State Watch

Head of North Carolina’s health department steps down

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Dr. Mandy Cohen, the secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, will step down from her role after five years of service to the state. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) made the announcement during a news conference on Tuesday, thanking Cohen for her ‘extraordinary leadership” during her tenure with the health department. 

“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,” Cooper said. 

“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,” Cooper added. 

Cooper appointed Cohen, an internal medicine physician, as secretary of the health department in January 2017. 

During her tenure, Cohen led the state during the COVID-19 pandemic and served as the governor’s chief adviser and strategist on beating the ongoing pandemic, according to the statement. 

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve this state at such an important moment in history,” Cohen said. “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.”

Cohen, who also worked in the Obama administration, said she does not plan to run for office.

Kody Kinsley, the chief deputy Secretary at the department and lead for the state’s COVID-19 operations, is set to replace Cohen on Jan 1. 2022, the statement said. 

According to the statement, Kinsley will the first openly gay cabinet member in the state’s government history.

Tags Barack Obama COVID-19 pandemic North Carolina Roy Cooper

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