State and Territorial Health Leaders Commend Selection of Rachel Levine for Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services

January 19, 2021

ARLINGTON, VA—The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) commends President-Elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Rachel Levine, MD, to serve as Assistant Secretary for Health at the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Levine currently serves as Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is president of ASTHO.

“Rachel’s leadership will prove invaluable at this pivotal moment in public health. She is a dynamic leader with extensive experience working with federal, state, local, and territorial public health officials throughout the country to address America’s most pressing health issues,” says Michael Fraser, CEO of ASTHO. “She has taken huge strides in combating the opioid epidemic, advancing LGBTQ equity, protecting rural health, and now leading Pennsylvania’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dr. Levine joined Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration in January 2015 as the Physician General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and served from 2015 to 2017. She was named Acting Secretary of Health in July 2017 and confirmed as Secretary of Health in March 2018. Her previous posts included: Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

A Massachusetts native, Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College, and later from the Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training in pediatrics at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City and completed a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Mt. Sinai. She then practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine in New York City and was on the faculty of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She came to Pennsylvania in 1993 as the director of Ambulatory Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Polyclinic Medical Center. She joined the staff at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center in 1996 as the director of Pediatric Ambulatory Services and Adolescent Medicine. In 2015, Dr. Levine was nominated by Wolf to be Pennsylvania's physician general. In both 2017 and 2020, Dr. Levine was recognized as one of NBC's Pride 30, a national list of 30 people who are both members of and making a difference in the lives of the LGBTQ community.

"We could not be more thrilled for Dr. Levine," says Fraser. "Throughout her entire career, Dr. Levine has led with a discerning blend of urgency, expertise, and compassion.”

ASTHO urges the Senate to swiftly consider and promptly confirm Dr. Rachel Levine to the position of HHS Assistant Secretary for Health.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.