Dr. Rachel Levine, the current secretary of health in Pennsylvania, is leading the fight against Covid-19 in the state. She will take on an even bigger public health leadership role and break down barriers as the newly-nominated assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Once confirmed, Dr. Levine will be the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. After attending Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine, she began her career as a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Dr. Levine was unanimously endorsed as Pennsylvania’s physician general before rising to the role of state secretary of health.
Dr. Levine will take on the role of the assistant secretary for health during one of the most trying periods of public health history. In an interview with NPR, Dr. Levine said that although vaccines do not offer a quick fix to the pandemic, “It will be essential for the federal government to provide more funding to the states, territories, and cities that will be tasked with administering the vaccine.”
In addition to taking an active role in preventing the spread of covid-19, Dr. Levine also brings a unique perspective on inclusivity to her role. Transgender individuals face high levels of discrimination in health care, so the nomination of a transgender health official opens the door for more optimal care for these communities and also demonstrates that positions of leadership are meant for all, regardless of gender.
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