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National Black Justice Coalition Praises Dr. Rachel Levine’s Appointment to Department of Health and Human Services 

Dr. Levine is the First Openly Transgender Federal Official Confirmed by the U.S. Senate in American History

CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro |

WASHINGTON, DC — Moments ago, the Senate voted to confirm Pennsylvania’s current secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine, as the next assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Dr. Levine will oversee health offices and programs across the department, ten regional health offices nationwide, the Office of the Surgeon General, and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She is the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate in American history and is now the highest-ranking transgender official in the United States government.

In response, David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ and same gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people, issued the following statement: 

“Dr. Rachel Levine’s appointment to the Department of Health and Human Services is nothing short of historic. We applaud the Senate for voting to confirm Dr. Levine and extend our most heartfelt congratulations to her on this monumental occasion.

After four years of a presidential administration that attacked protections for transgender people in health care, employment, federal prisons, education and housing, Dr. Levine’s appointment is a welcome sign of change, and proof positive that the Biden/Harris Administration is committed to democratizing the response to our nation’s public health crises.

“Throughout her career, Dr. Levine has fought on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community for our rights to equitable treatment and representation in healthcare. As Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, her response to COVID-19, efforts to address the opioid crisis, and the work her team has done to fight HIV/AIDS prove that she will be an effective and assertive advocate for all Americans. 

“We are confident that she will continue to do so as the highest-ranking transgender public official serving everyone in the United States.”

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.