Washington, DC — In a historic vote on Wednesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Levine, an experienced pediatrician who has led Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Health since 2017, is the first openly transgender presidential nominee to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

During her tenure as Pennsylvania’s highest ranking health official and top doctor, Dr. Levine led the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as addressing the opioid and HIV epidemics and increasing the rate of childhood immunization. She has personally worked to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues, where discrimination creates barriers to healthcare access and healthcare quality.

GLAD congratulates Dr. Levine on her confirmation to this role. She has the opportunity to make an immense positive impact on the health of LGBTQ people, people living with HIV, and Americans as a whole. As our nation continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be well-served by Dr. Levine’s experience and expertise, as well as her commitment to ensuring that all LGBTQ people can access the healthcare they need. Dr. Levine’s confirmation and leading role at our nation’s federal health agency will also inspire a new generation of transgender youth by showing that there are no limits to what they can achieve.