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Dr. Amy Acton steps down as Ohio Department of Health Director

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Thursday that Dr. Amy Acton is stepping down as the Ohio Department of Health Director.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Dr. Amy Acton has stepped down as the Ohio Department of Health Director, Governor Mike DeWine announced on Thursday.

Acton will continue to serve as DeWine's Chief Health Advisor. Lance Himes will serve as the Ohio Department of Health's Interim Director, a role he had previously held.

A native of Youngstown, Acton took over as the Ohio Department of Health Director in February 2019 and later became one of the faces of the state's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March 2020. Acton received praise both locally and nationally for her calm demeanor and measured approach, with a New York Times video column calling her "the leader we wish we all had."

But while Acton was lauded by many, she also faced criticism from those who believed the state's response to the coronavirus, which included a stay-at-home order that lasted throughout April, was too severe. In May, the Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation that would curb Acton's ability to issue orders longer than 14 days (the bill failed to pass in the state senate), while some protesters demonstrated outside of her personal residence.

On Thursday, DeWine reiterated that any order issued by Acton came at his directive. Asked why she chose to resign, Acton said she couldn't do justice to what had become performing three jobs at once during the state's continued coronavirus response.

Asked about the backlash she's received in her role, Acton said, "that was not my focus."

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