“My family is off limits.” Dr. Joan Duwve backs out as ODH director, citing harassment directed at Acton

“My family is off limits.” Dr. Joan Duwve backs out as ODH director, citing harassment directed at Acton
Dr. Joan Duwve, credit South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

COLUMBUS — UPDATE @ 8:20 p.m. (Sep 11):

Dr. Joan Duwve announced the reasoning behind her sudden decision to back out of the job of Director of the Ohio Department of Health is linked to the harassment received by the former director, Dr. Amy Acton.

In a statement to The State, a paper in South Carolina, Dr. Duwve said: “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. 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.”

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“My family is off limits. I withdrew my name from consideration to protect my family from similar treatment.”
Dr. Joan Duwve

According to The State, Dr. Duwve will still be stepping down from her role as South Carolina’s Public Health Director.

UPDATE @ 8:50 p.m.: Dr. Joan Duwve backed out of the job as state health department director hours after Gov. Mike DeWine made the announcement that she would be joining his administration in October.

She cited personal reasons, DeWine said in a tweet at 8:30 p.m. announcing her decision. His administration will continue its search for a full-time state health department director, the governor said in the tweet.

Thursday afternoon at his regular coronavirus briefing, DeWine announced Duwve would be joining the state as the new Director of Health next month.

Duwve currently is director of public health for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and was ti replace Lance Himes, who has been interim director of the state health department following Dr. Amy Acton’s resignation.

DeWine said Duwve was expected to start Oct. 1.

Prior to serving SCDHEC, Duwve served Indiana Governors Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, and Eric Holcomb as the chief medical officer with the Indiana Department of Health and as medical director for the department’s Division of Public Health and Preparedness.

She’s a graduate of North Olmsted High School and of The Ohio State University. She went on to earn a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan and her Medical Doctor degree from Johns Hopkins.

Her leadership spans government and academic service. She also was an associate dean of practice for the Indiana University Richard Fairbanks School of Public Health and developed and directed the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes Center, according to DeWine.

“Dr. Duwve shares my passion for and commitment to children’s issues and many other pressing public health issues, including substance use treatment and prevention, lead paint awareness and remediation, suicide prevention, smoking cessation, and injury prevention,” DeWine said during his announcement of her hiring.