HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – Friday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced his intention to nominate Alison Beam to serve as Secretary of the Department of Health, replacing Dr. Rachel Levine who was tapped for a position in President Joe Biden’s administration.
He also announced that Dr. Wendy Braund would be named Interim Acting Physician General.
“Alison Beam is a talented public servant who brings years of experience in health care policy and implementation to this position,” Wolf said. “Alison knows that a strong, widely available, and successful vaccination strategy is the path out of the pains of this pandemic. 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.”
Beam currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff to Wolf, coordinating initiatives and resources across Pennsylvania’s departments of Health, Human Services, Drug & Alcohol Programs, Aging and Insurance, as well as the Office of Advocacy and Reform.
She has helped coordinate the administration’s COVID-19 pandemic response; the rollout of Pennie, Pennsylvania’s health insurance marketplace; the Reach Out PA campaign; and the Wolf Administration’s health care reform plan.
Prior to transitioning to the Governor’s Office, Beam served as Chief of Staff to the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner and as Director of Public Policy and Associate Counsel for Independence Health Group in Philadelphia.
Beam graduated from Drexel University School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Policy and Administration from the Pennsylvania State University.
She is expected to assume the role of Acting Secretary, effective January 23.
Dr. Braund will also replace Dr. Levine’s role of Interim Acting Physician General.
“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,” Wolf said. “Wendy has been an integral part of our COVID-19 pandemic response efforts, and that experience will be an asset in this role.”
Dr. Braund currently serves as the COVID-19 Response Director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Previously, she was the 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.
She previously served as the Wyoming State Health Officer and Public Health Division Administrator for the Wyoming Department of Health.
Before working at the state level, Dr. Braund was employed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, first in the Office of the Assistant Secretary, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and then at the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions.
Dr. Braund has a BA from Duke University, MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and MD from the Penn State College of Medicine. She is a 2007 graduate of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Preventive Medicine Residency Program and is board certified in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Braund will assume the role of Interim Acting Physician General effective January 23, 2021.