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Government and Politics

Pro-choice advocates question why Ohio's new health chief is not a doctor
Gov. John Kasich says the new director of the Ohio Department of Health does not need medical experience

Karen Kasler
Some Pro-choice advocates question what qualifies the Rick Hodges, head of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, to lead the Ohio Department of Health.
Courtesy of Ohio Department of Transportation
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For the first time in 16 years, the director of the Ohio Department of Health won’t be a doctor. Former state lawmaker Rick Hodges is currently the executive director of the Turnpike Commission. That appointment is causing some controversy.


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Pro-choice advocates have been critical of the shutdown of abortion clinics under Gov. John Kasich. Jamie Miracle with NARAL Pro Choice Ohio says the appointment of a political operative with only six years of experience in the health industry instead of a doctor is a problem.

“Is it because Kasich couldn’t find a trained medical professional willing to continue this witch hunt that he has started against abortion providers in Ohio?” Miracle says.

But Mike Gonidakis with Ohio Right to Life says for the first time, a medical director has been appointed at ODH to work alongside the agency director.

The Ohio Hospital Association has put out a statement of support for Hodges and Kasich’s spokesman dismissed the concerns as partisan, and said that Hodges is qualified or he would never have been appointed.

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