Biden is said to have chosen Mandy Cohen to lead the CDC

President Biden plans to appoint a doctor Mandy Cohen, a former North Carolina health secretary who led her state through the tumultuous first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, is the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two people familiar with the selection process said.

Choice Dr. Cohen, who was first reported by The Washington Post, is not final. The White House is still gathering the necessary paperwork to make the appointment official, according to another person familiar with the selection process. But dr. Cohen is the leading candidate, the man said.

The White House declined to comment. Dr. Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If Mr. Biden, Dr. Cohen, the therapist, will replace the doctor. Rochelle P. Walensky, infectious disease expert, announced last month that she would retire at the end of June. Dr. Valensky led the CDC through difficult times; The agency became demoralized under President Donald J. Trump and came under fire under both the President and the President of the United States. Trump and Mr. Biden

As Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to Governor Roy Cooper from 2017 to 2021, Dr. Cohen has established herself as a familiar and resilient voice that has maintained the public’s trust despite deep political divisions, people who have worked with her say.

Addressing the alumni of Guildford College in North Carolina last month, Dr. Cohen entrusted the topic her opening speech. “Change happens at the pace of trust,” she said, adding that while it was possible to motivate people to change their behavior by scaring them, “fear will only drive you so far.”

One point in Dr. Cohen’s benevolence is that, unlike Dr. Walensky, she has previous federal government experience. Before becoming Secretary of Health for North Carolina, she held several positions in the Obama administration, including serving as chief operating officer and chief of staff for Medicare and Medicaid Services Centers. Dr. Cohen currently leads Aledade, a company that offers support to doctors and community clinics.

While Congress passed legislation last year requiring the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be subject to Senate confirmation, that provision won’t go into effect until 2025. Cohen could start pitching right away.

“Mandy Cohen, with a firm hand, has helped my administration navigate North Carolina out of the pandemic to become one of the states with the lowest per capita death and job losses,” he said. This is stated in a statement by Democrat Cooper. “She is a brilliant, talented and battle-tested leader who would make a fantastic CDC director.”

Public health experts who know Dr. Cohen, or have worked with her, said her experience leading the North Carolina pandemic response and years in federal agencies would be a huge asset to the director of the CDC. The CDC has been criticized multiple times during the pandemic for messy messaging, but Dr. Cohen has received praise as a clear communicator.

“North Carolina is a purple state, which is relevant when, as you know, we were in a public health emergency that was extremely politicized,” the doctor said. Neil Shah, chief medical officer at Maven Clinic, a digital healthcare provider, was familiar with Dr. Cohen, as they were both residents at Massachusetts General Hospital. He said dr. Cohen “has done an outstanding job of making an impact in such a climate.”

In the public health community, Dr. Cohen has a reputation for creating innovative programs, including a workaround that allows state governments to use Medicaid dollars help low-income people with housing, food security and other needs that may affect their health.

“People talk about North Carolina with a certain amount of excitement in their voices,” the doctor said. Joshua M. Scharfstein, Associate Dean for Public Health Practices and Community Engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who worked closely with Dr. Bloomberg. Cohen when he was Maryland’s health secretary and she was a federal official.

The pandemic has exposed a deep gap between public health and medicine. Cohen is trying to bridge this gap, in part by having primary care physicians deliver preventive care. Scharfstein said.

“There are a lot of opportunities at the intersection of healthcare and public health, and the CDC hasn’t really been able to take advantage of those opportunities,” he said.