The department was also subject of a recent scathing audit by nonprofit Public Works. The audit recommended sweeping changes, with the potential to increase efficiency and save about $284 million over five years.
At this time last year, Bowling was the dean of the School of Health Sciences at Mountain State University. She was chosen for the spot in February 2011 and had worked in the past in the school's nursing department.
The university was forced to close after losing its accreditation last summer. It failed to make improvements to the liking of the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting body, and shuttered at the end of 2012.
The School of Health Sciences' programs in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, physical therapy and others were some of the first to shutter at the Beckley-based school.
The University of Charleston helped students transition from MSU before eventually taking over its Beckley and Martinsburg campuses. Bowling helped with that transition, according to The Associated Press.
Bowling served eight years as president and chief executive officer of Raleigh General Hospital. She resigned for personal reasons in 2010.
In 2009, she was also elected chairwoman of the West Virginia Hospital Association.
The Tomblin press release did not mention her time with Mountain State or Raleigh General. It states she "served in a number of capacities throughout her career, ranging from healthcare administrator to nurse practitioner."
Bowling, a Wyoming County native, is the first in her family to graduate from college, according to the news release. She received an associate's degree in nursing from Bluefield State College in 1977, a bachelor's degree in nursing from West Virginia University in 1983 and a master's degree in primary health care/nursing from WVU in 1990.
She is working on a Ph.D. in education from Capella University, a for-profit online school. Bowling still lives in Beckley, according to the press release.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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