Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine
Rachel L. Levine (HHS ASH).jpg
17th Assistant Secretary for Health
Assumed office
March 26, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byBrett Giroir
Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health
In office
July 2017 – January 23, 2021
GovernorTom Wolf
Preceded byKaren Murphy
Succeeded byAlison Beam (acting)
Personal details
Born (1957-10-28) October 28, 1957 (age 63)
Martha Peaslee
(div. 2013)
EducationHarvard University (BS)
Tulane University (MD)

Rachel Leland Levine (/ləˈvn/; born October 28, 1957)[1] is an American pediatrician who has been the United States assistant secretary for health since March 26, 2021.[2] She is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, and previously served as the Pennsylvania physician general from 2015 to 2017, then as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health from 2017 to 2021.[3] Levine is one of only a few openly transgender government officials in the United States,[4] and is the first to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation.[5][6]

Personal life

Levine was born on October 28, 1957, and is originally from Wakefield, Massachusetts.[1][7] Levine is Jewish and grew up attending Hebrew school.[8] Levine earned a high school diploma from Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Massachusetts.[9]

Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine and completed a residency in pediatrics and fellowship in adolescent medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, New York.[10]

Levine has two children, David and Dayna.[11] She transitioned in 2011.[12] Levine and her ex-wife, Martha Peaslee Levine,[13][11] divorced in 2013.[14][4] She has served as a board member of Equality Pennsylvania, an LGBT rights organization.[4]


Levine had a fellowship at New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital from 1988 to 1993[10] where she trained in pediatrics.[15] After moving from Manhattan to central Pennsylvania in 1993,[10] she joined the staff at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. During her tenure there, she created Penn State Hershey Medical Center's adolescent medicine division and eating disorders clinic. She was in charge of the latter when she was nominated for the position of Pennsylvania Physician General in 2015.[10]

Pennsylvania Department of Health

Levine briefing COVID-19 measures with Gov. Tom Wolf at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in June 2020

In 2015, Levine was nominated by Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wolf to be Pennsylvania's Physician General.[4] In her capacity as Physician General, Levine signed an order that allowed law enforcement officers to carry the anti-overdose medication naloxone. She has credited the drug with saving the lives of almost 1,000 opioid users who had overdosed.[4] She served as Physician General until 2017.

In July 2017, Governor Wolf appointed Levine as Secretary of Health,[16] and she was unanimously confirmed by the Pennsylvania State Senate.[4]

During 2020 and until January 23, 2021, Levine led the public health response on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania as the state secretary of health.[15] She worked closely on a daily basis with the FEMA director and led a daily press briefing.[16]

Biden administration

On February 13, 2021, President Joe Biden formally nominated Levine to be assistant secretary for health.[17] Her confirmation hearing was on February 25 with the Senate HELP Committee.[18] On March 17, the committee voted 13–9 to advance the nomination to a full Senate vote.[19] On March 24, the Senate voted 52–48, with two Republicans joining all members of the Democratic caucus, to confirm her nomination.[20] She is the first openly transgender person to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation;[5][6] earlier transgender federal officials like Amanda Simpson held offices which did not require Senate confirmation.[21][22]

See also


  1. ^ a b "LGBT History Month — October 22: Rachel Levine". Q-Notes. October 22, 2018. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  2. ^ Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) (March 26, 2021). "Rachel L. Levine, M.D." HHS.gov. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  3. ^ "Gov. Wolf to Nominate Alison Beam as Secretary of Health, Names Dr. Wendy Braund as Interim Acting Physician General". Governor's Office. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Zezima, Katie (June 1, 2016). "Meet Rachel Levine, one of the very few transgender public officials in America". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on March 29, 2020. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Sullivan, Eileen (January 19, 2021). "Biden's pick for Health and Human Services role would be first transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Weissert, Will (January 19, 2021). "Biden picks transgender woman as assistant health secretary". AP NEWS. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  7. ^ Goodin-Smith, Oona (January 19, 2021). "What to know about Rachel Levine, the history-making Pa. health official tapped for Biden administration". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  8. ^ "Jewish woman welcomed as transgender, state's new physician general". Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. June 24, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  9. ^ "Dr. Rachel Levine '75 Offers Timely Message for Students". Belmont Hill School. October 24, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d Choi-Schagrin, Winston (March 20, 2020). "A 2018 Q&A with Dr. Rachel Levine, now leading state's coronavirus response [from The Caucus archives]". LancasterOnline. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Inside Tulane Med". tmaaarchive.tulane.edu. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  12. ^ Srikanth, Anagha (January 19, 2021). "Rachel Levine could be the first transgender official confirmed by Congress. Who is she?". The Hill. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  13. ^ "resume www.writerdoc.com". December 29, 2008. Archived from the original on December 29, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  14. ^ Levine, Martha Peaslee (November 5, 2013). "How Do You Measure Your Life?". Psychology Today.
  15. ^ a b "Meet the Transgender Doctor Leading Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Response". www.advocate.com. March 31, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  16. ^ a b DeJesus, Ivey (March 19, 2020). "Who is Rachel Levine? Pa. health secretary offers calm, reassurance amid pandemic". WITF. PennLive.
  17. ^ Diamond, Dan; Schmidt, Samantha. "Rachel Levine, historic transgender nominee, confirmed as assistant health secretary". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  18. ^ "Trans doctor Rachel Levine faces historic Senate confirmation hearing". the Guardian. February 25, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  19. ^ Fields, Aryn (March 17, 2021). "U.S. Senate Committee Votes to Move Forward Dr. Rachel Levine's Nomination for Assistant Secretary for Health". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  20. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 117th Congress - 1st Session". www.senate.gov. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  21. ^ Burns, Katelyn (January 22, 2021). "Dr. Rachel Levine's historic appointment to the Biden administration, explained". Vox. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  22. ^ Johnson, Chris (January 19, 2021). "Rachel Levine tapped to become first out transgender Senate-confirmed official". Washington Blade. Retrieved March 11, 2021.


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Brett Giroir
Assistant Secretary for Health


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Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2021-06-13 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=63457672