Former NC DHHS leader Mandy Cohen has a new job in the private sector

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Dr. Mandy Cohen, who spent nearly two years telling North Carolinians to wear, wait and wash — and get vaccinated — during the coronavirus pandemic, is going into the private sector.

Cohen announced her new job Tuesday morning as she retweeted a post from her soon-to-be employer, the health care company Aledade. She will become the chief executive officer of its new health services unit, Aledade Care Solutions, and executive vice president of Aledade.

Aledade is a health IT company founded in 2014 that builds a network of independent, physician-led accountable care organizations, Forbes previously reported, and has operated in North Carolina since 2019. The company is based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, speaks during a briefing on North Carolina’s coronavirus pandemic response at the NC Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh on Nov. 30, 2021. Cohen stepped down from her job at the end of 2021.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, speaks during a briefing on North Carolina’s coronavirus pandemic response at the NC Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh on Nov. 30, 2021. Cohen stepped down from her job at the end of 2021.

Cohen served five years as DHHS secretary in Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration. At one of Cooper and Cohen’s regular COVID-19 response news conferences just after the news became public, Cooper thanked her for her service.

He told reporters that he and Cohen had “been in the trenches together” and he would miss her. Cooper said Cohen’s work during the pandemic has “saved countless lives.”

“I deeply appreciate your service and your steady hand in times of crisis,” Cooper said to Cohen then. Cooper appointed then-deputy secretary Kody Kinsley to Cohen’s job. Kinsley started earlier this month.

In a post on the company website, a photograph of Cohen shows the N.C. DHHS headquarters in Raleigh in the background. She explains that watching her mother’s nursing career helped lead to her decision for this kind of work now.

“After nearly 15 years in public service at both the federal and state level, I am excited to keep growing and learning as a leader and health care executive, now in the private sector,” Cohen said. “When I looked for the next opportunity where I could continue to work on the mission to build a more equitable, health-focused, proactive, and trusted system, Aledade quickly rose to the top of the list.”

Cohen went to Cornell, Yale and Harvard universities and worked in the Obama administration as chief operating officer and chief of staff at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, before coming to North Carolina.

Cohen announced her departure from DHHS in November, not saying where she would be going after her last day of work on Dec. 31. She said she would spend time with family and travel in January. Cohen, who has served in Democratic administrations at the state and federal level, told reporters in December that she is not running for office, and that she wanted to keep working in North Carolina.

Her new job at Aledade doesn’t start until March.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, trade places at the podium during a press briefing on the surge of COVID-19 cases on Thursday, September 9, 2021 at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, trade places at the podium during a press briefing on the surge of COVID-19 cases on Thursday, September 9, 2021 at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C.
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