Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine has been selected by President Joe Biden to become the assistant secretary of health. If confirmed, she would become the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the United States Senate.

Source: CBS News/YouTube

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Levine is the former Pennsylvania physician general and a pediatrician. “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.”

Levine is the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and has written extensively on the opioid epidemic, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, LGBTQ medicine, and eating disorders. Levine has played a significant part in the coronavirus response done in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Harvard and Tulane Medical School.

“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,” Annise Parker, former Houston mayor and president & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement. “Dr. Levine is making history and will transform Americans’ perceptions of trans people when she takes office and begins to work on their behalf.”

Levine released a statement on her nomination, ” I am proud of the work we have done to fight diseases such as HIV and Hep C, as well as preventing diseases through our childhood immunization programs. I am proud of the work we have done as an administration to address health equity, and the work I have done personally to raise awareness about LGBTQ equity issues.  And I am extremely proud of the work we have done during the last year to save lives in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve Pennsylvanians, and all Americans, as part of the Biden Administration if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed to this position.”

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