A transgender individual has been tapped by President-Elect Joe Biden to be the assistant secretary of health.
In what some consider to be a “historic” event in which a person identifying as transgender would be serving in a federal position for the first time, Dr. Rachel Levine will be departing from the current Pennsylvania Health Secretary position.
Levine, who was born a biological male, serves under PA Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and was appointed to the position in 2017.
According to Nexstar, Levine has become known to many in Pennsylvania as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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.
Levine graduated from both Harvard and Tulane Medical School, and is president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Both Levine and Governor Wolf have faced severe criticism for what many believe to be a failure to handle the coronavirus pandemic, particularly when it came to draconian restrictions, procedures and risky containment tactics.
In 2020, Levine pursued the policy of forcing PA nursing homes to reabsorb Covid-positive patients.
According to Penn Live, Levine drew scrutiny after implementing the policies, all just as Levine’s 95-year-old mother was removed from a nursing home and put up in an upscale hotel.
Many critics demanded Levine resign.
“Our secretary of health, Dr. Levine, decided that it would be good to allow covid-positive patients to be returned to elder-care facitlies. And as a result of that, it broke out like fire,” said PA State Sen. Doug Mastriano in May of last year. “The very same people our secretary of health said were going to be vulnerable … It unleashed heck upon our dearly beloved fathers, mothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I think that’s unconscionable, unacceptable, and that secretary needs to be held accountable for that awful decision.”
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