Secretary Mandy Cohen to step down as DHHS Secretary, Governor Cooper selects current DHHS Deputy Secretary to lead department
Governor Roy Cooper announced today that North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. will be stepping down from the agency after 5 years of service to the state. Governor Cooper has appointed Kody Kinsley, current NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Health and lead for COVID operations, to succeed her beginning January 1st.
“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 on beating 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.”
Under Dr. Cohen’s leadership, North Carolina has been a model for best practices to provide equitable access to COVID-19 testing and support to families so that they could safely quarantine and isolate; been recognized as best in the nation for data quality for vaccinations by race and ethnicity; and eliminated a vaccination gap between Hispanic and non-Hispanic North Carolinians and narrowed the gap for Black/African American communities.
Secretary Cohen has been lauded for her outstanding leadership during the COVID crisis. In September of 2020, Secretary Cohen was awarded the Leadership in Public Health Practice Award from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She was named the 2020 Tar Heel of the Year by the Raleigh News and Observer newspaper and Dr. Cohen was also elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2021.
In addition to her COVID response leadership, Secretary Cohen and her team successfully launched Medicaid managed care, receiving national recognition for the state’s innovative approach to whole-person care, including the integration of physical and mental health and using Medicaid to address drivers of health such as housing, transportation, and employment. Under Secretary Cohen’s leadership, NCDHHS hired its first Chief Health Equity Officer and has focused on reducing disparities in opportunity and outcomes for historically marginalized populations. In addition, North Carolina implemented the first-in-the-nation statewide coordinated care network, NCCARE360, to electronically connect those with identified needs to community resources. This private-public partnership has been a key feature of NC’s COVID response and backbone to the innovative Health Opportunities pilot authorized under North Carolina’s 1115 Medicaid waiver.
Dr. Cohen is leaving DHHS in a strong position to continue to carry out its mission, Cooper said. 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, 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.
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.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced the State of North Carolina has been awarded more than $38 million in federal funding to establish a new water assistance program for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning Wednesday, eligible households that have had their water services cut off or have received notice that their water services are in danger of being cut off can apply for assistance in paying their bill through a new federal program called the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).
LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program that will help eligible households and families afford water and wastewater services. The program provides a one-time payment for eligible low-income households directly to the utility company. LIHWAP runs through September 2023 or until the funds run out.
"Due to the pandemic and its impact on our economy, many households are struggling to maintain their water service," said Tara Myers, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Employment, Inclusion and Economic Stability. "The LIHWAP program will help families in North Carolina keep their water running, a basic human need that’s critical for good sanitation and better health."
Households that currently receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Work First services, or those that received Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) services between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, are automatically eligible to receive this benefit if their water services have been cut off or are in danger of being cut off.
All other households that have had their water services or are in danger of losing it can apply starting Dec. 1, 2021, online at www.epass.nc.gov. Individuals can also apply by printing a paper application from www.epass.nc.gov and dropping it off at or faxing it to their local county Department of Social Services or by calling their local county Department of Social Services to apply by phone.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, all households that are not in danger of having their water service cut off can apply for assistance if they meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible for the LIHWAP program, a household must have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen and:
For more information on this program and eligibility, visit the LIHWAP website at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/energy-assistance/low-income-household-water-assistance-program-lihwap.
The Nantahala Ranger District has issued a Special Use Permit to Duke Energy to install an overhead powerline along Forest Service Road 422 (Winding Stairs Road) that will replace the existing cross-country route. The new powerline along Winding Stairs Road will improve future access for repairs to maintain electricity to the Nantahala Community.
The Forest Service normally closes Winding Stairs Road annually from January 1st to late March. To enable Duke Energy to begin installation of the new powerline, the road will be closed beginning November 29, 2021 through late March of 2022.
For more information, please contact the Nantahala Ranger District at (828)524-6441.
NCDHHS to Host Livestream Fireside Chat and Tele-Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Ages 5–11 on Nov. 9
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will host a live fireside chat and tele-town hall on Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to discuss the safety and effectiveness of the recently approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5–11.
NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D, will host the event and will be joined by pediatrician Rasheeda Monroe, M.D. Dr. Monroe currently serves as the Medical Director of Primary Care Pediatrics at WakeMed. She is also the Raleigh area Campus Director of the UNC School of Medicine and the Director to the Kenan Urban Scholars program at the UNC School of Medicine.
Molly Grantham — WBTV news anchor, author, speaker and mom of three children — will moderate the conversation.
The fireside chat will livestream from both the NCDHHS and WBTV social media accounts and will also include a tele-town hall feature. Households will be invited by phone to listen in and submit questions to help ensure everyone interested can participate. People can also dial into the event by calling (855)-756-7520 Ext.76807#.
This event comes as the FDA recently authorized and the CDC now recommends a lower-dose Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5–11. Children are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus just like everyone else, and the vaccine provides a safe, tested way to help keep them healthy.
To date, more than 69% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17, and 71% of adults, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Watch the livestreams on NCDHHS social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
NCDHHS fireside chats and tele-town halls are part of the state’s ongoing public engagement to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure equitable access to timely information, resources and COVID-19 vaccines.
La vacuna de Pfizer-BioNTech contra el COVID-19