Staff

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Karen Bankston

Executive Director

With over 40 years in healthcare, Karen Bankston, Ph.D., MSN, FACHE, is the Executive Director of the Child Poverty Collaborative, a collective impact organization designed to lead the community’s planning and implementation of efforts to eliminate poverty by providing guidance on public policy, employment, housing, transportation, education and healthcare concerns. Previously she held the role of Associate Dean for Clinical Practice, Partnership, and Community Engagement of the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati. In that role, she was responsible for developing and maintaining partnerships with nursing and other disciplines while engaging in community-based research focused on student and parental success in the urban core. Additionally, she is the president and CEO of KDB and Associates Consulting Service, LLC, a company she founded after completing five years as the senior vice president/CEO of Drake Center, Inc., part of UC Health. She also holds an adjunct professorship in the doctoral program at the UC College of Nursing. Dr. Bankston previously served as the VP/COO and VP/CNO of University of Cincinnati Medical Center and as the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati where she was responsible for local, state and federal government relations, community relations, marketing, and public relations. She serves on numerous boards and has won multiple awards for her leadership and caring. She is married to John with whom she has three adult sons, nine grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and a dog named Blue. You can read more about Dr. Bankston's vision for the CPC's work in the Cincinnati Enquirer.


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Ashlee Young

Program Director

Ashlee Young is the Program Director for the Child Poverty Collaborative. In this role, she leads efforts around community engagement, strategy development, and evaluation. Ashlee holds a Master of Public Health with a concentration in health behavior/ health promotion and health education from Wright State University and a bachelor's degree in human nutrition from The Ohio State University. Ashlee has been working in the public health space for many years and enjoys knowing she is helping to create healthier environments for people to thrive. Prior to joining the CPC, she was an evaluation officer at Interact for Health. In that role, she was responsible for designing, implementing, and monitoring evaluation strategies and plans for grant-making portfolios and catalyst activities.

Ashlee also has worked as a community health program coordinator at the Center for Closing the Health Gap and as a health educator at Hamilton County Public Health where she worked on the WeTHRIVE! Initiative. Ashlee’s commitment to service can been seen in her various leadership roles in the community. She currently serves on boards of Design Impact and Hamilton County Mental Health and Service Recovery. Ashlee enjoys volunteering in the community and spending time with her daughter, Nila.


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Julia Elmer

Operations Director

Julia oversees our Employer Roundtable, Public Policy Working Group, internship program, and team operations. She is an AICP-certified urban planner with a diverse background that has prepared her to understand poverty from personal, professional, and academic perspectives. She brings 20 years of global experience in the corporate, non-profit, and education sectors to this role. Her insatiable curiosity has led her to pursue formal studies in a variety of disciplines. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in gender studies (American University), a Master of Arts degree in education and linguistics (American University), a Master of Business Administration degree (University of South Carolina and the University of Economics of Vienna), a Master of Public Health degree (University of Sydney), a Master of City and Regional Planning degree (The Ohio State University), and a doctorate in City and Regional Planning (The Ohio State University). Julia is multilingual and enjoys travelling to learn all she can about other cultures and languages. Her favorite thing about Hamilton County is our public library system.


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Simone Green

Senior Administrative Assistant

Simone Green is the Senior Administrative Assistant for the Child Poverty Collaborative. She manages the administrative needs of the CPC team and is the primary contact for external inquiries and schedule requests. Simone has over 10 years of administrative experience working in various industries including local government and nonprofit organizations. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. Before moving to Cincinnati and settling in Bond Hill at age 10, She lived in four different states and outside of the U.S. Simone currently lives in CUF with her husband Josh and two cats, Milhouse and Charlie.