Biden taps Rachel Levine for Assistant Health Secretary, making her first openly transgender to seek U.S. Senate confirmation Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 1, 2021

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday announced the nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine to serve as Assistant Secretary for Health at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

She is poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

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Dr. Levine currently serves as Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is leading the state’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Biden team described Dr. Levine as “a deeply experienced and effective public servant and public health expert”, who was confirmed three times by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania state senate to serve as Secretary of Health and the state’s physician general.

What they are saying:

President-elect Joe Biden: “Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond. She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris: “Dr. Rachel Levine is a remarkable public servant with the knowledge and experience to help us contain this pandemic, and protect and improve the health and well-being of the American people. President-elect Biden and I look forward to working with her to meet the unprecedented challenges facing Americans and rebuild our country in a way that lifts everyone up.”

Read her biography

Dr. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health at the United States Department of Health and Human Services

Dr. Rachel Levine is currently the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. She is the President of ASTHO, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders.

Dr. Levine joined Governor Tom Wolf’s administration in January 2015 as the Physician General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and served from 2015 to 2017. She was named Acting Secretary of Health in July 2017 and confirmed as Secretary of Health in March 2018. Her previous posts included: Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

In addition to her recent posts, Dr. Levine is also an accomplished regional and international speaker, and author on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBTQ+ medicine. Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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