DeWine’s health director pick withdraws hours after selection

    Gov. Mike DeWine is seen in a March 9 press conference announcing the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio.

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for a new health director Thursday afternoon in a release at 3:30 p.m. By 8:30 p.m., DeWine had announced she had withdrawn from consideration.

    “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.

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