Rachel Levine
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Rachel Levine
Rachel Levine
Gov. Wolf, Sec. of Health Outline COVID-19 Mitigation Guidance for Montgomery County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - 49652680833.jpg
Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Health

July 2017
Tom Wolf
GovernorTom Wolf
Personal details
Richard L. Levine

1957 (age 62–63)
Spouse(s)Martha Peaslee Levine (div. 2013)
ChildrenDavid Levine & Dayna Levine
Alma materHarvard University
Tulane University

Rachel L. Levine (born Richard L. Levine in 1957)[1][2] is an American pediatrician currently serving as the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health. She also serves as Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. She was previously Pennsylvania's Physician General. She is one of only a handful of openly transgender government officials in the United States.[3]

Early Life and Education

Levine is originally from Wakefield, Massachusetts.[4] she is Jewish, grew up attending Hebrew School and had a Bar Mitzvah. While growing up, she did not speak to her Rabbi about LGBT issues. [5]

Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine and completed a residency in pediatrics and fellowship in adolescent medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center.


Mount Sinai Hospital

Levine had a fellowship at New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital from 1988 to 1993[4] where she trained in pediatrics[6].

Penn State Hershey Medical Center

After moving from Manhattan to central Pennsylvania in 1993,[4] she joined the staff at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. She had, by 2014, become a "top doctor"[3] at the facility. During her tenure there, she had created Penn State Hershey Medical Center's adolescent medicine division, and eating disorders clinic. She was in charge of the latter when she was nominated for the position of Pennsylvania Physician General in 2015.[4]

Physician General

In 2015, Levine was nominated by Governor-elect Tom Wolf to be Pennsylvania's Physician General.[3] She served in this post until 2017.

Secretary of Health

In July 2017 Governor Wolf appointed Levine as Secretary of Health.[7] She was unanimously confirmed[3] by the state's Republican-controlled legislature.

Opioid epidemic

Levine signed an order that allowed law enforcement officers to carry the anti-overdose medication naloxone. She has credited the drug with saving the lives of almost 1,000 opioid users who had overdosed.[3]

2020 coronavirus pandemic

Levine briefing COVID-19 measures with Gov. Tom Wolf on March 13, 2020

As the state secretary of health, she leads the public health response on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania [1]. She works closely on a daily basis with the FEMA director and leads a daily press briefing.

On March 21 Levine said during a press conference "A state-wide shelter in place was not out of the question."[7].

2020 coronavirus nursing home scandal

Levine was accused of removing her own mother from a "personal care" home, despite calling for nursing homes throughout the Commonwealth to readmit residents testing positive for Coronavirus after they were declared healthy enough to leave the hospital.[8]

Levine's defense in the face of this accusation was that personal care homes do not fall under the jurisdiction of her own agency, despite the fact that nursing homes and personal care homes are very similar and both pose significant health risks if they readmit COVID-positive residents released from hospitals.[9]


Levine has served as a board member of Equality Pennsylvania, an LGBT rights organization.[3]

Personal life

She was previously married and has 2 children, David and Dayna.[10][11] She made the decision to transition (from man to woman) in 2011. Levine and her wife, Martha Peaslee Levine,[12][11] divorced in 2013 but remain "good friends".[13] When she transitioned, she chose the name Rachel for its similarity to her birth name, Richard; she later learned that her parents had planned to name her Rachel, had she been born female.[3]

Levine is an avid fan of the New England Patriots.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Meet Rachel Levine, the Health Secretary Leading the Coronavirus Battle in Pennsylvania". Philadelphia Magazine. 2020-04-14. Retrieved .
  2. ^ Wenner, David (2015-03-20). "Transgender physician general Dr. Rachel Levine addresses conference, reaches out to transgender youth". pennlive. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Zezima, Katie (June 1, 2016). "Meet Rachel Levine, one of the very few transgender public officials in America". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 29 March 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Choi-Schagrin, Winston (March 20, 2020). "A 2018 Q&A with Dr. Rachel Levine, now leading state's coronavirus response [from The Caucus archives]". LancasterOnline. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Jewish woman welcomed as transgender, state's new physician general". The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh. 2015-06-24. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Meet the Transgender Doctor Leading Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Response". www.advocate.com. 2020-03-31. Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b "Who is Rachel Levine? Pa. health secretary offers calm, reassurance amid pandemic". PA Post. 2020-03-19. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Stimson, Brie (2020-05-13). "Pennsylvania health official draws fire after her mother leaves care facility as coronavirus patients return". Fox News. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Health Secretary Rachel Levine's removal of mom from care home amid epidemic draws scrutiny". pennlive. 2020-05-14. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "more about me www.writerdoc.com". web.archive.org. 2008-12-29. Retrieved .
  11. ^ a b "Inside Tulane Med". tmaaarchive.tulane.edu. Retrieved .
  12. ^ "resume www.writerdoc.com". web.archive.org. 2008-12-29. Retrieved .
  13. ^ "How Do You Measure Your Life?". Psychology Today. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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