President-elect Joe Biden announced Tuesday he had chosen Dr. Rachel Levine to serve as the assistant secretary of health for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Levine, born Richard Levine, is an openly transgender individual and would mark the first transgender official confirmed by the United States Senate, if approved.
Levine is currently the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in charge of the local response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts,” Biden said in a statement, praising Levine’s “steady leadership and essential expertise.”
Levine served as a controversial public official in Pennsylvania leveling business and restaurant lockdowns and bans and defending them as a critical way to stop the spread of the virus.
Levine drew criticism for months for allowing “stable” coronavirus patients to be returned to nursing homes during the pandemic, receiving blame