June 2, 2023 – The former health secretary of North Carolina, Mandy Cohen, MD, is expected to be named the next director of the CDC, according to multiple media outlets.
She will succeed outgoing director Rochelle Walensky, MD, who announced earlier this year she will step down at the end of June.
Cohen concluded five years as North Carolina’s top health official at the end of 2021 and currently works as a private sector executive. She spent more than 15 years in public service, including prominent federal government positions in the areas of Medicare, Medicaid, and Healthcare.gov during President Barack Obama’s administration, according to a summary from The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer. She is a graduate of Cornell, Harvard, and Yale universities.
As a physician, Cohen practiced internal medicine, but ultimately followed her pre-doctoral interests in policy and public health to work extensively in the public sector.
The expected selection of Cohen to succeed Walensky was first reported by The Washington Post. The newspaper also reported that Cohen was congratulated earlier this week by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Cohen has ties to officials in President Joe Biden’s administration, including White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, the Post reported. She campaigned for Obama alongside now-Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, and was a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
For Cohen, stepping into Walensky’s role at the CDC comes amid criticism that the agency’s pandemic response was slow and poorly communicated.
Biden’s formal announcement of Cohen’s move to the CDC is expected later this month.