Dr. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will deliver the keynote address at the College of Public Health and School of Social Work graduation ceremony on May 6.
In March, Dr. Levine was appointed to serve in the Biden Administration as assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services, making history as the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate. Prior to this appointment, she served as Secretary of Health and Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and was a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Penn State’s College of Medicine, where she taught on topics such as adolescent medicine, eating disorders and LGBT medicine.
Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training in pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City, where she focused her practice on the intersection of mental and physical health in children, adolescents and young adults. She later joined Penn State Hershey Medicine Center, leading the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders.
In 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf nominated Dr. Levine to be Pennsylvania’s physician general, and she was unanimously confirmed by Pennsylvania’s state Senate. In 2017, Dr. Levine was named acting secretary of health. During her time in state government, Dr. Levine worked to address Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis, focus attention on maternal health and improve immunization rates among children. Notably, she expanded access to the overdose reversal drug Naloxone through a standing order that allowed law enforcement to carry the drug and Pennsylvanians to purchase it without a prescription from their doctor.
Dr. Levine is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders. She was also the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. In addition to her recent posts in medicine and government, Dr. Levine has authored numerous publications on the opioid crisis, adolescent medicine, eating disorders and LGBT medicine.
The graduation ceremony will take place on May 6 at 9:30 a.m. Due to health and safety protocols, only graduating students are permitted to attend the ceremony; guests may view a livestream on the college’s website (the page will be updated on May 6 with a link to the video).