CINCINNATI -- Greater Cincinnati would be wise not to underestimate Karen Bankston.
Bankston grew up in Youngstown, the oldest of four children raised by a single mom who had “nothing.” As a girl, her dark skin made her feel like an outsider, and she got pregnant in high school after seeking love in the wrong places.
But Bankston persevered, graduating from high school, then nursing school, then graduate school and then graduate school again.
She went from being a trauma nurse to a manager and moved to Cincinnati in 1990 with her husband, her son and her stepson for a job as the assistant administrator for patient services at what was then known as University of Cincinnati Hospital. She has held leadership positions at the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, the Drake Center and most recently at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Nursing during her nearly 30 years here.
Now she is taking on one of the region’s most complex challenges as executive director of the Child Poverty Collaborative. And Bankston, 62, said she’s ready to shake things up to get the job done.
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