- President Joe Biden announced Friday that Mandy Cohen, a former public health chief in North Carolina, and now CEO of Aledade Care Solutions, will take over as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when the current director, Rochelle Walensky, steps down on June 30.
- As secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, Cohen drew praise for leading the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Cohen earlier worked at CMS, where she helped implement aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including expanding insurance coverage, the White House said.
The changes at the CDC and the departure of White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha follow the end of the official COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11.
Walensky has been CDC director since 2021 and was criticized for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mpox outbreak. She had planned to reorganize the agency following an internal review that called out lags in the timing of publishing data as well as complex public health guidelines.
In a statement, Walensky praised Cohen for her leadership in North Carolina navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and for her focus on improving health outcomes for Americans.
“Her unique experience and accomplished tenure in North Carolina — along with her other career contributions — make her perfectly suited to lead CDC as it moves forward by building on the lessons learned from COVID-19 to create an organization poised to meet public health challenges of the future,” Walensky said. “I can think of no better hands in which to leave this agency during a critical time in its history.”
In addition to expanding Medicaid in North Carolina, Cohen launched a statewide care-coordination platform called NCCARE360, which focused on “whole person health.” The NCCARE360 tech platform lets healthcare providers send and receive referrals electronically, communicate in real time and track outcomes.
In a statement, Biden credited Cohen for her bipartisan work to pass Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.
“Dr. Cohen has been recognized by leaders from both parties for her ability find common ground and put complex policy into action,” Biden said.
Under Cohen’s leadership, Aledade launched Aledade Care Solutions in 2022. Aledade offers technology tools such as population-health software to assist healthcare providers with value-based care.
In addition to her work at Aledade, Cohen also serves as an adjunct professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Cohen graduated from Cornell University in 2000 and holds a medical degree from the Yale School Medicine and a master’s in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.