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Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine to Address 2019 Graduates at Commencement
Throughout her career, Rachel L. Levine, MD, has focused her efforts on the connection between mental and physical health. As Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dr. Levine has made significant strides combating the opioid epidemic and advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ population.
In acknowledgment of these efforts, University of the Sciences will honor Dr. Levine bestowing upon her an honorary doctor of science degree at the 198th Commencement Ceremony on May 22, 2019 at 1 p.m. Dr. Levine will address the class of 2019's as their commencement speaker.
Dr. Levine joined the administration of Governor Tom Wolf in January 2015 as the Physician General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and served from 2015 to 2017 in that role. She was named acting Secretary of Health in July 2017 and confirmed as Secretary of Health in March 2018.
In her time as the top doctor for the Commonwealth, Dr. Levine has implemented policies that have impacted the future of the opioid epidemic, which her office describes as the worst public health crisis in Pennsylvania. in 2015, Dr. Levine signed a standing order prescription for naloxone, an opioid overdose reversing drug that has saved the lives of countless individuals. The standing order allows individuals to obtain the medication without having to see a medical professional for a prescription. She has been integral in educating the public about naloxone, how to use it, and how to obtain it.
Dr. Levine is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders. She is also a board member of ASTHO, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She is also an accomplished regional and international speaker and author on topics including the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBTQ medicine.
Her previous posts include working as vice chair for clinical affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital-Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training in pediatrics at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City and then did 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 Central 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.
Her accomplishments at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center include the initiation of a Division of Adolescent Medicine for the care of complex teens with medical and psychological problems. In addition, she started the Penn State Hershey Eating Disorders Program which offers multidisciplinary treatment for children, adolescents and adults with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. She was the Liaison for the LGBT community for the Office of Diversity at the Penn State College of Medicine. In that role, she established a LGBT faculty and staff affinity group and was the facilitator for the LGBT student group.
Dr. Levine teaches at the Penn State College of Medicine on topics in adolescent medicine, eating disorders and transgender medicine. In addition, she has lectured nationally and internationally and has published articles and chapters on these topics.