Source: Charlotte Observer

Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and medical doctor Mandy Cohen, has been honored this April as the News & Observer Tar Heel of the Month.

The Tar Heel of the Month award is given to “people who have made significant contributions to North Carolina and the region,” according to the Charlotte Observer.

Before her 35th birthday, Cohen was recruited to help fix, and then lead, the health insurance marketplace at the federal level. That experience in 2013 has informed her approach to the present-day crisis.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus a few months ago, Cohen has been an integral member of the decision-making team. 

“I feel really good that we’ve made decisions to protect folks,” Cohen said to the Charlotte Observer. “Because this virus just moves so fast… I feel like we have definitely slowed the rate of viral acceleration.” 

Cohen recognizes how difficult the world is amid coronavirus, but wants to ensure North Carolina reopens in a safe and smart way. 

State Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry describes Cohen as his “battle buddy” in the fight against coronavirus. In a call with a congressional delegation, Sprayberry introduced Cohen as the “best secretary of health and human services in the nation.”

“They miss their normal lives, and they want to get back to that, and I totally appreciate that, and I want that, too, for me and my family. But I worry if we go too fast — and particularly certain parts of our state — that we will see a resurgence of virus and more loss of life. That is what this is all about,” Cohen stated.

By the end of the workday, Cohen arrives home and spends some time with her family, including her daughters. But soon after the brief reprieve, she’s back on her computer reading the latest research. 

Read the full profile of Sec. Mandy Cohen from the Charlotte Observer.