Gov. Tom Wolf nominated his deputy chief of staff, Alison Beam, to replace Dr. Rachel Levine as state Health Secretary after President Joe Biden chose Levine to be the assistant secretary of health for the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
Beam, the Wolf Administration’s deputy chief of staff since 2019, is set to assume Levine’s former role on Saturday. In an announcement Friday, Wolf called Beam a talented public servant who brings years of experience in health care policy and implementation to the office.
“Alison knows that a strong, widely available, and successful vaccination strategy is the path out of the pains of this pandemic,” he said. “Her foremost and immediate focus will be on the strategic distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, making sure Pennsylvania receives as many doses as possible from the federal government, and that the Pennsylvania Department of Health coordinates with hospitals, health centers, county and local governments, and pharmacy partners to make this vaccine as widely available as possible to Pennsylvanians everywhere.”
As Deputy Chief of Staff, Beam coordinated initiatives and resources across state departments, helped coordinate the administration’s COVID-19 pandemic response and assisted in the creation of Pennie, the state’s health insurance marketplace.
Beam previously served as chief of staff to the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner from 2017 to 2019.
While Beam is replacing Levine as secretary of health, she will not be taking on Levine’s other role as physician general.
Dr. Wendy Braund, COVID-19 response director for the state Department of Health, will replace Levine as interim acting physician general, also on Saturday.
Braund was previously director of the center for public health practice, associate dean for practice and a professor of health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
Braund has been an integral part of the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response efforts, according to Wolf, who said that her experience will be an asset in her new role.
“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,” he said.