Remembering Dr. Aaron Shirley - - Jackson, MS

Remembering Dr. Aaron Shirley

Dr. Aaron Shirley. Source: UMMC Website Dr. Aaron Shirley. Source: UMMC Website
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Philanthropist, educator, mentor, healthcare and civil rights pioneer; just a few of the hats worn by Dr. Aaron Shirley, who died at a Jackson hospital Friday afternoon. He had an illustrious medical career and his work as an ambassador to end healthcare disparities was recognized throughout the world.

Dr. Shirley was a native of Gluckstadt. He graduated from Tougaloo College and Meharry Medical College and was the first African American pediatric resident at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1965. For many years he was the only black pediatrician in the state.

In 1970 he helped establish the Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, which became the largest community health center in the state and a model for federally funded community health centers nationwide.

He was a champion of the poor andunder servedd, whether it was hospital care or preventive care, such as weight loss.

"At the end of 12 months let's have a grand finale here at the mall," said Dr. Shirley in 2011.

Dr. Shirley was a 1993 recipient of the Mac Arthur Fellowship, also known as the Genius Award.

In 1995 he pushed to transform the dilapidated Jackson Mall into the Jackson Medical Mall, a one stop shop health care facility for the underserved, a plan now duplicated around the country.

From civil rights to installing wells to provide clean drinking water, Dr. Shirley never shied away from a challenge.

"We would be raising holy hell," Dr. Shirley told us earlier this year.

He has recently worked tirelessly to establish better healthcare in the Mississippi Delta.

In 2010 he founded the HealthConnect program, an idea that originated in Iran, that sends doctors and nurses to poor homes to help prevent unnecessary ER visits.

Dr. Shirley has received numerous awards for his lifetime of service. He was married to Dr. Ollye Shirley, they have four children. 

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. Dr. Shirley was 81.

Copyright 2014 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly