Historic first as Biden to nominate trans doctor as Assistant Health Secretary

Joe Biden has announced that he is nominating health expert Dr Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.


President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Dr Rachel Levine, a health expert from Pennsylvania who is trans, to be assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

When appointed, Dr Levine would make history as the first openly trans federal official to win Senate confirmation in the United States.

Dr Levine is the current secretary of health in Pennsylvania where she leads the state’s COVID-19 strategy. She began her career as a paediatrician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She is also a professor at the Penn State College of Medicine.

“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 about the nomination.

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.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said, “Dr Rachel Levine is a remarkable public servant with the knowledge and experience to help us contain this pandemic, and protect and improve the health and well-being of the American people. President-elect Biden and I look forward to working with her to meet the unprecedented challenges facing Americans and rebuild our country in a way that lifts everyone up.”

Throughout the US elections 2020 which saw victory for Biden, there was a clear demand for diverse voices in politics as the nation saw the rise of a massive rainbow wave.

National Press Secretary of Human Rights Campaign, Sarah McBride became America’s first openly trans state senator with a historic victory in her race for Delaware State Senate in November.

Civil rights attorney Michele Rayner-Goolsby became the first Black queer woman to win a seat in the Florida legislature.

The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States on January 20 in a ceremony where 1,000 people will be in attendance. Trump, who was impeached by the House of Representatives last week, is breaking with 150 years of tradition and will not attend the inauguration.

Biden called Trump’s decision not to attend “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on.”

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