Meet Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Physician General
Dr. Levine is currently physician general for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. A graduate of Harvard College and Tulane University of School of Medicine, Dr. Levine has worked in the field of adolescent medicine since 1988. As Physician General, Dr. Levine advises the governor and the secretary of health on health policy, and participates in the decision-making process of other executive departments on medical and public health-related issues.
At the Department of Health, Dr. Levine has focused on Pennsylvania’s need to increase its childhood vaccination rates. The Department of Health’s “Don’t Wait. Vaccinate.” campaign urges all children to be fully vaccinated before they start school. Vaccines are among the most effective and safe tools available for preventing harm and death to children. Under Governor Wolf’s leadership, the Department of Health is working to ensure that we not only have ‘schools that teach’ but ‘healthy schools that teach’ in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Levine also serves as a lead in the Commonwealth’s efforts to combat the largest public health crisis in PA, the prevalence of opioid overdoses and deaths. Every day, Pennsylvania loses at least seven citizens to overdose deaths. Earlier this year, Dr. Levine signed a standing order to ensure that first responders, such as the Pennsylvania State Police and municipal fire companies, can carry and administer naloxone, a life-saving over-dose reversal medication. Dr. Levine worked with expert stakeholders to create opioid prescribing guidelines for dentists and doctors. She continues to support the work by the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, to ensure that treatment is available and opioid dependent individuals receive a facilitated referral, called a ‘warm hand-off,’ to recovery treatment.
Additionally, Dr. Levine will continue to utilize her position as physician general to call attention to the prevalence of eating disorders, the importance of suicide prevention among young people, and the significance of successful adolescent sexual health programs.