Cohen to step down as NCDHHS secretary, Gov. Cooper selects Wilmington native to lead department

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen during news conference on Nov. 12

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. will be stepping down from the agency.

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

Kkinsley Fall 2020

Kody Kinsley (Photo: NCDHHS)

“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.”

Secretary Cohen, an internal medicine physician, was appointed by Governor Cooper in January of 2017 and has served as Secretary of DHHS leading the state during some of the most challenging times in North Carolina history. She has led the state’s response to COVID-19 and served as Governor Cooper’s chief advisor and strategist during the pandemic.

“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 plans to spend more time with her family while exploring new opportunities to carry on her work improving the health and well-being of communities.

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

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.

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

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