March 14, 2022

Dr. Mandy Cohen

Dr. Mandy Cohen

The American Medical Association (AMA) presented Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, former secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and adjunct professor of health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, with the AMA Award for Outstanding Government Service for her leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and tireless work to close the coverage gap in her state.

Appointed to her role in January 2017 by Governor Roy Cooper, Cohen has led the COVID-19 response for the State of North Carolina. Her DHHS team has led operational response on critical issues facing physicians and patients, including hospital surge capacity, testing capacity, tracing capacity and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE). They also constructed the advanced data infrastructure necessary to collect and analyze key data points driving decision-making.

“A credible and innovative leader, Dr. Cohen has earned high marks during an incredibly trying time for her clear communication and collaborative style,” said AMA Board Chair Bobby Mukkamala, MD. “When physicians and front-line health care workers needed help with PPE, Dr. Cohen was there. And when they needed straightforward guidance and information about public health, Dr. Cohen was there. For her advocacy, for her data-driven and empathetic approach and for her tireless work during this pandemic, the AMA is proud to honor Dr. Mandy Cohen with the AMA Award for Outstanding Government Service.”

Additionally, Cohen’s “buying health” agenda focuses on social determinants of health. Under her leadership, N.C. implemented the first-in-the-nation statewide coordinated care network, NCCARE360, to electronically connect people with identified needs to community resources.

Before becoming DHHS secretary, Cohen was the chief operating officer and chief of staff at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Cohen received her medical degree from the Yale School of Medicine and a Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She trained in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Cohen’s acceptance speech can be viewed online.

Read the original press release from the AMA.

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