COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine announced at his press conference Thursday that Dr. Amy Acton has stepped down from her position as Ohio Department of Health Director, effective immediately.

"While the decisions were always mine, her counsel was superb. I will always believe and know that many lives were saved because of her wise advice," DeWine said.

Dr. Acton says it has been the honor of her career, but as we enter this new phase of living with the virus, it’s time for her to move on.

“This is something that I’ve been struggling with over the last couple months actually in my role, and my answer was get up at 4 a.m. to do some reading and catch up and go to bed way way way late into the night. So, it’s something I’ve known wasn’t a sustainable thing given a pandemic,” Acton said 

She has agreed to stay on as DeWine's chief health advisor as a way to continue serving the people of Ohio and she will continue to remain focused on COVID-19 and health issues.

“I really want to empower the team back at ODH to keep doing that work and I'm going to keep advising and working with them. But what the governor is doing to protect the health of all Ohioans, I really want to give that my complete attention,” she said. 

Dr. Acton was appointed director by DeWine in February 2019.  She has received widespread praise for her calm and measured approach, but has also been the recipient of criticism by those who believed the state's response to coronavirus was too severe.

Former Kasich interim health director Lnce Himes will step up to fill the position.