Pennsylvania Governor Appoints First Transgender Woman to Top Cabinet Position

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Pennsylvania Governor Appoints First Transgender Woman to Top Cabinet Position

Nina Liss-Schultz

If chosen to serve in the governor’s cabinet, Rachel Levine, who has worked in the fields of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health for three decades, would become the highest-ranked transgender woman ever in the Pennsylvania government.

Rachel Levine, a doctor dedicated to diversity and LGBTQ health who is a transgender woman, has been appointed physician general by Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wolf. If chosen to serve in the governor’s cabinet, Levine, who has worked in the fields of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health for three decades, would become the highest-ranked transgender woman ever in the Pennsylvania government.

Though he couldn’t say for certain, a spokesperson from Wolf’s office told Philadelphia magazine that “he believes Levine is the first transgender woman to hold the title of physician general.”

Levine is the chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at Pennsylvania State University, where she also works for the Office of Diversity as the liaison for LGBT Affairs. Levine is also on the board of Equality Pennsylvania, an LGBT advocacy organization.

As physician general, Levine will advise Wolf, a Democrat, on medical and public health issues.

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Levine told PennLive.com that being transgender has given her a unique perspective for the position, saying she thinks “it has helped me in terms of … understanding what all the issues are [for the LGBT community]. And I think I’ve been able to serve as a mentor and role model to LGBT individuals at the medical center as well as in the community.”

Aside from Levine’s appointment, Wolf announced on Saturday appointments for secretary of human services and secretary of health, both of whom are expected to advocate for Medicaid expansion and aide in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.