President-elect Joe Biden has picked the first transgender person to serve at the U.S. cabinet level, naming Rachel Levine as federal assistant health secretary, according to Business Insider on Wednesday.
Levine's selection comes the day before Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take their oath of office on Jan. 20 at noon. Their transition team has been announcing the choice for cabinet members and the formation of White House personnel since Biden was projected to win the U.S. presidential election in November last year.
Levine, Pennsylvania's top health official as Secretary of Health, spent the past year as the public face of the state's Covid-19 response amid some backlash. "I have no room in my heart for hatred, and frankly I don't have time for intolerance," Levine said in July last year, in response to continued assault on her identity.
"Dr. Levine is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration's health efforts ... she'll bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic," Biden said in a statement.
A graduate of Harvard and of Tulane Medical School, Levine is president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy for Eating Disorders, and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.
Biden will take on multiple crises, wth the the biggest being the coronavirus that has now claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 people in the U.S.
He has said he wants to see 100 million Americans immunized during his first 100 days in office and will seek billions of dollars from the House to fund mass inoculation facilities across the country.