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AAP Fellow chosen as assistant health secretary

January 19, 2021

Rachel L. Levine, M.D., FAAP, has been chosen by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Levine is secretary of health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine and president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She could become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

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

Dr. Levine is a member of the AAP Section on Adolescence and the AAP Pennsylvania Chapter. Last year, she received the Child Health Advocate Award from the AAP Committee on State Government Affairs. She also is a Fellow of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and the Academy for Eating Disorders.

"Dr. Levine has risen to unprecedented challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to support the children and families of Pennsylvania, and we know her leadership and expertise will be invaluable as our country works to overcome this crisis, " AAP Pennsylvania Chapter President Trude Haecker, M.D., FAAP, said in a news release.

Dr. Levine previously served as physician general of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At Penn State Hershey Medical Center, she was vice chair for clinical affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders.

Dr. Levine holds degrees from Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine and completed her training in pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

Biden’s selection of Dr. Levine came just days after he chose David A. Kessler, M.D., FAAP, as chief science officer of COVID response.

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