President-elect Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he would choose Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s top health official, as his assistant secretary of health. Levine, a pediatrician, would become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
- Dr. Rachel Levine will be the new assistant secretary of health in the Biden administration. She will take on this job at a historic time – more than one year into a pandemic. And she’s also making history as the first openly transgender federal official validated by the Senate. She has faced combative questions about medical care for trans people during her confirmation hearing.
- Biden said in a statement, “Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady administration 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 severe moment and beyond. She is historic and deeply the qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”
- As Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, Levine has risen to national distinction for leading the state’s public health rejoinder to the coronavirus pandemic, notwithstanding repeated and ugly attacks on her gender identity. “We see many health care differences based upon race, upon age, but also in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity. And we want to get rid of these health care disparities. And so we – everybody deserves to have an equal playing field in terms of health care. And my goal is to advocate for that to happen”, she said in the interview.