President Biden has tapped Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, making her the first publicly transgender federal official.
In 2017, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf appointed Levine to her current post, making her one of the few transgender persons serving in appointed or elected positions countrywide. Biden said in a statement: “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.”
A graduate of Harvard and of Tulane Medical School, former physician general, and pediatrician, Levine serves as head of the ASTHO. She’s written in the past on medical marijuana, the opioid crisis, LGBTQ medicine, eating disorders, and adolescent medicine. Annise Parker, former CEO/President of LGBTQ Victory Institute and Houston mayor spoke of the new health secretary: “Her nomination is groundbreaking and shows the Biden administration will choose the most qualified individuals to lead our nation regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Dr. Levine is making history and will transform Americans’ perceptions of trans people when she takes office and begins to work on their behalf.”
Vice President Kamala Harris dubbed 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.” Levine joins Xavier Becerra, a Latino politician serving as Biden’s Health and Human Services secretary who came up from meek beginnings to serve in Congress and as an attorney general in California.
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