Lambeth Lecture: Lessons from the Covid Crisis

For more information on attending the lecture via Zoom, visit UNC Public Policy’s page

The departing secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, will discuss “Emerging from the COVID crisis: What Have We Learned, and Where Do We Go from Here?” for UNC’s 13th annual Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Lecture in Public Policy on March 23.

The lecture — open at no charge to the public — is set for 5 p.m. in Hill Hall’s Moeser Auditorium.

Cohen is an internal medicine physician and nationally recognized public health expert with extensive public sector experience in senior leadership positions at the state and federal level. Most recently, she served as the secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services from January 2017 until December 2021. Cohen led and was the face of North Carolina’s COVID-19 response for Gov. Roy Cooper, participating in more than 150 press conferences. Her leadership and the state’s coronavirus response have been lauded for its focus on equity, data accountability and transparent communication. Cohen also led the transition of North Carolina’s Medicaid program to managed care and received national recognition for its innovation and its focus on whole-person care and the nonmedical drivers of health.

In March, Cohen will join Aledade, the leading primary care enablement company, as executive vice president and will serve as the chief executive officer of Aledade Care Solutions, the company’s new health services unit. Prior to her leadership in North Carolina, Cohen served as chief operating officer and chief of staff at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, helping to implement the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges and innovative new payment models.

Cohen has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine and currently serves as an adjunct professor at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. A graduate of Cornell University, she received her medical degree from Yale School of Medicine as well as a Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She trained in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The lecture series, presented by UNC’s department of public policy, is named for the 1957 UNC graduate and former executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. It was endowed in 2006 to bring to campus distinguished speakers who are practitioners or scholars of public policy, particularly those whose work addresses education, ethics, democratic institutions and civic engagement.

Lambeth served as administrative assistant to then-Gov. Terry Sanford ’39 (’46 LLBJD) and to then-U.S. Rep. Richardson Preyer. Later, for more than two decades, he was executive director of the Reynolds Foundation. During his tenure, the foundation awarded grants totaling more than $260 million to address many of North Carolina’s most pressing policy issues, particularly social justice and equity, governance and civic engagement, education, community building and economic development, and protection of the state’s natural environment.

Lambeth is a recipient of the GAA’s Distinguished Service Medal, the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Davie Award for service to UNC. He is a past chair of the GAA Board of Directors. He now chairs the GAA-sponsored Tar Heel Network, which supports the University’s goals and priorities through advocacy with legislators, and he serves on the GAA Board of Directors.

As of Aug. 15, 2019, there is a flat $1 weeknight fee for many campus parking lots that were free previously, in effect from 5 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. (No fee applies for the weekend, Friday at 5 p.m. through Monday at 7:30 a.m.) These weeknight fees can be paid using the ParkMobile app, the Parkmobile website or with a credit or debit card or four quarters at a designated weeknight pay station. Pay lots and meters operate as usual during weeknight hours. For more, visit


Dr. Cohen is married to Sam Cohen, a health care regulatory attorney and senior vice president for health policy at Curi. They have two daughters, ages 7 and 10.

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