After announcing a new record in COVID-19 cases and calling this the most dangerous stage of the pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) named a new leadership team at the Ohio Department of Health, including Stephanie McCloud as the new director.
It's been nearly five months since Dr. Amy Acton stepped down as director of the Ohio Department of Health. Now DeWine has named McCloud, who had been serving as Bureau of Workers Compensation Administrator/CEO, to take over the role.
McCloud is not a doctor, but an attorney and veteran executive. DeWine says McCloud will be in charge of operations and administration at the department, while Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff will take over as the state's chief medical officer.
"We need to have a key physician though at the department of health who has a direct line to me and someone who I can rely on every single day," DeWine said shortly before naming Vanderhoff to the position.
This is the second time DeWine has named a new health department director since Acton's departure in June. DeWine announced in September that Dr. Joan Duwve would fill the role, but Duwve retracted her acceptance of the position just six hours later.
News outlets in South Carolina, where Duwve was currently working, reported that Duwve was concerned about the type of harassment Acton experienced during her time as director. Critics of the pandemic-related health orders organized protests outside of the Ohio Statehouse and even outside of Acton's home.
DeWine was asked if he thought McCloud would face the same kind of criticism that Acton faced.
"Sure. I can guarantee you that the criticism is not going to stop. This is part of her life now and part of, you know, what we have to deal with. But, she's up to the challenge," DeWine said.
The state's interim health director, Lance Himes, will stay on to oversee the distribution and coordination of the vaccine once it's available.