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Health, Science & Tech

Musical chairs at Pennsylvania health department as another acting secretary named

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Kiley Koscinski
/
90.5 WESA
Dr. Denise Johnson, Pennsylvania physician general and incoming acting health secretary, speaks to reporters at a press conference at UPMC in Pittsburgh on June 15, 2021.

Another acting Pennsylvania health secretary is departing the Wolf administration.

A press release from the governor’s office said that Keara Klinepeter will resign her position with the commonwealth on Friday, April 22. The governor plans to name Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson to serve as acting secretary of the department.

Johnson will be the third acting secretary to lead the state’s department of health in less than six months.

Prior to Klinepeter, Alison Beam held the title of acting health secretary from January to December of 2021.

Beam had been deputy chief of staff for Wolf. The governor appointed Beam to the role after Dr. Rachel Levine left to serve as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health in the Biden administration. Levine is the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

After Beam resigned from her post this past December, she took a job with UPMC to be the health network’s chief government relations officer. UPMC is the largest nongovernmental employer in the state.

Gov. Wolf will leave office in January of next year. He is term-limited and cannot seek a third consecutive term.