Press Room

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine New ASTHO President

ARLINGTON, VA (July 16, 2020)—The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) announced the appointment of Rachel Levine, MD, secretary of health at the Pennsylvania Department of Health and professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, as ASTHO’s new president, effective July 15.

"I look forward to serving as president of this organization and working with my colleagues to meet needs and create opportunities at the state, territorial, and local levels," says Dr. Levine. "Now more than ever, ASTHO is an essential voice in the public health conversation, and I look forward to the opportunity to help guide the growing discussion around public health equity and advancement."

Dr. Levine has served as the secretary of health at the Pennsylvania Department of Health since 2017. She previously served as the physician general of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, where she emerged as an urgent voice in the fight against the opioid epidemic, leading efforts to establish opioid prescribing guidelines and education for medical students in the state. She is also a committed advocate of the LGBTQ population, having led an LGBTQ workgroup for the governor's office, which has created fair and inclusive programs and processes in healthcare, insurance, and other key areas. 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.

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 Governor-elect Tom Wolf to be Pennsylvania's physician general.

"We could not be more thrilled to have Dr. Levine serving as our new president," says Michael Fraser, CEO of ASTHO. "Throughout her entire career, Dr. Levine has led with a discerning blend of urgency, expertise, and compassion. She has taken huge strides in combatting the opioid epidemic, advancing LGBTQ equity, and protecting rural health—among so much else. At this pivotal moment in public health, I am truly grateful to have Dr. Levine’s rich experience and visionary leadership at the helm."

Dr. Levine succeeds Nate Smith, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, who will become a deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention next month. 

###

ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, 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.