Dr. Mandy Cohen stepping down as Secretary of N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

Gov. Cooper appointed Kody Kinsley, current NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Health and lead for COVID operations, to succeed Dr. Cohen beginning January 1
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 10:38 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2021 at 1:45 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen is stepping down from her position with the state, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.

According to the sources, Cohen met with staff Tuesday morning to announce she is leaving.

Cooper appointed Kody Kinsley, current NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Health and lead for COVID operations, to succeed Dr. Cohen beginning January 1.

“Mandy Cohen has shown extraordinary leadership during her tenure and she has worked every day during this pandemic to help keep North Carolinians healthy and safe,” said Governor Cooper. “We are stronger because of her efforts and I am enormously grateful for her service. She has built a remarkable team of talented people including Kody Kinsley, and I know he will continue the strong legacy of competence, effectiveness and efficiency as he takes over as Secretary.”

Dr. Cohen was appointed the role of Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services by Gov. Roy Cooper in January 2017.

She has been one of the main leaders in North Carolina’s fight against COVID-19, and the increase of COVID-19 vaccinations across the state.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve this state at such an important moment in history,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen. “I am grateful for Governor Cooper’s leadership, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished to improve the health and well-being of the state over the last five years. There is much work still to do, and I am so pleased the Governor selected Kody Kinsley to take the baton to run the next leg of this race.”

Dr. Cohen led the COVID-19 response for the state of North Carolina.

Her team at NCDHHS oversees the operational response – including hospital surge capacity, testing capacity, tracing capacity and PPE availability – in addition to constructing the advanced data infrastructure necessary to collect and analyze key data points to drive decision making.

“Secretary Cohen’s leadership throughout her tenure at the DHHS has helped our state navigate turbulent times,” State Senate Leader Phil Berger said. “She made herself available to legislators to answer questions and kept us informed about issues facing the department. She was also instrumental in successfully implementing Medicaid transformation. I want to thank her for her service to the state and wish her well in her future endeavors.”

In February 2019, Modern Healthcare named Dr. Cohen as one of the Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare. In September of 2020, Secretary Cohen was awarded the Leadership in Public Health Practice Award from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health for her strong leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic response, including her use of data and ability to communicate with empathy, compassion, and transparency.

Dr. Cohen graduated from Cornell University and received her medical degree from Yale School of Medicine and a Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Cohen plans to spend more time with her family while exploring new opportunities.

Kody H. Kinsley, a native of Wilmington, NC, currently serves as the Chief Deputy Secretary for Health at NCDHHS and Operations Lead for NC’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

During his nearly four years of service at NCDHHS, Kinsley has overseen the state’s response to the Opioid Epidemic; increased investments in services and supports for individuals with behavioral health needs and developmental disabilities; created strategic interventions to transition justice-involved populations to care; and has been a driving force behind the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response, including North Carolina’s vaccine distribution efforts.

Kinsley will be the first openly gay cabinet Secretary in North Carolina history.

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