New Ohio health director quits before she starts

Dr. Joan Duwve
Dr. Joan Duwve

Hours after Gov. Mike DeWine named Dr. Joan Duwve as the new director of the Ohio Department of Health, he announced she won’t take the position after all.

DeWine announced Thursday night in a Tweet that Duwve “withdrew her name from consideration,” citing personal reasons.

ExploreDeWine names Joan Duwve as director of Ohio Department of Health

Duvwe is an Ohio native and serves as director of public health at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, a job she started in April. She was to begin her role in Ohio on Oct. 1.

DeWine said during his Thursday afternoon briefing that he hired Duwve, who agreed to serve as director of the Ohio Department of Health. He touted her leadership, “extensive expertise in public health” and background in academic and government roles.

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She would have replaced Dr. Amy Acton, who abruptly resigned in June after telling the governor she felt it was her time to leave. During the early stages of the pandemic she suffered criticism and even had armed protesters demonstrate outside her house because of her orders that closed down parts of the state’s economy.

At the time of her departure, Acton she still served in an advisory capacity, However, in early August she returned to the Columbus Foundation as its first Director of Kind Columbus, a special foundation initiative.

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Dr. Lance Himes serves as the interim health director, a role he has held in the past.

DeWine said Thursday night that the search would continue for a new full-time health department director.