Dr. Rachel Levine Makes History as First Openly Transgender Senate-Confirmed Federal Official

by Aryn Fields

Today, the Human Rights Campaign celebrated the landmark confirmation of Dr. Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In a bipartisan confirmation vote, by the U.S. Senate, Levine is the first openly transgender, Senate-confirmed federal official in U.S. history.

“It is a historic, inspiring day for the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people, who are finally able to see themselves reflected at the highest levels of our government. With the confirmation of Dr. Rachel Levine, we are one step closer to a government that mirrors the beautiful diversity of its people. It is absolutely critical that everybody has a seat at the table and the Biden-Harris administration has made a dedicated, applaudable effort to ensure that outcome.

“As an incredibly experienced public health expert, Dr. Rachel Levine is uniquely qualified to help navigate the country through the COVID-19 pandemic. Her professional background and personal strength perfectly meets this moment.

“At a time when transgender children are under attack by state legislatures across the U.S., and access to healthcare is systematically threatened for transgender and gender non-conforming people, Dr. Levine has the compassion and understanding to improve the health needs of our diverse and growing population.

“The Human Rights Campaign congratulates Dr. Levine on her historic confirmation today.”

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

Dr. Levine was previously the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. Dr. Levine joined Governor Tom Wolf’s administration in January 2015 as the Physician General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and served from 2015 to 2017. She was named Acting Secretary of Health in July 2017 and confirmed as Secretary of Health in March 2018.

In addition to her recent positions, Dr. Levine is an accomplished regional and international speaker, and author on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBTQ medicine. Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

The Human Rights Campaign recently released the Blueprint for Positive Change 2020, an important brief that includes 85 individual policy recommendations, reaching across the federal government, aimed at bettering the daily lives of LGBTQ people at home and abroad. A section of recommendations include appointing openly-LGBTQ justices, judges, executive officials and ambassadors.

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