blog

Assistant Secretary of Health – confirmation needed

by Deedra Abboud in Political
January 21, 2021 0 comments

President Joe Biden announced he will nominate Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s top health official, as his assistant secretary of health.

If approved, Levine would become the first ever openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

The Position: Serves as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services’s primary advisor on matters involving the nation’s public health.

Rachel Levine was born in 1957 and is originally from Wakefield, Massachusetts.

She is Jewish and grew up attending Hebrew school, recalling that while she was growing up, her rabbi did not talk about LGBTQ issues.

She earned her high school diploma from Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Massachusetts.

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 New York CityNew York.

Levine had a fellowship at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital from 1988 to 1993, where she trained in pediatrics.

After moving from Manhattan to central Pennsylvania in 1993, 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.

In 2015, Levine was nominated by Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wolf to be Pennsylvania’s Physician General.

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. She served as Physician General until 2017.

In July 2017 Governor Wolf appointed Levine as Secretary of Health, and she was unanimously confirmed.

As the state secretary of health, she leads the public health response on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.She works closely on a daily basis with the FEMA director and leads a daily press briefing.

Levine was accused of removing her own mother from a personal care home, after creating a policy whereby nursing homes throughout the Commonwealth would readmit residents testing positive for Coronavirus after they were declared healthy enough to leave the hospital.

Levine has stated that personal care homes (as opposed to nursing homes) do not fall under the jurisdiction of her own agency.

Levine has served as a board member of Equality Pennsylvania, an LGBT rights organization.

She has two children, David and Dayna.

She transitioned in 2011.

Levine and her ex-wife, Martha Peaslee Levine, divorced in 2013.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.