COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - A public health official announced by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday for the role of Department of Health director told a South Carolina publication she later decided not to accept the role due to “harassment” endured by the previous director.
Joan Duwve, MD, most recently served as the director of public health at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
DeWine announced her as Ohio’s next ODH director Thursday afternoon, months after Amy Acton, MD, Ohio’s previous ODH director, stepped down.
Duwve withdrew her name from consideration Thursday evening, hours after DeWine announced her. A statement from the governor’s office said she cited personal reasons for the withdrawal.
Duwve then provided a statement to The State Friday in which she said the last 24 hours have been very difficult for her and for 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 said. "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.
“I very much appreciate Gov. DeWine’s confidence in me, I am grateful to (S.C.) Gov. (Henry) McMaster, the incredible team at the Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the people of South Carolina, who have welcomed me so warmly.”
Duwve will reportedly stay with SCDHEC in an advisory role until Oct. 1.
DeWine’s administration will continue its search for a full-time ODH Director, the statement from the governor’s office reads.
Prior to withdrawing her name Thursday, Duwve, an Ohio native, said in a statement: “I am thrilled to return to Ohio, where I grew up. Through forging strong partnerships across the state, I firmly believe that together, we can build healthier communities that in turn create greater opportunities for all Ohioans to thrive.”