CEO Dr. Melinda Estes: Listening to Employees at Saint Luke's Health System

Melinda Estes, MD, MBA, has served as president and CEO of Saint Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Mo., since September 2011.

Prior to joining Saint Luke's, Dr. Estes served as president and CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt., for about eight years. While there, she led the system to financial health, expanded services and implemented a strategic planning process. She has also served as CEO of Cleveland Clinic.

At Saint Luke's, Dr. Estes has helped plan the implementation of a new electronic medical record system and pushed to build a new data warehouse. She also has led the Focus 2015 project, a system-wide initiative to achieve a $100 million improvement through revenue enhancements and becoming more efficient.  

Dr. Estes is a board-certified neurologist and neuropathologist and has a master's degree in business administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She has said that her time as a practicing physician helped prepare her to be an administrative leader. "What makes a good physician, as well as a good leader, is good listening," she told Becker's Hospital Review in a previous interview. "Listening to what patients are telling you or rhythms of an organization and what employees are telling you — those are two sides of the same skill."

Dr. Estes has a research background and has published more than 100 scientific research papers as well as many book chapters, book and article reviews and abstracts.

If you have additional information or updates for this profile, or would like to recommend a leader to be profiled in the future, please contact Lindsey Dunn, editor in chief, Becker's Hospital Review at

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