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Statement on Historic Nomination of Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary for Health

Rachel Levine, holding the 2017 GLMA Achievement Award, stands next to former GLMA President Rebecca Allison and GLMA Executive Director Hector Vargas

Update, January 27, 2021: GLMA joined with more than 350 organizations across the US in urging the Senate to swiftly confirm Rachel Levine, MD, to the position of Assistant Secretary for Health. We were proud to sign onto a letter coordinated by the National LGBT Cancer Network, Fenway Health, and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBTQ Community Center, detailing Levine's impeccable credentials and preparedness to serve as Assistant Secretary for Health. The letter touts her as "the best possible candidate."

On January 19, 2021, President-elect Joseph Biden announced that he will nominate Rachel Levine, MD, to serve as Assistant Secretary for Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services. If confirmed, Dr. Levine will be the first openly transgender official confirmed by the US Senate. GLMA President Scott Nass, MD, MPA, and Executive Director Hector Vargas, JD, issued the following statement on this historic nomination:

“Rachel Levine’s exemplary record leading Pennsylvania’s response to COVID-19 make her uniquely qualified to serve as Assistant Secretary for Health, a position responsible for protecting the entire nation’s public health. As Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health and throughout her entire career as a healthcare provider, Dr. Levine has been a dedicated public servant following the medical and scientific evidence to develop and implement policies and programs to advance health and well-being for all Pennsylvanians.

“She will bring the same dedication, reliance on science and commitment to inclusion as Assistant Secretary for Health. Her expertise and experiences will be invaluable as she tackles the formidable public health crises affecting our nation.

“Dr. Levine is a role model for all public servants and a trailblazer among LGBTQ health professionals earning her recognition as a GLMA Achievement Award recipient in 2017. GLMA and its members praise President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for this historic nomination, and call on the US Senate to swiftly confirm Dr. Levine as the next Assistant Secretary for Health.”


Rachel Levine, MD, currently serves as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, making her the highest ranking openly transgender government official in Pennsylvania and one of the highest in the nation. She previously served as the state’s Physician General and in that position made significant strides combatting the opioid epidemic and led a governor’s workgroup charged with creating programs and processes that are fair and inclusive in healthcare, health insurance and many other areas. Dr. Levine is also Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine.


In 2017, GLMA recognized Dr. Levine for her accomplishments as a healthcare provider and public health official by presenting her with the GLMA Achievement Award at the GLMA Annual Conference on LGBTQ Health held in Philadelphia.

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