HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Wolf (D) has announced that Dr. Rachel Levine is his his choice for Physician General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Levine would be the highest-ranked transgender woman in Pennsylvania state government history.
Levine’s function will be to advise the Governor as well as the Secretary of State and Department of Health on medical and public health-related issues, reports Penn Live.
She is currently the chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where she also serves as a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry.
“Dr. Levine will bring expertise and wide-ranging knowledge to this important role advising the secretary of Health and me on medical and public health matters,” said Wolf, in a statement on Saturday.
“She has been a leading voice in efforts to treat teens with medical and psychological problems, as well as adults and children with eating disorders. It is important to me that we place equal emphasis on behavioral and physical health issues,” he said.
Dr. Levine will bring expertise and wide-ranging knowledge to this important role advising the secretary of Health and me on medical and public health matters.”
Levine, who transitioned about five years ago, told Penn Live that her decision to do so was “life changing.”
“I’ve been addressing that issue all my life,” Levine said. “You don’t suddenly decide at 50-something that you’re transgender. Over the last 10 years, I’ve been investigating that and exploring that.”Levine currently serves as the liaison for LGBT Affairs for the Penn State Hershey Office of Diversity, where she mentors and assists LGBT students, faculty and staff, and acts as faculty advisor for the university’s LGBT student group. She is also a board member of Equality Pennsylvania.
The physician general position is not confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate and has not typically been a member of governors’ cabinets. A spokesman for Wolf said Levine could become a member of the Cabinet or remain as a senior adviser to Wolf.