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Biden names ex-North Carolina health official Mandy Cohen as new CDC director

Secretary of State Mandy Cohen speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, May 26, 2020.

Ethan Hyman/Rory News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The White House announced that President Biden will nominate Dr. Mandy Cohen, a former North Carolina state official, as the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Unlike the two previous US Surgeon Generals who have served as the nation’s top-ranked Surgeon Generals, Cohen has experience running a government agency. From 2017 until 2022, she served as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to that, she held medical-related positions at two federal agencies.

“Dr. Cohen is one of America’s top physicians and health leaders, with experience leading large and complex organizations and a proven track record of protecting the health and safety of Americans,” Biden said in a statement. ‘ said.

She will replace Dr. Rochelle Wallensky, 54, who announced last month that she will retire at the end of June. Cohen’s date for her inauguration has not yet been announced. Her appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

A former infectious disease specialist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Wallenski joined the CDC in 2021, about a year after the pandemic began.

Cohen, 44, will take over after several grueling years at the CDC, where more than 12,000 employees are tasked with protecting Americans from epidemics and other public health threats.

The Atlanta-based federal agency has long been regarded as a world leader in disease control and a trusted source of health information. However, public opinion polls show that public confidence is eroding, in part as a result of the CDC’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 response, and in part due to political attacks and misinformation campaigns. was done.

Wallenski has initiated a restructuring effort aimed at making the agency more mobile and improving communication.

Cohen grew up in Long Island, New York. Her mother was a nurse. Cohen holds a medical degree from Yale University and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University.

She was also an advocate. She was a founding member and former executive director of Doctors for America, which promotes expanding health coverage and addressing racial and ethnic disparities. Another founder was Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Morsi. The group was formed in the midst of an effort to organize doctors into political activism and endorse Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy.

Ms. Cohen began working for the federal U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2008, where she served as Deputy Director of Women’s Health Services. Since then, she has held a series of federal government jobs, many at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where she rose to become Chief Operating Officer.

In 2017, she took a job with the Health and Human Services in North Carolina. Cohen, top adviser to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, wears a gold chain adorned with a charm that means ‘life’ in Hebrew, risk and prevention as the face of the state’s response to coronavirus. explained the measures.

Some residents have dubbed her the “3W woman” for her constant reminder to wear a mask, wash her hands frequently, and keep her distance from others. One man even wrote a country-rock ballad praising her for her refrain, “Wait for Mandy, wait for Mandy.”

In 2020, Cohen refused to support President Trump’s demand that the Republican convention in Charlotte be held at a full house without masks. His office has since announced it would accommodate Republicans by easing the state’s indoor gathering limit to 10 people, but remained adamant about masks and social distancing. President Trump has finally moved his major events out of Charlotte.

Cohen said he wanted to spend more time with his family and pursue new opportunities, and will resign from state office at the end of 2021. He then held a leadership position at Aledade Inc., a consulting firm based in Maryland.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biden-to-name-mandy-cohen-cdc-director/ Biden names ex-North Carolina health official Mandy Cohen as new CDC director

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