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Biden Announces First Transgender Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary at HHS

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President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Dr. Rachel Levine to become his assistant health secretary. If the Senate confirms this, she would become the first transgender official to be confirmed.

Levine: An Accomplished Doctor and Public Servant

Currently, Levine serves as Pennsylvania’s health secretary. She also works as a professor at Penn State College of Medicine, where she teaches psychiatry and pediatrics. Additionally, the doctor has served the state as a public servant — as physician general (2015), assistant health secretary (2017), and health secretary (2018).

Levine studied and graduated from Harvard College. Additionally, she earned her medical degree at the Tulane University School of Medicine. She trained at New York City’s Mt. Sinai Medical Center, during which she focused on pediatrics and adolescent medicine.

Levine has continuously been vocal about certain topics in the field of medicine throughout her career. She has written about topics like the opioid crisis and medicinal marijuana. She has also written pieces focusing on how to handle medical care for adolescents and LGBTQ patients.

Biden released a statement regarding his nomination for Levine. In it, the president-elect praised her, saying the doctor “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.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also lauded Levine, saying she is an amazing public servant armed with the “knowledge and experience” that could help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this nomination, Levine joins Biden’s other cabinet picks who are also bound to make history if Senate passes their confirmation. Some of these picks include General Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary and Mayor Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary.

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