by Ohio Capital Journal Staff and Loveland Magazine

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine named his choice for a new health director Thursday afternoon in a release at 3:30 PM. By 8:30 PM, DeWine had announced she had withdrawn from consideration.

Joan Duwve (photo by Public Health for the South Carolina)

“This evening, Dr. Joan Duwve withdrew her name from consideration for the position of Director of the Ohio Department of Health, citing personal reasons,” a news release Thursday evening announced. “The Governor’s administration will continue its search for a full-time Director of the Ohio Department of Health.”

DeWine had selected Duwve to fill the position after the resignation of Dr. Amy Acton in June. Acton became a household name in Ohio this past spring, appearing regularly with DeWine during his press conferences. While Acton enjoyed significant support and popularity, she was also the focus of intense criticism, including from Statehouse lawmakers. Protesters of coronavirus-related Ohio Department of Health orders repeatedly demonstrated outside her Bexley home.

Lance Himes (photo by ODH)

Since Acton’s resignation, the department has been helmed in the interim by Lance Himes.

In making the announcing of Duwve’s appointment DeWine said, “This unprecedented time calls for true leadership to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to save lives.” DeWine continued, “We welcome Dr. Duwve to our team. Her clinical experience and leadership to strengthen public health infrastructure will help guide Ohio as we navigate through this pandemic and modernize Ohio’s public health system.”

In the press release from Dewine, Dr. Duwve is quoted: “I am thrilled to return to Ohio, where I grew up. Through forging strong partnerships across the state, I firmly believe that together, we can build healthier communities that in turn create greater opportunities for all Ohioans to thrive.”

Duwve was named the new Director of Public Health for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC) last April.

The Columbus Dispatch reports “that the severe criticism and harassment of former Health Director Dr. Amy Acton caused her appointed successor to quit just a few hours after she was introduced by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.”

“In conversations preparing for the transition to the Ohio Department of Health, I was informed that the former director’s family had faced harassment from the public,” Dr. Joan Duwve said in a statement Friday afternoon.

“While I have dedicated my life to improving public health, my first commitment is to my family. I am a public figure. My family is off-limits. I withdrew my name from consideration to protect my family from similar treatment.”