Meet the Keynote Speaker

November 11, 2020

Anti-Racist & Community Engagement
Virtual Conference 2021

Professor, Emerita | College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati
President/CEO | KDB and Associates Consulting Service LLC

Inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, Karen Bankston, Ph.D., M.S.N., FACHE, FAAN is a Professor Emerita and leadership consultant, and former Associate Dean for Clinical Practice, Partnership and Community Engagement of the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati. Also, a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives, she is the president and CEO of KDB and Associates Consulting Service, a company she founded after completing 5 years as the senior vice president/CEO of Drake Center, Inc., part of UC Health. Dr. Bankston previously served as the senior vice president of external affairs for the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati (now known as UC Health) responsible for local, state, and federal government relations, community relations, marketing, and public relations. She also briefly served as the Executive Director of the Child Poverty Collaborative (CPC), Cincinnati. The CPC was a collective impact organization designed to lead the community’s planning and implementation of efforts to ameliorate poverty by providing guidance on public policy, employment, housing, transportation, education, and health care concerns. Dr. Bankston is known for collaborating and engaging others for the benefit of changing culture, organizations, and communities to meet individual and group needs.

Earlier in her career, she held positions as vice president of operations/chief operating officer and vice president for patient care/chief nursing officer at University Hospital in Cincinnati. While also serving in the capacity of associate dean of clinical services and clinical assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and Health. She has held numerous nursing and nurse manager positions at Western Reserve Care System in Youngstown, Ohio.

She is currently a member of the boards of the Live Well Collaborative (chair), the Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio, Beyond Civility, and The Children’s Home. She is a member of the University of Cincinnati Cancer Scientific Advisory Council and its Center for Translational Research. In the past she served on the boards of the United Way of Greater of Cincinnati, the Urban League of Southwest Ohio, Legal Aid of Southwest Ohio, the Society of St. DePaul, and the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, to name a few.

She played a key role in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Agenda 360, Diverse by Design Committee, having served as its first chair. As an advocate, she played a role in getting state legislation changed for distribution of medication for the charitable pharmacy established by St. Vincent DePaul, and was a member of its founding board. She is the founding chair and former member of the board of the Center for Closing the Health Gap and was responsible for the formation of this organization.

She has received numerous awards and honors, including:  2017 Cincinnati Woman of the Year; American Nurses’ Association Mary Eliza Mahoney Award 2016, University of Cincinnati Distinguished Alumni Award 2016, Kent State University Professional Achievement Alumni Award 2016,  UC Kautz Leadership Alumni Award 2013, United Way James A. Hall Diversity Leadership Award 2010, University of Cincinnati Linda Bates Parker Legacy Award 2010, 2007 Corporate Woman of the Year–USA Regional Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce; 2001 YWCA Career Woman of Achievement Award; Business Courier Health Care Hero; Cincinnati Human Relations Pope Leadership Award; Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction Award, and Cincinnati YMCA Black Achiever. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Delta XI, International Nursing Honor Society, the Queen City (OH) Chapter of the Links, Inc., and the Cincinnati Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. She is a graduate of Leadership Cincinnati Class XXVII.

Dr. Bankston earned an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree from Youngstown State University, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Kent State University, and a doctoral degree (PhD) from the University of Cincinnati with a focus on administration and organizational behavior.


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