New CDC director on leading the agency, rebuilding public trust

Dr. Mandy Cohen was recently appointed by President Biden to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (LaShawn Hudson/WABE)

While reflecting on the role of the United States’ top public health agency, Dr. Mandy Cohen says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an asset and has the ability to identify public health threats and respond to them.

Cohen, who was recently appointed by President Biden to lead the CDC, says trust is 100% foundational and that people lost trust during the pandemic in the agency, other institutions, news outlets and the government.

“I want folks to know, put politics aside,” said Cohen. “Besides being the CDC director, I want folks to know I’m a mom, I’m a wife. I’m a daughter and I wouldn’t recommend something for the American people that I wouldn’t recommend for my own family.”

Cohen, a guest on Thursday’s edition of “Closer Look,” further explained that the CDC is working to rebuild the public’s trust and acknowledged that there were failures around the deployment of COVID-19 tests and transparent communication about the virus to the public.

“There were lessons learned,” said Cohen. “We went through a historic pandemic. It’s a crisis, nothing ever goes perfect in a crisis.”

Cohen also talked about her professional journey as the former health secretary of North Carolina, her top priorities for the CDC and how the agency plans to address COVID-19, HIV and other illnesses.

“We have more tools than ever before to protect ourselves,” said Cohen.