Dr. Mandy Cohen
Secretary, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
To achieve a healthier world, Dr. Mandy Cohen realized work had to be done beyond hospital walls. North Carolina's health secretary secured $90 million in funding for her state's opioid prevention plan, worked with stakeholders on Medicaid transformation and Early Childhood Action plans and led efforts to integrate behavioral and physical health in North Carolina's Medicaid program.
"When I worked on Capitol Hill as a student I became interested in health policy issues. There weren't many doctors shaping policy at the time, so I began to see a career path that would allow me to bridge the world of clinical medicine and health policy," she said.
Her efforts to transform the system extend to her department itself. Under Cohen's leadership, it has enacted a mentoring program to help place women employees in positions where they can grow; women make up 42% of her leadership team.
"Women leaders can be underestimated, overlooked or misunderstood, but women often have more of the skills needed to excel in the complex, ever-changing, highly matrixed, relationship-driven world of healthcare. Being a good leader requires authenticity. You need to know yourself and your strengths, and then you need to build a team around you that complements those strengths and weaknesses," she said.