Dr. Levine to talk LGBTQ health disparities at upcoming Pride event

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In this Feb. 25, 2021, file photo, Rachel Levine, nominated to be an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.

(Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP, File)

(WKBN) – Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine will be the keynote speaker for the American Heart Association’s second annual “Hearts with Pride” event this week.

In recognition of National Pride Month, “Hearts of Pride” focuses on putting LGBTQ heart health and health equity on center stage.

Dr. Levine, who is the highest-ranking openly transgender public official in the country, oversees the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ key public health offices and programs.

Levine took the position in February. She was previously Pennsylvania’s top health official and emerged as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Her speech will focus on health disparities in the LGBTQ community and how she is using her personal experience to advance health equity for all.

According to the American Heart Association, 56% of LGBTQ adults and 70% of those who are transgender or gender nonconforming report experiencing some form of discrimination from a health care professional.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the “Hearts of Pride” celebration will be held virtually. It will be live-streamed for free at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“We are honored that Dr. Levine will join us for our virtual Pride event,” said American Heart Association Chief Executive Officer Nancy Brown. “As champions for health equity, the American Heart Association has set a goal to advance cardiovascular health for all by 2024. This includes identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality and to addressing those experienced by the LGBTQ+ community.”

Anyone can register to attend the virtual event here.

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