Newswise — Reston, VA, April 5, 2021 – On the 24th of March 2021, the United States Senate confirmed Dr. Rachel Levine, a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), as Assistant Secretary of Health for the US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Levine has a breadth of expertise, making her an outstanding candidate for this position. Her appointment will also make history, as she is the first openly transgender federal official ever confirmed by the Senate in the US. She is also a passionate advocate of the effort to prevent and effectively treat eating disorders.

Dr. Levine has a wealth of knowledge and experience in physical and mental health, making her an important voice in the role of Assistant Secretary. Immediately prior to this appointment she served as Secretary of Health for the State of Pennsylvania. Dr. Levine’s accomplishments include significant contributions at the Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Centre, including care of complex teens with medical and psychological problems. She initiated the Division of Adolescent Medicine and started the Pennsylvania State University Hershey Eating Disorders Program, offering multidisciplinary treatment for individuals of all ages who are experiencing eating disorders. Dr. Levine also taught at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine on topics including adolescent medicine, eating disorders and transgender medicine. The historic nature of her appointment is a huge step forward for mental health, and for the eating disorder and LGBT communities, as Dr. Levine continues to represent and advocate for these populations. Her position will enable her to contribute much valued expertise, as well as help stop discrimination against LGBTQ communities, who will finally be able to see themselves reflected at the highest levels of government--a step closer to reflecting the diverse population it serves. Dr. Levine is recognized nationally and internationally for her lectures, academic publications, and work in adolescent medicine, eating disorders, transgender medicine, and LGBTQ advocacy.

Eating disorders are serious and life-threatening mental illnesses, which affect many people, including a significant proportion of transgender individuals or those who identify as LGBT (Watson et al., 2017). In response to the exciting news of Dr. Levine’s appointment, Dr. Jennifer Lundgren, President-Elect of AED, said “the entire AED community sends our congratulations to Dr. Levine and will continue to follow her contributions and support her work with much enthusiasm.”


Watson, R. J., Veale, J. F., & Saewyc, E. M. (2017). Disordered eating behaviors among transgender youth: Probability profiles from risk and protective factors. International Journal of Eating Disorders50, 515-522.


The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) is an international professional association committed to the leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment, and prevention. The goal of the AED is to provide global access to knowledge, research, and best treatment practice for eating disorders. For additional information, please contact Elissa Myers at (703) 626-9087 and visit the AED website at