COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ever since the resignation of Dr. Amy Acton, former Ohio Health Director, in June, Ohio and Gov. Mike DeWine have worked diligently to fill her role as Lance Himes took her place as interim health director.
On Thursday, Sept. 10, it appeared that Gov. Mike DeWine had found his next health director, only for the appointment to fall apart within hours of the announcement.
During his regular briefing on Thursday, Gov. DeWine announced that Joan Duwve, M.D., MPH, would become Ohio’s next Health Director.
“This unprecedented time calls for true leadership to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to save lives,” Gov. DeWine said via a press release. “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.”
Also in the release, Dr. Duwve said that she was thrilled to return to Ohio where she grew up.
The announcement came Thursday afternoon, but just hours later, another communication from the Governor’s office indicated that things had fallen through entirely.
“This evening, Dr. Joan Duwve withdrew her name from consideration for the position of Director of the Ohio Department of Health, citing personal reasons,” the release said. “The Governor’s administration will continue its search for a full-time Director of the Ohio Department of Health.”
In a statement to South Carolina newspaper The State, Dr. Duwve revealed that she declined the position due to potential harassment aimed at her and her family.
“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,” she told The State. “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.”
Dr. Duwve is a graduate of North Olmsted High School and attended undergraduate school at The Ohio State University, later receiving a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan and her Medical Doctor Degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles