MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – New leadership was announced at a local hospital. Karen Bowling, executive vice president of government affairs for the West Virginia University Health System and president and CEO of WVU Medicine’s Braxton County Memorial Hospital and Summersville Regional Medical Center, will become president and CEO of Princeton Community Hospital (PCH) on July 6.

“You would be hard pressed to find someone as dedicated to the people of West Virginia, especially those in the southern part of the state, as Karen Bowling. Her passion is contagious and her efforts to improve patients’ access to healthcare are tireless,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the WVU Health System, said. “Karen has done a wonderful job leading Braxton County Memorial Hospital and Summersville Regional Medical Center, and I am fully confident that she will do the same at Princeton Community Hospital.”

PCH, which entered into a management agreement and clinical affiliation with WVU Hospitals in December, is a fully accredited 203-bed acute care multispecialty medical facility serving a 10-county region in southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. It offers advanced medical technologies and procedures, from state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging to minimally invasive surgery. In addition, PCH offers behavior health services at The Behavioral Healthcare Pavilion of the Virginias, a 64-bed psychiatric hospital in Bluefield, and provides 24-hour emergency care at PCH Bluefield (formerly Bluefield Regional Medical Center).

Prior to joining WVU Medicine in 2017, Bowling served as cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and shepherded an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Before that, she held a variety of direct care and leadership positions in healthcare and education.

Her career started as an emergency room nurse in a small rural hospital in Wyoming County and then led her to the Wyoming County Board of Education to develop its School Health Program. In 1990, she became the CEO of Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley.

Bowling has served in various leadership roles, including as chair, of the West Virginia Hospital Association. She was also a board member of several organizations, including the Raleigh County Community Action Association, the YMCA of Beckley, and the Beckley Health Right Clinic and served as chair of the Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce.

Bowling holds an associate’s degree in nursing from Bluefield State College and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from WVU. She also completed a master’s degree in higher education from Capella University.

“As a native of Wyoming County, ensuring that the people of southern West Virginia have access to the care they need holds a special place in my heart,” Bowling said. “I am thrilled to work with the staff of PCH and to do whatever I can to ensure that the people of this region can get high quality healthcare right here at home.”