The U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services, the first out transgender federal official to be confirmed by the chamber.
The vote was 52-48. GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined all Democrats in voting yes.
Levine, a pediatrician, previously served as Pennsylvania's secretary of health and as physician general, the state's top health official and top doctor.
"The confirmation of Rachel Levine represents another important milestone for the American LGBT community," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. "As transgender Americans suffer higher rates of abuse, homelessness and depression than almost every other group, it's important to have national figures like Dr. Levine who by virtue of being in the public spotlight will help break down barriers of ignorance and fear."
After her nomination by President Joe Biden, Levine said she was proud of the work she's done to address the Covid pandemic and opioid epidemic, fight diseases like HIV, prevent diseases through childhood immunization and raise awareness of LGBT issues. She graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine, and completed her training in pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
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