Tom Wolf Names Transgender Woman Physician General

Image courtesy of Penn State

Image courtesy of Penn State

On Saturday, Governor-Elect Tom Wolf released the names of four more members of his cabinet, one of which is a transgender woman, Dr. Rachel Levine, who will serve as his physician general.

Dr. Levine, a resident of Middletown, Pennsylvania, is currently a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where she also serves as chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders, a program she created on her own. She has also worked actively with the school’s Office of Diversity, mentoring LGBT students, faculty and staff, and she sits on the board of Equality PA.

In her role as physician general, Levine will advise the governor and secretary of the Department of Health on medical and public health-related issues. In a press release sent out this weekend, Wolf explains why he chose her for this position:

“Dr. Rachel Levine is well-respected in the fields of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health, where she has practiced for close to three decades. She has been a leading voice in efforts to treat teens with medical and psychological problems, as well as adults and children with eating disorders. It is important to me that we place equal emphasis on behavioral and physical health issues. Dr. Levine will bring expertise and wide-ranging knowledge to this important role advising the secretary of Health and me on medical and public health matters.”

A rep from Wolf’s office wasn’t able to confirm with 100 percent certainty, but he believes Dr. Levine is the first transgender woman to hold the title of physician general.

To read about Wolf’s other cabinet picks, go here.


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  • Louise Bruderle


  • Julie Chovanes

    Wonderful!!! Dr. Rachel Levine is a wonderful person and doctor and will be a tremendous asset to the Commonwealth and Wolf administration!

  • Katherine Wanner

    This is pretty awesome for many reasons. Dr. Levine was the first doctor that I found who was experienced enough and willing to start my hormone therapy when I first started to transition around 6 years ago. (her clinic in Hershey was an hour and a half away…there was/is basically little to no support for those transitioning in the area of Central Pa that I came from).

    After being turned down by half a dozen doctors someone finally gave me her practice as a reference. She and her staff were always very professional, compassionate and truly interested in my well being as a patient. In fact despite having suffered from Anorexia since I was a teenager she was the first Doctor to notice and confront me on my eating disorder (which I knew I had and thought I was handling…I wasn’t as I was still about 20 pounds underweight at the time). Because of this for the first time in 15 years I actually started getting the help I needed to get to and maintain a healthy weight as well as finally being able to start the hormone therapy that has vastly improved my life and sense of self.

    Between her impressive credentials and my own personal experience at her practice I can think of no one more qualified for the position. She deserves this and anyone who thinks otherwise has clearly not done their homework. I am very happy for her and feel a whole lot better about PA knowing that she’ll have this position in the coming years.

  • shazoo00oo!

    Love it!! Congratulations, Dr Levine!

  • janetstrausbaugh

    I knew Dr Levine before she transitioned and referred many eating disorder patients to her. It is always a plus to know that the physician you are referring to his a consummate, conscientious professional, as is Dr Levine. She is a great person, and an excellent physician.

  • Shel

    Even if being transgender were a mental illness – which it isn’t, educate yourself – there would be absolutely nothing wrong with a mentally ill person finding success and happiness in a career they are good at. Check the other comments. People are obviously pretty pleased with her work.

    • Goatmon

      Don’t feed the trolls, children.

  • Chica

    So sad. Sorry about your intolerance. I’ll pray for you ;)

  • Dr Levine…….You ma’am are a hero!!!! Twenty years from now, this will be so common that it will cease to be news. For now, we will take the positive publicity. Being trans, we truly are two-spirited, having lived in two worlds in one lifetime! As a doctor, this experience truly gives you impeccable qualifications!

  • Wow….where can I buy some of that “mental illness” you refer to? With her professional qualifications and experience, now add physician general to her resume, I could use some of that “mental illness” right about now.

    “desecrate their healthy body”: means there’s a TROLL CROSSING AHEAD

  • Valerie

    Bravo to Mr. Wolf and to Dr. Levine.

  • Fair warning — personal attacks and transphobic comments will be deleted.

    • rechill

      “Gentlemen! You can’t fight in here. This is the war room!”

    • dr_esq

      It’s good to know you fine folks have the intellectual integrity to censor differences of opinion.

      I’m sure your resident Bioethicists have all come to the unimpeachable conclusion that anyone who questions the sanity or ethics of sex “change” (as if that’s possible) is an evil bigot.

      Bravo! Or is it Brava? Or, hmmm, those are “gendered” words, aren’t they? Who knows anymore? One day you’re ho-humming along a perfectly normal person, next day… evil bigot!

      • pro104

        good pt but brava means spagetti in italian language

      • Guest Comment

        The very fact that the above comment has not yet been erased speaks to the neutrality of Philly mags comment policy and thus the redundancy of the comment above. By my interpretation, the above comment is neither a personal attack or directly transphobic. I am hoping the above comment is not erased, not because I agree with it, but rather because its existence on this site is in keeping with the comment policy that it attempts to mock. It’s a difficult position to uphold when people start claiming censorship but free speech is free speech and the act of keeping this comment demonstrates Philly mags consistent respect of this right.

        Good article!

  • Trailtrs1

    Re the above warning: only the speech that we favor will be free, the rest of you shut up and keep your beliefs to yourself.

    • We have a commenting policy, reproduced at the top of every thread: “We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive.” You can choose to follow it or not.

    • Christopher Warren


      ‘WAAAAAHHHH!!! I want to spew hate speech, but big, mean ol’ Philadelphia Magazine won’t let me spread my bigoted, ignorant crap!!! WAAAAAHHHH!!!’

  • A frog WAS a tadpole. A table WAS a tree. A panty WAS cotton. Dr. Levine WAS male. I WAS male. Guess what? None of us are whom we WERE.

    Get over it. Sex has and can be changed….for 7+ decades. Dr. Levine, myself and many of today’s trans sisters are not ashamed of our past; having been born male is not a shameful history, despite others best efforts to make it so. If we were ashamed we wouldn’t openly reveal our history. We do so because correcting a birth mistake is a medical, legal, necessary quality-of-life issue for me, Dr. Levine and the rest of my trans family. Who should be ashamed? Those who harbor transphobia, loathing, and disdain toward us. My recommendation? Focus your efforts on the real threats around us….thank you for your time. I now yield “the floor”.

    • Liz Spikol

      Great comment.

  • BonnieHalfElven

    Sounds like a good fit for the job. Congratulations to her and to Gov. Wolf.

  • Brittany

    This is probably the best thing I’ve heard all day long!