Distinguished Alumni

Melinda L. Estes

Awarded 2007

San Antonio native Melinda L. Estes, M.D., has served as president and chief executive officer of Vermont's Fletcher Allen Health Care, a 562-bed facility whose 6,000 employees provide care to nearly one million people in Vermont and northern New York, since 2003.

She also serves as a clinical professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington.

Estes received the Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University in 1974, majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry.   She received her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1978, where she graduated magna cum laude.

She completed an internship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and a residency in neurology at UTMB in Galveston.   She also was a neuropathology fellow at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and completed special training in pediatric neuropathology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Even though she was enjoying a busy career as a medical professional, she decided to enroll in business classes.   In 1995, she earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.

Prior to joining Fletcher Allen, Dr. Estes served as chief executive officer, chief medical officer, and chair of the Board of Governors of Cleveland Clinic Florida.   She was also the executive director of business development at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the executive vice president and chief of staff for the MetroHealth System, both in Ohio.

She was honored with the YWCA Career Woman of Achievement Award and was recently given the American College of Healthcare Executives-Vermont Regents' Special Recognition Award.

"Mindy has always been driven to excel in everything she does," said longtime friend and fellow Sam Houston State alumnus William Hall.   "She was a superb student at Sam Houston State and used the same organizational skills to be a leader in medical school, graduate school and her career.

"As the president and chief executive officer of Fletcher Allen Health care, she strives to improve the quality of care provided to the community," Hall said.

"After taking over the helm of Fletcher Allen in 2003 in the midst of a financial and legal crisis, Mindy orchestrated a remarkable turnaround," Hall continued.   "In Fiscal Year 2003, the organization lost $5.7 million.   Two years later, under Mindy's leadership, the hospital ended its last fiscal year with a profit.

"Under her direction, Fletcher Allen has established one of the most generous patient assistance plans and uninsured patient discount policies in the country.   The hospital also provides $3.6 million in support of community health programs," Hall said.

"During the Hurricane Katrina crisis, Fletcher Allen developed sister relationships with two hospitals in the afflicted area - West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, Louisiana and Coastal Family Health Center in Biloxi, Mississippi.   Under Mindy's leadership, the employees of Fletcher Allen raised money and collected supplies to send to these two hospitals."

Estes is married to Harold H. Morris III, M.D., and they are the parents of two daughters, Megan and Sarah.


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