Associates, a leading provider of financial outsourcing solutions for physicians and hospitals. Previously, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Presbyterian Healthcare in Charlotte. He also held several positions with BJC Health System in St. Louis, including Acting CEO, CFO, and CFO of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Prior to joining BJC, he was CFO at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis.

Mr. Case graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, and earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a lecturer at both UNC and Washington University in the Master of Healthcare Administration programs.

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Laura L. Ferrio

Laura L. Ferrio
Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive

Laura Ferrio has a broad range of responsibilities from managing the quality of patient care to directing all aspects of nursing, allied health and ancillary services. In her 27 years at RIC, Laura co-founded the LIFE Center, which now houses the largest collection of patient education and consumer health resources for people with disabilities. She also led the effort to achieve nursing excellence culminating in RIC being named the first Magnet rehabilitation hospital in the country. Laura has served as the clinical project executive overseeing the implementation of RIC’s new hospital information system ensuring clinical documentation is seamlessly performed at point-of-care. Most recently, Laura has been on the senior leadership team planning for the Ability Institute of RIC, the new research hospital.

Laura earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northern Illinois University, a certification in the specialty field of rehabilitation nursing, a board certification as an advanced nurse executive, the first dual-degree graduate from Loyola University of Chicago MBA-MSN program, and completed the Johnson & Johnson Wharton Fellowship for Nurse Executives. She has been a champion of nurses everywhere as the past president of the Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders and past president of the Illinois Coalition for Nursing Resources. Laura was also selected as the Illinois Nurse Leader of the Year by the University of Illinois College of Nursing Institute of Healthcare Innovation in 2004. Laura received a governor appointment and served 10 years on the Illinois State Board of Nursing.

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Lois Huggins

Lois M. Huggins
Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Vice President

Lois Huggins brings almost 20 years of experience in human resources leadership to build upon organizational excellence and position RIC for future growth and development.

Most recently, as the Chief People Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources of Sara Lee Corporation, Ms. Huggins oversaw global human resources and was responsible for community investments and the Sara Lee Foundation.

Ms. Huggins has served in a variety of senior executive human resources roles spanning multiple businesses and global geographic units for Sara Lee Corporation since 1987 including Divisional Vice President of Organization Development and Change Management at Coach Leatherware in New York, previously a division of Sara Lee, and then Vice President of Human Resources for Sara Lee Intimate Apparel in North Carolina. She joined the corporate human resources department in 2000 assuming leadership of organization development and diversity initiatives.

Ms. Huggins holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and drama from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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Peggy Kirk

 

Peggy Kirk
Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Operating Officer

In 1981, Peggy Kirk began her career at RIC as a staff nurse on the inpatient spinal cord unit. Since joining the Institute, Ms. Kirk has gained increasing responsibility, providing leadership as a nurse manager for the spinal cord injury program; as corporate director for inpatient services, which included developing and operating an acute rehabilitation unit between RIC and Loyola University Medical Center; and orchestrating the creation of a medically complex rehabilitation program in partnership with RML Specialty Hospital. In 2002 Ms. Kirk was promoted to Vice President of Operations and was responsible for RIC's Day Rehabilitation programs and the RIC & Advocate at Illinois Masonic Medical Center Strategic Alliance. Ms. Kirk assumed the position of Vice President, National Division in 2006.

A seasoned health care executive, Ms. Kirk has co-authored the Rehabilitation Nursing Guide to Spinal Cord Injury as well as a number of peer-reviewed articles on a variety of rehabilitation topics. In addition, Ms. Kirk was a co-investigator on externally funded grants related to bowel and skin management following a spinal cord injury.

Ms. Kirk earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.

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Nancy Paridy

Nancy E. Paridy, JD
Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Government Affairs/Corporate Secretary

Nancy E. Paridy, JD, LLM, joined RIC in 1995 as Associate General Counsel and came to her current position through successive promotions over the ensuing years. Prior to RIC, Ms. Paridy practiced law in the areas of litigation and corporate healthcare as a partner of the Chicago-based firm Rooks, Pitts and Poust, now known as Dykema Gossett, as well as at Ungaretti and Harris.

As a member of the executive management team at RIC, Ms. Paridy oversees and directs the Institute's broad range of legal services in the areas of health law, litigation, employment law, joint venture relationships and management agreements, tax, fraud and abuse, regulatory interpretation and guidance, intellectual property, research, operations, government relations, corporate compliance and corporate governance. She also oversees the Institute's insurance needs and its government as well as community affairs and board functions.

Ms. Paridy received her law degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, Kent College of Law, and earned her Master of Laws in health law at Loyola University. She received her undergraduate degree from Western Illinois University. She also studied at the St. Louis University School of Law and the University of London. She has been admitted to practice law in Illinois since 1983 and is a member of the Trial Bar for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Ms. Paridy has been recognized for her outstanding leadership by receiving the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award, Alumni Achievement Award and Outstanding History Alumnus Award from Western Illinois University. She also was named the Top General Counsel in 2011 from First Chair, which was the first time the award was given. She sits on various policy councils as well as boards. She and her team have developed a robust internship program.  Ms. Paridy has lectured and written extensively on health care.

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Elliot Roth

Elliot Roth, MD
Chairman, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Elliot Roth is a renowned expert in areas such as stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Roth has more than 25 years of varying experience and leadership at RIC and has served the role of chairman of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation since 1994.

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W. Zev Rymer

W. Zev Rymer, MD, PhD
Vice President, Research

W. Zev Rymer oversees all research endeavors throughout the RIC system of care. He is RIC's most senior scientist and the founder of many of its current research programs. Dr. Rymer also serves as RIC's John G. Searle Chair in Rehabilitation Research and director of the Sensory Motor Performance Program, a position he has held since 1987.

In addition to his research roles at RIC, Dr. Rymer holds appointments as professor of physiology and biomedical engineering at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and at the Hines VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois. His laboratory receives support from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), a number of research-oriented foundations and the Veteran's Administration.

Dr. Rymer earned his medical degree from Melbourne University and his PhD in neurophysiology from Monash University, both in Australia. After postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University Medical School, he became an assistant professor of neurosurgery and physiology at the State University of New York, Syracuse. In 1978, he came to Chicago as an assistant professor of physiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, and he remained as a faculty member in physiology until his appointment at the RIC.

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James Sliwa

James Sliwa, DO
Chief Medical Officer, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs, Chief Quality and Safety Officer

James Sliwa, DO, is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Chief Quality and Safety Officer at the Institute, responsible for overseeing patient quality and safety throughout the RIC system of care.

Through his medical expertise and leadership, Dr. Sliwa is focused on driving the highest level of performance for patient care and outcomes at RIC.

Formerly Medical Director of the General Rehabilitation Program at RIC, Dr. Sliwa completed his physical medicine and rehabilitation residency training at RIC in 1984 and has been an active physician for the past 20 years. As a practicing physician, Dr. Sliwa specializes in cancer rehabilitation and treating neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

He is also the Program Director for residency training in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine as well as the medical director of RIC's general rehabilitation program.

Dr. Sliwa earned his medical degree from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his internship at Chicago Osteopathic Hospital.

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