West Virginia Department of
Health and Human Resources
Karen L. Bowling was appointed Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources on July 1, 2013.
Prior to taking the helm of one of the state’s largest agencies, Bowling held a variety of direct care and leadership positions in the health care and education arena. Bowling began her career as an emergency room nurse in a small rural hospital in Wyoming County. She continued to work in acute care and hospital supervision until 1983, when she joined the Wyoming County Board of Education to develop the School Health Program.
Bowling served in a number of capacities in both the hospital setting and higher education until 1990 when she began working in hospital administration. In 2001, Bowling became the CEO of Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, WV.
She has served in various leadership roles at the West Virginia Hospital Association, including being the Chairperson. She was a board member of many not-for-profit organizations, which included the Raleigh County Community Action Association, YMCA of Beckley, and the Beckley Healthright Clinic. In addition, Bowling served as the past Chairperson of the Beckley Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce.
Bowling is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Organizations and a certified Family Nurse Practitioner.
A native of Mullins, WV, Bowling graduated from Bluefield State College with an Associate Degree in Nursing in 1977. She continued her education at West Virginia University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1983 and a Master of Science in Primary Healthcare/Nursing in 1990.
Bowling has two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter.