GREENSBORO, N.C. — Governor Roy Cooper has appointed Kody Kinsley to replace Dr. Mandy Cohen when she steps down in 2022 as the head of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Kinsley is the current NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Health and leads COVID operations. In almost four years with the agency, he has also overseen the state's response to the opioid epidemic. Before that, Kinsley worked in the Obama and Trump administrations. He has a masters of public policy from the University of California Berkeley, but there's one thing not on his resume that's getting a lot of attention online: Kinsley is not a doctor.
Immediately comments about Kinsley started showing up from viewers on the WFMY News 2 Facebook page such as: "The replacement for Cohen doesn't look too promising" and "So...a person with a medical degree is stepping down from her role. That has now been given to a person with a master's in public policy. Ok."
Governor Roy Cooper says Kinsley has a strong track record with the agency.
"Doctor Cohen and I, and Kody when he becomes secretary, have been supported by a team of doctors and medical advisors and health experts who have collectively helped to advise us. So I feel very positive about Kody's leadership. I think this team is going to continue to stay together. And Dr. Cohen deserves an amazing amount of credit for recruiting some of the best people around to be a part of this team. And I have every confidence he'll do a great job, and the team will support him."
Cohen also said Kinsley is the right person for the job, medical degree or not.
"This response, yes, is about making sure we can understand the science and data, and we have plenty of public health doctors and scientists and the team will continue to support that," she said. "But so much of it is about the execution and operations and this is why where Kody Kinsley really shines. I have leaned on him so much, so I think him stepping into that role is really quite a natural fit."