SRU welcomes transgender state official Levine to campus Nov. 14


Oct. 30, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The highest ranking official in Pennsylvania government who is openly transgender is spending a day speaking at Slippery Rock University.

Rachel Levine, the state's acting secretary of health and physician general, will present a keynote address from 12:30-1:45 p.m., Nov. 14 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom sponsored by the President's Commission on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. Levine will speak with invited student organizations from 3-4:30 p.m. and with campus employees from 5-6:30 p.m. as part of a brown-bag dinner, both at the Smith Student Center.

Levine, who is also a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State University of College Medicine, will offer insights relevant to medical fields, government and academe in addition to addressing issues in the LGBTQIA community.

Levine headshot


"A lot of people can gain something from this and it will be a great interaction," said Amanda Nichols, co-chair of the GISO commission and a clerk in SRU's payroll department. "She's worked her way up in an environment that isn't necessarily conducive to someone from the LGBTQIA community."

The Nov. 14 appearance is Levine's second time interacting with SRU students, having spoken to an LGBTQIA group of graduating seniors via teleconference last spring. Nichols said that Levine's message was well-received, setting the wheels in motion for a farther-reaching engagement.

The keynote address, "Coming Out in PA: Understanding and Advocating for LGBTQIA Equality," will focus on nondiscrimination legislation specific to Pennsylvania laws. Levine will also talk to LGBTQIA students about issues they face, such as getting their names changed.

According to Nichols, the goal of Levine's visit will go beyond advancing GISO's mission of addressing LGBTQIA issues and creating a more inclusive and supportive campus. GISO hopes the takeaway message is something the entire campus community can benefit from.

"Don't be discouraged by what certain groups of people say about you, because you can be and do and go anywhere you want to go; Dr. Levine is proof of this," Nichols said. "It'll be good for everyone on campus to meet someone they can relate to in a whole bunch of different facets. There are a lot of things that different groups on campus can take away."

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 where she did a Fellowship in adolescent medicine. She then practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine in New York City and was on the faculty of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She arrived in Pennsylvania in 1993 as the director of ambulatory pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Polyclinic Medical Center. Levine was recognized as one of NBC's Pride 30, a national list of 30 people who are both members of and making a difference in the lives of the LGBTQ community.

The keynote address is free and open to the public. SRU employees attending the brown-bag dinner discussion are asked to RSVP by Nov. 7 to

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