Rachel Levine

Rachel Leland Levine (/ləˈvn/; born October 28, 1957)[1] is an American pediatrician, and a four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, 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] On October 19, 2021, Levine became the first openly transgender four-star officer in the nation's eight uniformed services.[7] She is also the first female four-star admiral in the commissioned corps.[8][9]

Rachel Levine
Admiral Rachel L. Levine.jpg
Official portrait, 2021
17th Assistant Secretary for Health
Assumed office
March 26, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
SecretaryXavier Becerra
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)
Spouse(s)
Martha Peaslee
(m. 1988; div. 2013)
Children2
EducationHarvard University (BS)
Tulane University (MD)
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
Years of service2021–present
RankAdmiral

Early life and education

Born on October 28, 1957, Levine is originally from Wakefield, Massachusetts.[1][10] Her parents, Melvin and Lillian Levine, were both lawyers.[11] She has a sister, Bonnie Levine, who is four years older.[11] Levine is Jewish and grew up attending Hebrew school.[12] Levine earned a high school diploma from Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Massachusetts.[13]

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.[14]

Career

Levine had a fellowship at New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital from 1988 to 1993[14] where she trained in pediatrics.[15] After moving from Manhattan to central Pennsylvania in 1993,[14] 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.[14]

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

 
Levine with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra after being sworn in as assistant secretary for health, March 27, 2021

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]

On October 19, 2021, Levine was commissioned as a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer in any of the United States uniformed services.[7] She is also the first female four-star admiral in the PHSCC.[9][8]

Personal life

Levine has two children.[23] She transitioned in 2011.[24] Levine and her ex-wife, Martha Peaslee Levine,[25][23] married in 1988, during Levine's last year of medical school,[11][4] and divorced in 2013.[26][4] She has served as a board member of Equality Pennsylvania, an LGBT rights organization.[4]

Awards and decorations

 
   
  
Public Health Service Presidential Unit Citation
Public Health Service COVID-19 Pandemic Campaign Medal Public Health Service Regular Corps Ribbon Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon
Assistant Secretary for Health Badge Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services Badge

[27]

Publications

See also

References

  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 g 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. ^ a b Diamond, Dan (October 19, 2021). "Rachel Levine, openly transgender health official, to be sworn in as four-star admiral in Public Health Service". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Franklin, Jonathan (October 19, 2021). "Dr. Rachel Levine is sworn in as the nation's first transgender four-star officer". NPR. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Casey, John (October 19, 2021). "Dr. Rachel Levine Is Now First Trans 4-Star Admiral in U.S. History". Advocate. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b c Loveland, Barry (February 6, 2017). "LGBT Oral History: Rachel Levine" (PDF). LGBT Center of Central PA History Project Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections. Carlisle, PA, USA. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  12. ^ "Jewish woman welcomed as transgender, state's new physician general". Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. June 24, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  13. ^ "Dr. Rachel Levine '75 Offers Timely Message for Students". Belmont Hill School. October 24, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  14. ^ 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.
  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.
  23. ^ a b "Inside Tulane Med". tmaaarchive.tulane.edu. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "resume www.writerdoc.com". December 29, 2008. Archived from the original on December 29, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  26. ^ Levine, Martha Peaslee (November 5, 2013). "How Do You Measure Your Life?". Psychology Today.
  27. ^ Dr. Rachel Levine [@HHS_ASH] (October 19, 2021). "Swearing-in of Dr. Rachel Levine to the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, officially becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer in the uniformed services and first female four-star admiral of @USPHS" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Assistant Secretary for Health
2021–present
Incumbent