Who Is Dr. Rachel Levine? A Look at Biden's Pick for Assistant Secretary of Health
President Joe Biden has selected Dr. Rachel Levine, a pediatrician, as his Assistant Secretary of Health, marking history as the first and highest-ranking openly transgender federal official to be formally sworn in by the U.S. Senate.
President Joe Biden has selected Dr. Rachel Levine, a pediatrician, as his Assistant Secretary of Health, marking history as the first and highest-ranking openly transgender federal official to be formally sworn in by the U.S. Senate, the Washington Post reported.
Levine began in the state service in 2015, serving as the Pennsylvania physician general, and was confirmed three times to serve in that role. She was also appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017 as acting health secretary. She also works as a professor at Penn State College of Medicine, CNN reported.
In her time serving Pennsylvania, her previous work entailed addressing the opioid epidemic, working to get people into recovery and treatment. She has also worked to fight HIV and Hep C and focused on childhood immunization programs. Among other topics of concern, Levine focuses on LGBTQ medicine, medicinal marijuana, and eating disorders.
"I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve Pennsylvanians, and all Americans, as part of the Biden Administration if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed to this position,” she said.
“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,” Biden said in a statement. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”
Levine will be working under Xavier Becerra, a Latino politician and Biden's nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As part of the team, Levine would be designated to oversee key health offices and programs across the department, 10 regional health offices nationwide, the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
Levine has stood tall, overcoming unhinged public attacks on her gender identity. Most recently, Jenna Ellis, formerly Trump's campaign adviser, intentionally misgendered Levine in August, calling her a "guy" in a tweet, NBC reported.
“Today, he made clear that transgender people are an important part of our country," Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement to the Post.
Biden was sworn into office as the 46th president of the U.S. on Wednesday.
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