Rachel Leland Levine (//; born October 28, 1957) 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. 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. Levine is one of only a few openly transgender government officials in the United States, and is the first to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation. On October 19, 2021, Levine became the first openly transgender four-star officer in the nation's eight uniformed services. She is also the first female four-star admiral in the commissioned corps.
|17th Assistant Secretary for Health|
|Assumed office |
March 26, 2021
|Preceded by||Brett Giroir|
|Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health|
July 2017 – January 23, 2021
|Preceded by||Karen Murphy|
|Succeeded by||Alison Beam (acting)|
|Born||October 28, 1957|
(m. 1988; div. 2013)
|Education||Harvard University (BS)|
Tulane University (MD)
|Branch/service||United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps|
|Years of service||2021–present|
Early life and education
Born on October 28, 1957, Levine is originally from Wakefield, Massachusetts. Her parents, Melvin and Lillian Levine, were both lawyers. She has a sister, Bonnie Levine, who is four years older. Levine is Jewish and grew up attending Hebrew school. Levine earned a 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 Manhattan, New 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. She was in charge of the latter when she was nominated for the position of Pennsylvania Physician General in 2015.
Pennsylvania Department of Health
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.
During 2020 and until January 23, 2021, Levine led the public health response on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania as the state secretary of health. She worked closely on a daily basis with the FEMA director and led a daily press briefing.
On February 13, 2021, President Joe Biden formally nominated Levine to be assistant secretary for health. Her confirmation hearing was on February 25 with the Senate HELP Committee. On March 17, the committee voted 13–9 to advance the nomination to a full Senate vote. On March 24, the Senate voted 52–48, with two Republicans joining all members of the Democratic caucus, to confirm her nomination. She is the first openly transgender person to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation; earlier transgender federal officials like Amanda Simpson held offices which did not require Senate confirmation.
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. She is also the first female four-star admiral in the PHSCC.
Levine has two children. She transitioned in 2011. Levine and her ex-wife, Martha Peaslee Levine, married in 1988, during Levine's last year of medical school, and divorced in 2013. She has served as a board member of Equality Pennsylvania, an LGBT rights organization.
Awards and decorations
- Fassbender, Laura; Zander, Gwendolyn B.; Levine, Rachel L. (July 2019). "Beyond rescue, treatment, and prevention: understanding the broader impact of the opioid epidemic at the state level". The American Journal of Managed Care. 25 (13 Suppl): S239–S240. PMID 31361432.
- Ashburn, Michael A.; Levine, Rachel L. (October 1, 2017). "Pennsylvania State Core Competencies for Education on Opioids and Addiction". Pain Medicine. 18 (10): 1890–1894. doi:10.1093/pm/pnw348. PMID 28339890. S2CID 205292295.
- Mahr, Fauzia; Farahmand, Pantea; Bixler, Edward O.; Domen, Ronald E; Moser, Eileen M.; Nadeem, Tania; Levine, Rachel L.; Halmi, Katherine A. (May 2015). "A national survey of eating disorder training: National Survey of Eating Disorder Training". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 48 (4): 443–445. doi:10.1002/eat.22335. PMID 25047025.
- McFillin, R. K.; Cahn, S. C.; Burks, V. S.; Levine, M. P.; Loney, S. L.; Levine, R. L. (2012). "Social Information-Processing and Coping in Adolescent Females Diagnosed With an Eating Disorder: Toward a Greater Understanding of Control". Eating Disorders. 20 (1): 42–59. doi:10.1080/10640266.2012.635565. PMID 22188059. S2CID 205730298. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
- Levine, M. M. P.; Levine, R. L. (2010). "Chapter 7 – Psychiatric Medication: Management, Myths, and Mistakes". In Maine, M.; McGilley, B. H.; Bunnell, D. W. (eds.). Treatment of Eating Disorders; Bridging the Research – Practice Gap. Academic Press. pp. 111–126. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-375668-8.10007-5. ISBN 978-0-12-375668-8.
- Levine, M. P.; Gershenson, B.; Falkinburg, K.; Levine, R. (April 30 – May 2, 2009). Eating disorders in anabaptist patients: Offering insights into the etiology of eating disorders (PDF). International Conference on Eating Disorders 2009. Cancun, Mexico: Academy for Eating Disorders. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
- Levine, M. P.; Levine, R. L. (March 4, 2008). "The Medical Minute: Eating disorder awareness". Penn State News. Hershey, PA. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
- Peters, T. E.; Parvin, M.; Petersen, C.; Faircloth, V. C.; Levine, R. L. (2007). "A case report of Wernicke's encephalopathy in a pediatric patient with anorexia nervosa – restricting type". Journal of Adolescent Health. 40 (4): 376–383. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.11.140. PMID 17367738. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
- Levine, R. L. (2002). "Endocrine aspects of eating disorders in adolescents". Adolescent Medicine. 13 (1): 129–144. PMID 11841960. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
- Ostrov, B. E.; Levine, R. L. (1998). "16. Interactions of puberty with rheumatic diseases, contraception and gynaecological issues". In Isenberg, D. K.; Miller, J. J. III (eds.). Adolescent Rheumatology. Taylor & Francis. pp. 301–324. ISBN 978-1-853-17553-4.
- Henderson, C. J.; Ostrov, B. E.; Levine, R. L.; Lovell, D. J. (1998). "17. Nutrition and the adolescent with rheumatic disease". In Isenberg, D. K.; Miller, J. J. III (eds.). Adolescent Rheumatology. Taylor & Francis. pp. 325–340. ISBN 978-1-853-17553-4.
- "LGBT History Month – October 22: Rachel Levine". Q-Notes. October 22, 2018. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
- Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) (March 26, 2021). "Rachel L. Levine, M.D." HHS.gov. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Weissert, Will (January 19, 2021). "Biden picks transgender woman as assistant health secretary". AP News. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- 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.
- 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.
- Casey, John (October 19, 2021). "Dr. Rachel Levine Is Now First Trans 4-Star Admiral in U.S. History". Advocate. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Jewish woman welcomed as transgender, state's new physician general". Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. June 24, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- "Dr. Rachel Levine '75 Offers Timely Message for Students". Belmont Hill School. October 24, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
- 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.
- "Meet the Transgender Doctor Leading Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Response". www.advocate.com. March 31, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
- DeJesus, Ivey (March 19, 2020). "Who is Rachel Levine? Pa. health secretary offers calm, reassurance amid pandemic". WITF. PennLive.
- Diamond, Dan; Schmidt, Samantha. "Rachel Levine, historic transgender nominee, confirmed as assistant health secretary". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
- "Trans doctor Rachel Levine faces historic Senate confirmation hearing". the Guardian. February 25, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
- 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.
- "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 117th Congress - 1st Session". www.senate.gov. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
- Burns, Katelyn (January 22, 2021). "Dr. Rachel Levine's historic appointment to the Biden administration, explained". Vox. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
- Johnson, Chris (January 19, 2021). "Rachel Levine tapped to become first out transgender Senate-confirmed official". Washington Blade. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
- "Inside Tulane Med". tmaaarchive.tulane.edu. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
- 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.
- "resume www.writerdoc.com". December 29, 2008. Archived from the original on December 29, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
- Levine, Martha Peaslee (November 5, 2013). "How Do You Measure Your Life?". Psychology Today.
- 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.
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