Joe Biden appoints transgender woman undersecretary of Health

US President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine to be his Under Secretary for Health, putting her on track to become the first transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

South Florida / diariolasamerica

Levine, a pediatrician and former Pennsylvania Chief Health Officer, was appointed as the state’s secretary of health by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017, making her one of the few transgender people in appointed positions nationwide at the time. She was confirmed for the job by the Republican-dominated Pennsylvania Senate and has emerged as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the strong leadership and essential experience we need to help people overcome this pandemic, regardless of their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability,” Biden said in a statement. “She is a historic and deeply qualified voice to lead the Health efforts of our administration.”

A graduate of Harvard and Tulane School of Medicine, Levine is president of the Association of State and Territory Health Officials. He has written articles on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, teen medicine, nutritional issues, and medicine for the LGBTQ community.

Biden and his transition team have already begun negotiating with congressmen, promoting accelerated approval of a $ 1.9 trillion plan by the president-elect to combat the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 400,000 people in the United States. The plan seeks to recruit federal emergency personnel to run mass vaccination centers and provide 100 million immunizations in the first 100 days of his administration, as well as federal spending to stimulate the battered economy.

Biden further says that, in one of his first acts as president, he will ask Americans to wear face masks for 100 days to slow the spread of the virus.

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