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The Head of Ohio's Department of Health Steps Down

photo of Rick Hodges
Ohio Department of Health

The director of the Ohio Department of Health is resigning.


Rick Hodges has led the state health Department since 2014, when he replaced Dr. Ted Wymyslo.

Hodges was seen as a controversial choice, since his most recent position was director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, but Gov. John Kasich noted his experience in heading up health-related groups. And then, a year into the job, Hodges was named a defendant in a case that went on to the U.S. Supreme Court and legalized same-sex marriage.

Kasich said in a statement that Hodges is leaving for opportunities outside the administration, and that he appreciates his service and wishes him and his family well. Legal Counsel Lance Himes, who was interim director before Hodges was appointed, will fill that role again.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.