Gov. Wolf Nominates Successor To Health Secretary Rachel Levine

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HARRISBURG, PA — Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday nominated his deputy chief of staff, Alison Beam, to be the state's new health secretary. She will replace Dr. Rachel Levine, who has been nominated by President Joe Biden to be assistant secretary of health in the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Beam will become acting health secretary on Saturday.

“Alison knows that a strong, widely available, and successful vaccination strategy is the path out of the pains of this pandemic," Wolf said in a prepared statement.

Wolf said Beam's immediate priority will be to ensure that Pennsylvania receives as many doses of the coronavirus vaccine as possible from the federal government. She also will focus on having the health department "coordinate with hospitals, health centers, county and local governments and pharmacy partners to make this vaccine as widely available as possible to Pennsylvanians."

Beam has helped coordinate the administration’s pandemic response; the rollout of Pennie, Pennsylvania’s health insurance marketplace; the Reach Out PA campaign; and the Wolf administration’s health care reform plan. She has worked extensively with Pennsylvania’s departments of health, human services, drug and alcohol programs, aging and insurance.

Beam has a law degree from Drexel University and has a bachelor's degree in health policy and administration from Pennsylvania State University. She previously served as director of public policy and associate counsel for Independence Health Group in Philadelphia.

Wolf also nominated Dr. Wendy Braund to be acting physician general, a position Levine also held.

Braund currently is the COVID-19 response director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Previously, she was the director of the Center for Public Health Practice, associate dean for practice, and a health policy and management professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

“Wendy brings years of public health expertise and a commitment to improving public health practice in Pennsylvania to the role of Interim Acting Physician General,” Wolf said. “Wendy has been an integral part of our COVID-19 pandemic response efforts, and that experience will be an asset in this role.”

Levine was nominated by Biden on Tuesday, the day before he was inaugurated as the nation's 46th president. She could become the first openly transgender official to be confirmed by the Senate.

"Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond," Biden said in announcing the nomination. "She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration's health efforts."




This article originally appeared on the Pittsburgh Patch

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