President-elect Joe Biden announced Tuesday that Pennsylvania’s Dr. Rachel Levine will serve as the assistant Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, making her potentially the first transgender official to be confirmed by the Senate.
Levine, who currently serves as Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, will be the top deputy to HHS Secretary-designee Xavier Becerra of California.
“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 press release circulated Tuesday morning. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris added that Levine is “a remarkable public servant with the knowledge and experience to help us contain this pandemic, and protect and improve the health and well-being of the American people.”
The Biden team noted that Levine received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her medical degree from the Tulane University School of Medicine. Additionally, she was thrice confirmed by the Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Senate for both her current position and to serve as the state’s physician general.