why it matters: Dr. Cohen will oversee the CDC’s response to the public health crisis.
The appointment does not require Senate approval, meaning Dr. Cohen could become CDC leader as soon as Dr. Walensky resigns. Congress recently passed a bill requiring agency chief confirmation, but the provision won’t go into effect until 2025.
In his statement on Friday, Dr. Warenski said Dr. Cohen was “perfectly qualified to lead the CDC moving forward with lessons learned from COVID-19.”
The Biden administration in May allowed the federal government’s declaration of a new coronavirus public health emergency to expire.Dr. Cohen will oversee the CDC Recently revised initiative To track coronaviruses, including coronaviruses in wastewater. She will also be responsible for the vast array of public health crises handled throughout the agency’s centers, including other infectious disease outbreaks and opioid use.
The CDC faced Loss of public trust As the country recovers from the pandemic, government agencies foil early efforts to test Americans, allowing political interference in the scientific literature and leaving health experts confused about testing, the cover-up and understanding of the spread of the virus. gave guidance.
Cohen is said to be the top candidate on a huge list of names that administration officials have narrowed down in recent weeks. She was a front-runner for White House chief of staff Jeffrey D. Zientz, the former coronavirus task force coordinator in the Biden administration, according to people familiar with the investigation process.
Background: Dr. Cohen brings experience in the public and private sectors.
Dr. Cohen is a physician and executive at Aledade, a company that helps community clinics and doctors, and served as chief operating officer and chief of staff for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Obama administration.
Dr. Ashish K. Jha left the white house this week After leading the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response, Dr. Cohen said he had unusually strong credentials as CDC director, both in the public and private sectors.
“One of the things we’ve learned from this pandemic and other public health crises is that an effective response requires bridging both public health and the healthcare delivery system,” he said. “Very few people have deep expertise in both.”
Dr. Cohen, who also oversaw North Carolina’s COVID-19 response as a political appointee at a time when the state government was divided, said some public health experts said he was based in Washington. It could be applied to the complexities of running an Atlanta-based agency within the U.S. Department of Health, he said. and human service.
Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health and Safety at Johns Hopkins University, said “important for the next CDC director will be the ability to work with officials in Washington and across the country.”
Before Biden announced his intention to appoint Cohen, a group of Republican lawmakers wrote him a letter Citing her support for mask mandates, she said she had “politicized science” and probably opposed her choice.
what’s next: Dr. Cohen will be busy overseeing agency reviews.
Dr. Warensky started last year Extensive efforts for organizational restructuring Public health experts say the agency is chronically underfunded and Cohen will take over the process. This includes efforts to modernize data systems and improve communication with the public.