Jun 1, 2023 - Health

Biden taps Mandy Cohen to lead CDC

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Mandy Cohen, the former head of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, is expected to become the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two sources familiar with the move confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Cohen, a three-time Ivy League graduate, was the face of Gov. Roy Cooper's administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading more than 100 press conferences to guide the state through weekly updates on the virus.

  • That response, she said in a speech last month, increased public confidence in the state's health information and services.
  • "Trust was not built at the national level, but I know trust was built in North Carolina," Cohen said.

The big picture: The next CDC director, the Post writes, will face the enormous task of reforming the department so it can more adequately respond to the next pandemic.

  • They'll also be responsible for communicating the latest science to Americans at a moment when trust in government is declining.

Details: Before taking the reins of NCDHHS in 2017, Cohen worked as chief operating officer and chief of staff at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Obama administration.

  • The News & Observer named her the 2020 Tar Heel of the Year.
  • She left NCDHHS in late 2021, and — before NC Attorney General Josh Stein launched his 2024 campaign — her name was frequently mentioned in North Carolina political circles as a possible Democratic candidate for governor.

What's next: Cohen would replace current CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who will step down June 30.

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