Kansas welcomes new Deputy State Health Officer after she turned down Ohio role for reports of harassment

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Kansas has welcomed a new Deputy State Health Officer who turned down a role with the State of Ohio after she learned the previous Health Director’s family was harassed.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says it has named Dr. Joan Duwve as the new Deputy State Health Officer.

“Dr. Duwve is a public health expert and we are very fortunate to have her in Kansas,” said Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary. “Her previous experiences in Indiana and South Carolina will assist us in all public health matters.”

According to the KDHE, Dr. Duwve has served as a Public Health Consultant for it since November 2020. It said she has led the state COVID-19 testing program and helped with health equity initiatives. Before her consultant role, it said she served as Director of Public for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Associate Dean of Practice for the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis and Chief Medical Officer for the Indiana Department of Health. Before her public health role, it said she practiced family medicine in Indiana.

The KDHE said Dr. Duwve earned a Medical Doctor Degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Michigan.

“I am so honored to have this opportunity to serve Kansans and work with Dr. Lee Norman and the incredibly talented staff at KDHE on all things COVID and beyond!” Dr. Duwve said.

Reports from WTVG in Toledo, Ohio, show that Dr. Duwve was appointed as the Ohio Health Director in September of 2020, but withdrew her name when she learned the previous director’s family was harassed.

“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,” said Dr. Duwve. “I very much appreciate Gov. DeWine’s confidence in me. I am grateful to Gov. McMaster, the incredible team at the Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the people of South Carolina, who have welcomed me so warmly.”

According to the Department, Dr. Duwve started the role on Monday, July 19.

Copyright 2021 WIBW. All rights reserved.

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