On Wednesday, a Youngstown native and familiar face to many Ohioans - Dr. Amy Acton held a symposium at Youngstown State University.

Dr. Acton spoke lightly about her time as the state’s health director during the pandemic but mainly focused on moving forward.  

During the height of covid, she was a part of the daily case updates with Governor Mike DeWine and led the effort for mask mandates, social distancing and other precautions - but in this new norm she feels preventing illness will now come naturally to people, especially the younger generation.

“I don't think mandates are necessary once that we all know what to do,” she said. 

Dr. Acton said covid was a once in a lifetime thing - but infectious diseases will be in our world forever. 

“Every year in this country, 30,000 to 60,000 people die every year of flu. In Ohio, this was one of the saddest parts of my job as director of health, was maybe 3 to 5 children die every year,” she said.  

As we head into peak season - she's encouraging everyone to talk to their doctor about immunizations.

“The new RSV (immunization) is really a life saver,” Dr. Acton said. “I've spent many years working in children's hospitals and the number one reason kids, especially under the age of one, are hospitalized is due to RSV.”

Dr. Acton resigned as ODH director on June 11, 2020, and served as a health advisor to Governor DeWine until August of that year.

She now focuses on how to help others in the community. 

“How do we emerge from this time? How do we heal? How do we weave our communities back together?” she asked. “We have so much that is going well in our future in Ohio.”