Former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine is one of USA Today's Women of the Year | Health | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine is one of USA Today's Women of the Year

click to enlarge Former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine is one of USA Today's Women of the Year (2)
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Rachel Levine
Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania's former Health Secretary who coordinated the state's early response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been named as one of USA Today’s 2022 Women of the Year.

Levine, who is a trans woman, currently serves in the Biden Administration as Assistant Secretary of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, making her the highest-ranking openly transgender government official in the U.S.

USA Today describes their honorees as “strong and resilient women who have been champions of change across the country, leading and inspiring as they promote and fight for equity, and give others a place to seek help and find hope.” This year’s honorees also include Melinda Gates, Simone Biles, and Vice President Kamala Harris.


Levine, 64, is trained as a pediatrician and, throughout her career, has worked as an academic, a clinical researcher, a primary care physician, and as Pennsylvania's physician general and secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, according to USA Today.

“I really feel that everything I've ever done, whether it was in academic medicine, in education, in clinical research, seeing my patients in my role in public health, in Pennsylvania and now my role nationally," Levine tells USA Today, "has all led to this moment in terms of helping the nation through this greatest public health crisis that we have faced in over a hundred years."

Levine also used her spotlight as an opportunity to support women and girls of all backgrounds and identities.

"We need to be welcoming and celebratory for women of all aspects, of all sizes and shapes," she says. "And we have to work towards that compassion for all women and not put such an emphasis on thinness and appearance. I think that we need to work as a culture in the United States, but also globally, to be more compassionate and more accepting of girls and women, no matter what their size and shape."

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