While Dr. Amy Acton may be a polarizing figure to some in her own state, the Ohio Department of Health director is still receiving national praise.
In a video essay produced by The New York Times, Sanya Dosani and Adam Westbrook highlighted the work of Acton, calling her "the leader we wish we all had."
Over the course of the near seven-minute video, Dosani and Westbrook highlight Acton's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has made her a pseudo-celebrity in the Buckeye State. They also pinpointed what has stood out about Acton's leadership, including themes of empowerment, brutal honesty and vulnerability. The video also points to Ohio's improved outlook regarding the coronavirus as evidence of her effectiveness.
"As of the end of April, Ohio had recorded fewer than 1,000 COVID deaths. By comparison, neighboring Michigan suffered more than 3,000, even though Ohio has a bigger population and had its first case three weeks earlier," the essay reads. "Of course, other factors help explain this. But Dr. Acton convinced millions of Ohioans to stay at home. Not by ordering them, but by inspiring them."
Nevertheless, some in Ohio who want to see the state fully reopen have taken issue with Acton's actions and have even taken to protesting at her private residence. On Monday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke out against those who have targeted one of his most prominent cabinet members.
"I'm the elected official. I'm the one who ran for office. I'm the one who makes the policy decisions. The members of my cabinet, Dr. Acton included, work exceedingly, exceedingly hard, but I set the policy," DeWine said. "So when you don't like the policy, you can demonstrate against me. That is certainly fair game, but to bother the family of Dr. Acton, I don't think that's fair game. I don't think it's right. I don't think that's necessary to get your point across. You can get your point across very, very easily, any day of the week with demonstrations against what I'm doing or what policies you disagree with."