Dr. Mandy Cohen speaks at a news conference at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, on November 10, 2021.

Bryan Anderson | AP

President Joe Biden on Friday he said he would appoint Dr. Mandy Cohen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cohen served as the head of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services during the worst days of the Covid-19 pandemic. She previously helped implement Affordable Care Act programs as a senior official at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Cohen is a doctor of internal medicine.

“Dr. Cohen is one of the nation’s foremost physicians and health leaders with experience leading large and complex organizations and a proven track record of protecting the health and safety of Americans,” Biden said in a statement Friday.

CDC directors do not currently require Senate confirmation, although that will change in January 2025 due to recent legislation passed by Congress.

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Cohen’s appointment comes as federal health care leadership in the U.S. is in transition after Public health emergency related to Covid-19 ended last month.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the current director of the CDC, is stepping down at the end of this month. She led the CDC in the introduction of the Covid vaccine as well as delta and omicron waves of Covid. Walensky cited the end of the Covid emergency in her resignation letter to Biden.

Cohen will take over the CDC, which is undergoing a restructuring to address criticism that the agency acted too slowly during the pandemic and often issued health guidance that confused the public.

But the CDC isn’t the only health agency undergoing change.

Dr. Ashish Jha left the White House earlier this month after leading the Covid task force for more than a year.

Biden recently nominated Dr. Monica Bertagnolli lead the State Institute of Health. He is currently the head of the National Oncology Institute. NIH has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since December 2021.

Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said The Washington Post earlier this week that he would oppose Bertagnolli’s nomination until the president adopts a clear strategy to lower drug prices.

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