Kody Kinsley to lead NCDHHS as first openly gay cabinet secretary in N.C. history

This comes after Dr. Mandy Cohen resigned
Dr. Mandy Cohen stepping down as Secretary of N.C. Department of Health and Human Services
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 11:51 AM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper appointed a new Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Kody Kinsley, a North Carolina native, will succeed Dr. Mandy Cohen on January 1, 2022. Kinsley is also the first openly gay cabinet Secretary in North Carolina history.

This comes after Dr. Cohen resigned as Secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Cohen was appointed by Cooper for the position in January 2017.

On Tuesday, Gov. Cooper was joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force to share the update at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh.

Kinsley’s biggest job will be pushing North Carolina past the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 18,000 people in the state.

“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.”

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, according to a statement from Gov. Cooper’s office.

Kinsley returned home to North Carolina after serving as the presidentially-appointed Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of the Treasury where he led operations and finances for the cabinet-level agency, a position he held during both the Obama and Trump Administrations.

He has also held roles at the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Kinsley is a recipient of SEANC’s Unsung Hero Award, the Alexander Hamilton Award, and is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brevard College in Brevard, NC and a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School at the University of California at Berkeley.

“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.”

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