CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) presented Mandy Cohen, M.D., secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), 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, Dr. Cohen leads 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 PPE availability. Plus, they constructed the advance 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, M.D. “When physicians and frontline 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, Dr. Cohen’s “buying health” agenda focuses on social determinants of health. Under her leadership, North Carolina 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, Dr. Cohen was the chief operating officer and chief of staff at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). She is an adjunct professor in health policy & management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Dr. 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.

Dr. Cohen’s acceptance speech can be viewed here.

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The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.