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Joe Biden nominates out-transgender Dr. Rachel Levine as Asst. Secretary of Health

Gov. Tom Wolf with Dr. Rachel Levine. Youtube Screenshot.

Continuing to make good on his promise of a diverse administration, President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Dr. Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary of Health.

Levine studied at Harvard before becoming a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She worked there more than a decade before Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf nominated her as Physician General of the state in 2015. She served in the role until 2017 when Wolf nominated her as Secretary of Heath. She was unanimously confirmed to the role by a Republican-led Senate in the state.

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Levine has shown off her skills during the COVID-19, and won praise for her handling of the pandemic. She played an instrumental role in working with the drug store chain CVS to offer free COVID-19 testing to all nursing facilities across the state, established mandatory mask orders, and developed a comprehensive plan for vaccine rollout. If confirmed by the Senate, Levine will play a crucial role in the rollout of Biden’s new COVID-19 management plan, which he made a cornerstone of his campaign and which he will institute over his first 100 days in office.

“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 of Levine’s nomination in a statement. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

Rachel Levine also made headlines in 2020 when she became the target of attacks by Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis. Ellis purposely misgendered Levine in an August 2020 tweet. “This guy is making decisions about your health,” Ellis wrote at the time. The incident earned condemnation from Levine as well as LGBTQ rights groups who called out Ellis on her past support of conversion therapy and assertions that HIV is God’s punishment of queer people.