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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Former director of the Ohio Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton is leaving the Columbus Foundation to consider a run for U.S. Senate.

Acton, who appeared next to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine during countless news conferences in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, stepped down as state health director on June 11. She then transitioned to the role of medical advisor to the governor before returning to the Columbus Foundation, a nonprofit.

There’s been speculation over the last few weeks that Acton would pursue a U.S. Senate seat after Sen. Rob Portman announced he would not seek reelection.

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton holds up a mask as she gives an update at MetroHealth Medical Center Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Cleveland, on the state’s preparedness and education efforts to limit the potential spread of a new virus which caused a disease called COVID-19. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

“Many Ohioans have shared with me their concerns and the daily challenges they face. They have expressed a need for a new approach that can help them, and their communities thrive. I am humbled by the outpouring of interest and support. For that reason, I am stepping down from my role at The Columbus Foundation in order to carefully consider how I can best be of service at this crucial time,” Acton said in a statement on Thursday.

“Whatever my decision, I know with absolute certainty I won’t stop working to provide healing and hope to all Ohioans.”

DeWine praised Acton for her calm demeanor and she was featured in a New York Times opinion video called “The Leader We All Wish We Had.” But she faced a great deal of criticism for health orders that closed businesses in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. It culminated with lawsuits and protests outside her home.

Acton, who has been open about overcoming abuse and homelessness, is a licensed physician with more than 30 years of experience in community service and health care policy.