The American Hospital Association's (AHA) Board of Trustees has selected Melinda L. Estes, M.D., president and CEO of Saint Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Mo., as its chair-elect designate. Dr. Estes will be the 2020 chair of the AHA, becoming the top-elected official of the national organization that represents America's hospitals and health systems and works to advance health in America.

A board-certified neurologist and neuropathologist, Dr. Estes has served as president and CEO of Saint Luke's Health System since 2011. She oversees the operations of the system, the Kansas City region's only locally-owned, not-for-profit, faith-based, aligned health system, which includes 16 hospitals and campuses, home care and hospice, adolescent and adult behavioral health facilities, well over 100 physician practices and retail clinics, life care senior living communities, and a college of health sciences. Prior to joining Saint Luke's, Dr. Estes served as president and CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt. Before that, she served as chief medical officer and then CEO of Cleveland Clinic Florida. She also served as associate chief of staff at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland. She was executive vice president and chief of staff for the MetroHealth System in Cleveland from 1997 to 2000. Prior to her administrative leadership roles, she served as a practicing neurologist and neuropathologist.

"As a physician leader, I look forward to working with hospitals and health systems across the country as they continue to drive the transformation of care that improves the lives of patients and advances health in America," said Estes.

Currently a member of the AHA Board of Trustees' Executive Committee, Dr. Estes led an effort to strengthen physician engagement in the Association and serves on an advisory group focused on how the Association engages its members. She is a past member of the AHA Metropolitan Hospital Council, the AHA Committee on Health Professions, and the AHA's Advisory Committee on Health Care Reform.

Dr. Estes was recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of 2018's 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders. Dr. Estes has been active in many professional organizations and has served on the board of the Council of Teaching Hospitals of the American Association of Medical Colleges, and the board of directors of the University Health System Consortium. She was chair of the board of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and is a member of the board of the Missouri Hospital Association.

She earned a Bachelor of Science from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She received her medical degree from and completed her neurology residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She was a neuropathology fellow at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and completed special training in pediatric neuropathology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She earned a Master of Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in 1995.