Kody H. Kinsey joined the School of Government in January 2020 as an adjunct instructor. He spent several years working in Washington, D.C. in the White House and as the assistant secretary for management at the U.S. Department of Treasury under two administrations, where his responsibilities ranged from managing trillion-dollar financial systems to printing money. Originally from Wilmington, he returned home to North Carolina in 2018 to join the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). Initially, he served as deputy secretary for behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities, where he led the state’s response to the opioid epidemic, operated the publicly funded state-operated health care system, and shaped integrated behavioral health care policy. He later served as the operations lead for N.C.’s COVID-19 pandemic response and the chief deputy secretary for health, which expanded his portfolio to include the state’s public health agency and health care regulatory body. In these roles, he played a major role in organizing the state’s pandemic response, including securing personal protective equipment, placing equity at the center of the pandemic response, and leading N.C.’s vaccine distribution effort.
In December 2021, he was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper as secretary of NCDHHS, where he now leads the agency of 18,000 employees with an annual budget of $26 billion. He is committed to the department’s mission of promoting the health and wellbeing of all North Carolinians by equitably investing in behavioral health and resilience, focusing on child and family wellbeing, and reinforcing a strong and inclusive workforce. He is the first openly gay cabinet secretary in N.C. history.
Secretary Kinsley earned his bachelor’s degree from Brevard College in Brevard, N.C. and his Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a fellow of the Civil Society Fellowship, a partnership of the Anti-Defamation League and the Aspen Institute.