Rachel Levine is an American pediatrician serving as the Pennsylvania State Secretary of Health. She is also a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She has been previously the Physician General of Pennsylvania. As such, she has extensive knowledge of critical care, cardiology, gastroenterology, and infectious disease. In her role as Secretary of Health, she is responsible for implementing policies concerning quality and safety in the health care industry, as well as ensuring patient access to healthcare.
We are fortunate that Rachel has agreed to share her story in our publication Pediatric: Eating Disorders and Career Development. She is a beloved mother, wife, and medical professional who has overcome her challenges. Rachel grew up in poverty in rural Pennsylvania and was homeschooled most of her childhood. She was a textbook example of what it means to be a good child. She gained a superior grade average throughout her educational career at Penn State University.
Rachel was appointed as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health by Governor Tom Corbett. This position is one of the highest appointments in the state, with tremendous responsibility. In this role, she oversees programs that include prevention, coordinating, and serving those with long-term conditions, such as obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease, and strokes. She is also responsible for implementing measures to promote healthy lifestyles for Penn State’s workforce.
While serving in her capacity as secretary of health, Rachel dealt with many issues facing Pennsylvania residents as a result of the recession. One such issue was teenage pregnancy, which was exacerbated by a lack of education about birth control methods. Another was the high rate of substance abuse among young people. Both of these issues came under the agenda of the President-elect’s Health Care Task Force.
As the first openly transgender federal employee, Rachel Levine received an outpouring of support from across the country. This support came from colleagues in the transgendered community, as well as supporters of the president-elect. She was confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in January 2009. Thereafter, she served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Housing in the first few months of the Obama Administration until she was confirmed as secretary of Health and Human Services. Since then, she has been honored with numerous awards and accomplishments.
In terms of a doctorate, Levine has achieved distinction in both fields of study. Her dissertation in the field of sociology and demography, The Transgender Communities: Making History in the Age of Medical Science, earned her a Doctor of Medicine, and she has concurrently held positions as a scholar in the History department at American University and Temple University. As a resident student, she pursued a course entitled “Feminist Theory and Medical Transnationalism.”
As a student, she wrote a thesis on the topic entitled “Solving the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in a Woman’s Community: The Case of Transgender Women of Color.” As a student, she also pursued courses on lesbian studies, history of nursing, radiology, anthropology, women’s studies, and sociology. If you would like to see how all these courses unfold, you can review her curriculum vitae.
During her tenure as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Levine also served as the first openly transgender federal employee to be confirmed by the Obama administration. Her appointment as Assistant Secretary of HUD was welcomed by members of both parties in congress. Many congressmen feel that having someone who is transgendered in a high position in the federal government is good for the country. Others opposed her appointment, saying that it smacked of insensitivity towards the transgender community. After all, there are already numerous female secretaries of state throughout the country.
If confirmed as Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary of state, Levine will be responsible for implementing policies put forth by President Obama’s administration regarding the management and regulation of the vast elements of our social welfare system. Her main responsibilities will consist of serving as chief counsel to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as acting as the department’s chief compliance officer.
She will also be responsible for implementing and managing all the agency’s rules and regulations. She will also oversee the whole day to day work of the Department’s Public Health Services Division. If you live in or around Philadelphia, and you’re interested in learning more about her background, you can find a wealth of information online, including her curriculum vitae.
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