Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine speaks at a news conference on July 21, 2020, in York, York County. (Flickr/Office of Gov. Tom Wolf) Dr. Rachel Levine
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine speaks at a news conference on July 21, 2020, in York, York County. (Flickr/Office of Gov. Tom Wolf)

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris called Levine “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.”

WASHINGTON — President-Elect Joe Biden has picked Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, to be the nation’s Assistant Secretary of Health for the US Department of Health and Human Services. If confirmed, she would be the nation’s first openly transgender official confirmed by the US Senate.

Biden’s transition team confirmed the selection of the pediatrician for the position in a news release Tuesday morning. 

“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,” Biden said in the statement, “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.”

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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris called Levine “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.”

Tuesday’s announcement continues Biden’s work to build a truly diverse administration, which thus far has prioritized women and people of color.

Levine is the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Gov. Tom Wolf appointed Levine the state Secretary of Health in 2017, making her one of the few transgender people serving in elected or appointed positions nationwide. The GOP-majority state Senate approved the appointment.

Before she was appointed to lead the state Department of Health, Levine was the Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for two years. Levine also has served as the Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs at the Department of Pediatrics at Penn State Hershey. Levine graduated from Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

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