YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday night at Stambaugh Auditorium, Dr. Amy Acton will be the keynote speaker for the Centofanti Symposium. The lecture series invites speakers who address relevant social issues. We had the opportunity to speak with the former director of the Ohio Department of Health about her message of leadership.

Dr. Acton is credited for her leadership in Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she says taught her many valuable lessons.

“How do we find healing and hope moving forward? I don’t think anybody went unscathed during the pandemic, whether you’re a business owner, whether it was your own personal health,” she said.

Dr. Acton is Youngstown born and raised, growing up on the North Side and graduating from Youngstown State University.

“My whole career has been about prevention, trying to get ahead of things before we get ill and helping people actually live a healthier lifestyle,” she said.

Her message is a call to action.

“People are longing for a more humanitarian approach. People are ready to heal and ready to move on together to a better life,” she said.

Dr. Acton believes Ohio was successful during the pandemic.

“We were brutally honest, had the hard conversations and put the cards on the table,” she said.

She says it will take a community to heal.

“Using all of our society, from business to public health to hospitals, philanthropy, all of us can work together,” she said.