Joe Biden has appointed Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, putting her on course to be the first trans official to be approved by the US Senate (Pictures: AP)
Incoming President Joe Biden has made history by picking a transgender doctor for a top government health post. Rachel Levine is set to serve as assistant secretary of health if her appointment is confirmed by the US Senate, and will become the first trans official ever confirmed by senators if so.
Announcing plans for Levine’s appointment, Biden acknowledged she is a ‘historic’ pick, but added that the medic was a ‘deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.’
He added: ‘Dr Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond.’
Levine’s role is set to be one of the most visible during the initial months of Biden’s administration, as the new president works to tackle the Covid pandemic that has so-far killed 400,000 Americans.
Levine, a Harvard educated doctor who is currently the top health official in Pennsylvania, will help lead Biden’s efforts to tackle the Covid pandemic (Picture: AP)
Levine currently works as health secretary for the State of Pennsylvania, having been appointed to the role by Penn State Governor Tom Wolf in 2017. The Harvard-educated medic began her career as a pediatrician, and also served as Pennsylvania’s physician general.
She will be a key part of Biden’s $1.3trillion plan to try and stem infections, which aims to provide 100million vaccines in his first 100 days in office.
Biden says he will ask Americans to wear face masks over the same period, while also attempting to stimulate the shattered economy.
On Monday evening, Biden’s incoming press secretary Jen Psaki took issue with President Trump’s plan to lift a ban on travelers from the UK, Europe and Brazil on January 26.
Psaki said the ban would remain in place – despite Biden criticizing Trump for it when it was first imposed in March 2020.
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