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.