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Slunecka to Retire From Avera After Almost 36 Years

Jul 22, 2018 08:20AM ● By Alyssa McGinnis

After nearly 36 years with Avera, Fred Slunecka is retiring. Slunecka has been Avera’s Chief Operating Officer since 2010. Prior to that, Slunecka served as Regional President of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center for 21 years. Earlier in his career, Slunecka served as Executive Director of St. Joseph Hospital in Mitchell, now Avera Queen of Peace Hospital.

“Fred’s long service and commitment to Avera has helped build a strong foundation that will serve our organization for many years to come,” said Bob Sutton, President and CEO of Avera Health.

During his tenure, Slunecka was instrumental in the creation of the Avera Cancer Institute, including the building of the Prairie Center. Today, the Avera Cancer Institute has locations in Sioux Falls, Yankton, Mitchell, Aberdeen and Pierre, S.D. and Marshall, Minn. Slunecka also played a lead role in the development of the Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota and creation of the Avera Behavioral Health Center—both are regional leaders in their respective areas of health care.  Additionally, he spearheaded the advancement of research within Avera. Now, the Avera Research Institute includes a robust cancer and genomic research program, human genetics research center, two spin-off companies—Alumend and Alucent, and, most recently, Avera’s pediatric and community research program. 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 free-standing emergency department in South Dakota, the launching of AveraNow, and the expansion of Avera eCARE.  

Slunecka also has been an influential leader in the community. He has served in many volunteer capacities, including the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Forward Sioux Falls, Sioux Empire United Way, and currently is serving on the Thrive board of directors.

“Avera is an amazing organization with truly dedicated people,” said Slunecka. “It has been my privilege to serve the health ministry and work with the exceptional people of Avera for these many years.”  

Slunecka’s last day in the office is July 27, 2018, but he will continue consultative work with Avera focusing on Avera’s research endeavors with Alumend and Alucent.

David Flicek, President and CEO of Avera McKennan and Chief Administrative Officer of Avera Medical Group will assume the interim COO duties in addition to his current duties. An executive search will be conducted later this year to fill the operations role.