North Carolina State Aging Conference Keynote Bios

Jason Brown

In 2009, Jason Brown was was the highest-paid center with the St. Louis Rams. Five years later, after earning more than $25 million of that contract, Brown made the decision to leave the NFL to become a farmer in his home state of North Carolina, with a passion to help feed the hungry.

Sandy Markwood

 National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Chief Executive Officer, Sandy Markwood has more than 30 years experience in the development and delivery of aging, health, human services, housing and transportation programs in counties and cities across the nation. Prior to coming to n4a in January 2002, Sandy served as the Deputy Director of County Services at the National Association of Counties where she took a lead role in research, training, conference planning, program development, technical assistance and grants management.

As CEO, Sandy is responsible for n4a's overall management. She sets strategic direction for the staff, oversees the implementation of all policy, grassroots advocacy, membership and program initiatives. She also leads n4a's fundraising efforts and engages corporate sponsors to support critical initiatives, including an aging awards/best practices program and the Leadership Institute for Area Agency on Aging staff. Externally, Sandy forms strategic partnerships with federal agencies and organizations in aging, human services and health care arenas to enhance the role and recognition of Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI programs.

Since being appointed as Secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in January, Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, and her team have worked tirelessly to improve the health safety and well-being of North Carolinians. Among her top priorities are combating the opioid crisis, building a strong, efficient Medicaid program, and improving early childhood education.

Secretary Cohen has called on clinicians across the state to assist in fighting the opioid epidemic by screening patients for risk or presence of opioid use disorder, connecting them with evidence-based treatment and using prescribing software, as well as registering with the N.C. Controlled Substance Reporting System to review patient prescription histories. In May, she began a multi-city tour of listening sessions to hear feedback from residents on Medicaid and NC Health Choice transformation.

Cohen is an internal medicine physician and has experience leading complex health organizations. Before coming to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services she was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). She brings a deep understanding of health care to the state and has been responsible for implementing policies for Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Federal Marketplace.

A graduate of Cornell University, she received her medical degree from Yale School of Medicine, a Master's in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health and trained in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.


Mandy Cohen