Dr. Rachel Levine Named to USA Today’s Women of the Year List

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By Patrick Berkery

March 14, 2022

The nation’s highest ranking transgender official joins an esteemed list of honorees, including the vice president.

Former Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine has been named one of USA Today’s Women of the Year. 

Levine became the US assistant health secretary for the US Department of Health and Human Services and the admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps last year,  making her the nation’s highest ranking transgender official. 

As head of the USPHS Commissioned Corps, Levine leads more than 6,000 public health service officers who respond to health crises on behalf of the federal government.

Levine was confirmed as Pennsylvania’s physician general in 2015 and was appointed as the state’s secretary of health by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2018. After the GOP-majority state Senate approved Levine’s appointment 49-1, she became one of the few transgender people serving in elected or appointed positions at the state or federal levels.

As the state health secretary, Levine was one of the leading public voices in Pennsylvania’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, making her the subject of hateful online attacks and threats. 

Prior to serving Pennsylvania, Levine was the vice chairperson for clinical affairs at the Department of Pediatrics at Penn State Hershey Medical Center where she began the adolescent medicine division and eating disorders clinic.

“I really feel that everything I’ve ever done, whether it was in academic medicine, in education, in clinical research, seeing my patients in my role in public health, in Pennsylvania and now my role nationally, has all led to this moment in terms of helping the nation through this greatest public health crisis that we have faced in over a hundred years,” Levine told USA Today.

Other Women of the Year honorees include Vice President Kamala Harris, Olympic gymnast and mental health advocate Simone Biles, and philanthropist Melinda French Gates.

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