Board of Directors
Fred Slunecka recently retired after a 36-year career with Avera. He was Avera Health’s chief operating officer from 2010 to 2018, and prior to that, led Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center as its regional president through 21 years of growth. Under his leadership at Avera McKennan, Avera significantly grew its market presence in the Sioux Falls region adding community hospitals, primary and specialty clinics, long-term care facilities, hospice and home medical equipment outlets. Earlier in his career, Fred served as executive director of St. Joseph Hospital in Mitchell, now Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, and held health care leadership positions in Norfolk, Virginia; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Sioux City, Iowa. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Slunecka played a significant role in the creation of the Avera Cancer Institute, including the building of the Prairie Center. Today the Avera Cancer Institute has locations in all six Avera regions. He was instrumental in developing the state’s first kidney transplant program, the region’s only pancreas and liver transplant programs, and the region’s only bone marrow transplant program. Slunecka also took a lead role in the development of the Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota and creation of the Avera Behavioral Health Center. Additionally, he spearheaded the advancement of research within Avera. Now, the Avera Research Institute includes cancer and genomic research, human genetics research, Alumend, Alucent, and most recently pediatric and community research.
Over the past few years, Slunecka has been a tireless proponent of making health care more affordable and accessible for patients. His vision led to the first freestanding emergency department in South Dakota, the launching of AveraNow virtual visits, and the expansion of Avera eCARE.
Slunecka also has been an influential leader in the community, including past chairmanship of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and Forward Sioux Falls, and was chair of the 2012 Sioux Empire United Way campaign. Currently, he also serves on the Thrive board of directors.