Published On: Tue, Jan 19th, 2021

Dr. Rachel Levine to Be First Transgender Cabinet Secretary

She is the current Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Rachel Levine — Courtesy of Biden transition team

Dr. Rachel Levine has been appointed by President-Elect Joe Biden to be America’s next Secretary of Health and Human Services. She will not only be the sixth Jewish member of President Biden’s cabinet, but the first transgender person to serve as a cabinet member in American history.

A native of Wakefield, Massachusetts, she has a B.A. from Harvard and a medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. Dr. Levine is divorced with two children. She transitioned in 2011.

This appointment will not only be historic, but it is also sure to be controversial. While LGBTQ groups will rejoice at this announcement, America’s religious conservatives will surely lament it. It will be interesting to see how many Republican Senators vote for her confirmation and if any member of the U.S. Senate will openly oppose the nomination simply because Dr. Levine is transgender.

Dr. Levine currently serves as Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is leading the state’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Levine was confirmed three times by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania state senate to serve as Secretary of Health and the state’s physician general.

She is also Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine and the President of ASTHO, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders.


In addition to her recent posts, Dr. Levine is also an accomplished regional and international speaker, and author on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBTQ+ medicine. Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

“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 statement.

“She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts,” he added.

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