Melinda L. Estes, MD
President and CEO
Saint Luke’s Health System
Melinda L. Estes, MD, has served as President and CEO of Saint Luke’s Health System since September 2011. A board-certified neurologist and neuropathologist, Dr. Estes oversees the operations of Saint Luke’s, the region’s only locally-owned, not-for-profit, faith-based, aligned health system, which includes 16 hospitals and campuses; renowned heart, neuroscience, and cancer programs; home care and hospice; behavioral health care; more than 100 physician practices and retail clinics; senior living communities, and more.
Prior to joining Saint Luke’s, Dr. Estes was president and CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vermont. Before that, she served as chief medical officer and then CEO of Cleveland Clinic Florida. She also was associate chief of staff at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. She served as executive vice president and chief of staff for the MetroHealth System in Cleveland. Prior to her administrative leadership roles, she served as a practicing neurologist and neuropathologist.
Dr. Estes earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She received her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, and completed a neurology residency there. She also completed a two-year neuropathology fellowship at Cleveland Clinic and special training in pediatric neuropathology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Estes also earned a Master of Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.
Dr. Estes is immediate past chair of the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees, following her 2020 term as Board chair, in which she served as the top elected official of the national organization that represents more than 5,000 hospitals and health systems in the U.S. While also addressing the many important ongoing issues facing American health care today, Dr. Estes helped guide COVID-19 strategies for hospitals and health systems nationwide, served as an advocate and spokesperson for the Association and its critical mission of COVID-19 prevention and mitigation, and led a task force with the crucial objective of developing a roadmap for hospitals to reach a new balance of normal following the pandemic. Under Dr. Estes’ leadership, the task force launched the comprehensive COVID-19 Pathways to Recovery resource.
Before being selected as chair-elect designate in July 2018 by the AHA Board of Trustees, Dr. Estes served on the board and executive committee of the American Hospital Association.
She has also served on the board of the Council of Teaching Hospitals of the American Association of Medical Colleges, the board of directors of the University Health System Consortium, the American Hospital Association’s Metropolitan Health Council, the Committee on Health Professionals, and the Regional Policy Board. She was chair of the board of the Vermont Association of Hospitals & Health Systems and is a member of the board of the Missouri Hospital Association.
In 2020, Modern Healthcare recognized Dr. Estes as No. 13 on its prestigious list of 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare, as well as among the 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives. Her many honors and recognitions also include election to the 2018 and 2019 Power 100, a guide to the most powerful people in the Kansas City business community. Since 2012, she has consistently been named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s lists of leaders to know, including “Women Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know” and “Physician Leaders of Hospitals and Health Systems.”