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NC's COVID-19 response leader, DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen stepping down


North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen will be stepping down after five years of services, according to a news release. Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Kody Kinsley, the current NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Health to take her place, beginning Jan. 1.

Cohen was appointed by Gov. Cooper in 2017 and lead the state’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic so far. Cooper says in the release that Cohen plans to spend more time with her family and explore new opportunities to continue improving the health and well-being of communities.

In 2020, Cohen received the Leadership in Public Health Practice Award from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and was named Tar Heel of the Year by the Raleigh News and Observer. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2021.

Kinsley, from Wilmington, has been Operations Lead for the state’s COVID-19 response, has overseen response to the opioid epidemic and increased investments in services for behavioral health needs during his four years at NCDHHS.

Kinsley will be the first openly gay cabinet secretary in state history, according to the release.

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