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Gov. DeWine announces new Director, Chief Medical Officer for Ohio Dept. of Health

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 15:59:17-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine announced two new additions to the Ohio Department of Health on Thursday: Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff has accepted the position of Chief Medical Officer and Stephanie McCloud is the new ODH Director.

McCloud was previously appointed by DeWine as the Director of the Ohio Bureau of Workforce and Compensation, an agency of over 1,800 people and over $28 billion in assets where she was responsible for the health and safety of a workforce of 5.7 million people, DeWine said.

“Stephanie McCloud understands how state government operates, DeWine said. “And she knows how to get things done. She's a collaborator. She has the management and administrative expertise we need in these challenging times.”

The governor said that McCloud has considerable experience in the area of mental health and addiction treatment, one of the top three priority health concerns in Ohio’s Health Improvement Plan.

McCloud also led the process of sending out two rounds of face masks to employers throughout the state, DeWine said. She sent team members to support other state agencies during the pandemic, including the Department of Jobs and Family Services, the Department of Aging, and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Later in the news conference, McCloud joined the governor via teleconference to introduce herself and thank DeWine for the honor of serving the people of Ohio as the ODH director.

“Many times during this pandemic, governor, you have asked us all to step up where we can and I am so honored to be able to help,” McCloud said. “I look forward to joining the pandemic team already on the field, they would say folks are working tirelessly, and I look forward to helping them in any way that I can. There are many challenges. There is no doubt we are heading into a tough chapter. But as the governor has said, we are all in this together, and we will beat this virus by working together. I look forward to accepting those challenges. And hopefully, helping all Ohioans.”

“She is forward-thinking, forward-looking,” DeWine said. “She knows how to bring people together. She knows how to bring about consensus. She just gets the job done every single day. She'll be leading and driving our response moving forward with the full weight of the rest of the ODH leadership team behind her.”

DeWine also announced the appointment of Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff to the position of ODH’s Chief Medical Officer. For more than a decade, he has served as a Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at the ODH.

“Having a physician with medical and scientific expertise at our department is vital,” DeWine said. “We do have doctors, and we rely on doctors outside and continue to rely on them outside of the Department of Health.”

The role of Chief Medical Officer has a direct link to the governor and is someone that DeWine said, “I can rely on every single day, also someone who can reach out to other medical professionals around the country and gather the best information that is available, someone who can be a doctor for all Ohioans.”

Lance Himes, who had been serving as the interim ODH Director after Dr. Amy Acton left the position earlier this year, will be the new ODH Senior Deputy, DeWine said. Himes will lead the coordination of work to get a COVID-19 vaccine out to citizens when it is available and will continue to work directly with Ohio’s local health commissioners.

“I've said before that this is like a sporting event — football game, basketball game,” DeWine said. “And we're sort at half-time. There's no pause in the action. But we're sort of halfway through. We're preparing to get a vaccine out. We're also dealing with the most serious surge that we've seen thus far in the virus. So now's the time to bring in reinforcements to the team to go on the offense, and put more players frankly out on the field, especially as we prepare for the arrival and distribution of the vaccine. Now's the time the game where we need to surge in the back on the field and everything we can to defeat our opponent will win this fight. And we will win it together.”