The 2024 Sebok Lecture title is The Leader We Wish We All Had Is YOU and will feature Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH.
Acton, is a physician and community leader who has spent over 30 years pursuing her passion for public health and wellness. She is in private practice in Preventive Medicine and Public Health.
Whether as director of the Ohio Department of Health during early days of the COVID pandemic or as vice president of Human:Kind at the Columbus Foundation, Acton has worked to create community conditions that encourage people to flourish toward their full potential. Acton most recently used her unique ability to inspire people to live their best lives as director of a new nonprofit being created to champion RAPID 5, a movement dedicated to connecting central Ohioans to nature and one another through the region’s five major waterways and the parks and trails along them.
Acton’s widely acclaimed leadership and inspiring guidance was seen in daily news conferences as COVID exploded in the spring of 2020, earning her a Profile in COVID Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in 2021. In 2022 she was named Woman of the Year for Ohio by USA Today for the significant impact she has had. Acton has also been featured in the NY Times, Glamour, and most recently Smithsonian Magazine. Locally, Acton received The Columbus Foundation’s 2020 Spirit of Columbus Award and is a recipient of Ohio State University’s highest alumni honor - The Ohio State Alumni Medalist Award.
A native of Youngstown in northeast Ohio, Acton received her master’s degree in public health from Ohio State University and her medical degree from Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine. She completed internships in pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and residency in preventive medicine at OSU.
Acton has taught in the OSU College of Medicine and Public Health and the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She previously directed Project L.O.V.E. in Columbus, an initiative of local hospitals to Love Our Kids, Vaccinate Early. She also worked for the Columbus Foundation as a community research and grants management officer. Under her leadership as state health director, Ohio created the first ODH deputy director position focused on mobilizing federal and state resources to promote health equity, inclusion and opportunity for all Ohioans.
Acton lives in Bexley with her husband, Eric, who has coached and taught in Bexley City Schools since 1987.