Rio Grande County hires new Public Health Director


RIO GRANDE COUNTY- After several weeks of searching and interviewing potential candidates, the Rio Grande County Commissioners have chosen a new Public Health Director. According to reports coming from the board, the new candidate has traveled a long way to be here and comes with an extensive background that will help him perform his job to the benefit of the county.

Dr. Kolawole Bankole was born and raised in Nigeria, Africa and has an extensive background in medicine and the public health organization. Dr. Bankole is eager to begin his new position here in Rio Grande County having chosen to move here to escape the Florida heat where he served as a public health official for the past several years.

Dr. Bankole has a background in modern medicine beginning with his study of postgraduate medicine at Langos University Teaching Hospital in Langos, Nigeria. He also spent a considerable amount of his education receiving a Master of Business Administration and Health Policy and Management degrees while studying medicine and surgery at the University of Maine.

Bankole moved to the United States in 2001, just months before the 911 attacks and was able to become a U.S. citizen regardless of the changes that were made during those trying years. He spent most of his first years earning his education through the University of Maine before moving to southern Florida to serve as a public health official.

It was during this time that he learned that he preferred the cooler temperatures of the northern United States and when the opportunity arose for him to apply for the Rio Grande County Public Health position, he jumped at the chance.

“I want to raise my family here and we love to enjoy the great outdoors,” said Bankole.

In addition to his background, Bankole stated that he will be utilizing his education to help strengthen the Public Health Department and to ensure that the department runs smoothly. He stated, “The most important thing right away is to get to know the staff, get to know the stakeholders, talk with people and public health groups as well as get to know the community. This is about identifying employee needs, accountability and forming partnerships. You cannot function with only the brain of a department. You must also care for the heart.”

Dr. Bankole will be starting with the county in the upcoming weeks after completing his move.

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