MacArthur Fellows Program

Aaron Shirley

Health Care Leader | Class of 1993

Health Care Leader
Jackson, Mississippi
60 at time of award
November 26, 2014
Area of Focus
Health Care Delivery
Published July 1, 1993

About Aaron's Work

Aaron Shirley, an expert in public health and community organizing, is a leader in developing public health strategies that address a wide range of medical and social needs.

In 1970, Shirley co-founded the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson, Mississippi.  Based on the belief that health care is a right, the Center serves the citizens of Jackson and Hinds Counties, and has become a national model for health promotion, disease prevention, and comprehensive care.  The center also provides a source for recruiting African-Americans from the surrounding areas for careers in health professions, and is the basis for an exceptional, school-based health program that includes family-planning services.  In 1995, Shirley led the conversion of an abandoned shopping mall into a state-of-the-art health care facility for the underserved citizens of Jackson.


Shirley is the chairman of the board of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation and is also the director of Community Health Services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Shirley received a B.S. (1955) from Tougaloo College and an M.D. (1959) from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.  In 1965, he became the first African-American resident at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. 

Last updated January 1, 2005

Select News Coverage of Aaron Shirley
November 27, 2014
"Medical Pioneer Dr. Aaron Shirley Has Died"
The Clarion-Ledger
Aaron Shirley , 1993 MacArthur Fellow
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