President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday named Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, a nominee who could make history by becoming the first openly transgender Senate-confirmed federal official.
“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,” he added.
Levine is a physician and professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine and has been leading the state’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She was confirmed three times by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania state Senate.
A graduate of Harvard and of Tulane Medical School, Levine is also the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Additionally, she is a public speaker and author on several issues, including the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders and LGBTQ medicine.
Levine would work alongside California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), whom Biden tapped last month to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.