Governor Roy Cooper announced November 30, that North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy K. Cohen will be stepping down from the agency after five years of service to the state. 

Governor Cooper has appointed Kody Kinsley, current NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Health and lead for COVID operations, to succeed her beginning January 1. Kinsley will be taking an historic step as the state’s first gay man to serve in the position.

“Mandy Cohen has shown extraordinary leadership during her tenure and she has worked every day during this pandemic to help keep North Carolinians healthy and safe,” said Governor Cooper. “We are stronger because of her efforts and I am enormously grateful for her service. She has built a remarkable team of talented people, including Kody Kinsley. I know he will continue the strong legacy of competence, effectiveness and efficiency as he takes over as Secretary.”

Kinsley is a native of Wilmington and currently serves as the Chief Deputy Secretary for Health at NCDHHS and Operations Lead for North Caerolina’s COVID-19 pandemic response. During his nearly four years of service at NCDHHS, he has overseen the state’s response to the Opioid Epidemic; increased investments in services and supports for individuals with behavioral health needs and developmental disabilities; and has been a driving force behind the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response, including North Carolina’s vaccine distribution efforts.

Kinsley returned home to North Carolina after serving as the presidentially appointed Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of the Treasury where he led operations and finances for the cabinet-level agency, a position he held during both the Obama and Trump Administrations. He has also held roles at the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A recipient of SEANC’s Unsung Hero Award and the Alexander Hamilton Award, Kinsley is also a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina, and a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School at the University of California at Berkeley.