Biden names Levine assistant secretary of health pick

Rachel Levine, MD, currently serves as Pennsylvania’s secretary of health.

President-elect Joe R. Biden continued filling out his Department of Health and human Services (HHS) with the nomination of Rachel Levine, MD, for assistant secretary for health.

According to a news release, Levine would be the first openly transgender Senate-confirmed federal official. She is currently the secretary of health for Pennsylvania and has led the state’s public health response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“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 says in the release. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

Levine is also a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders, the release says.

“Dr. Rachel Levine is 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. President-elect Biden and I look forward to working with her to meet the unprecedented challenges facing Americans and rebuild our country in a way that lifts everyone up,” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris says in the release.