By Jessica Kartalija

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — She has been a visible leader in Pennsylvania’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and she has also been the target of offensive and hateful comments — even among the White House staff. Tonight, I chat with Dr. Rachel Levine.

“This is the biggest public health crisis that the country and really the world has seen since 1918,” Levine said. “So certainly in our lifetime, this is unprecedented.”

Q: This is a pandemic, but your tone is always very reassuring. How do you stay so measured?

“I’ve really been a professor, a teacher, for almost all of my career, so in order to teach people it’s very important to speak as commonly and measurably as possible.”

Q: You’re a doctor, not a politician. Has it been challenging to find a balance in your role as secretary?

“It is challenging that the public health issues involved with this global pandemic have been politicized to such an extent because you are correct, I am not a politician. We’re really are trying to make the best public health decisions that we can possibly can which are data-driven. This is not a partisan decision in any way.”

Q: You are the most prominent transgender public official in the U.S. Do you hope this educates people more about LGBTQ rights?

“I think that by being out and basically doing my job, trying to protect the public health of everyone in Pennsylvania, that that shows them that LGBTQ people are like everybody else, and we’re doing our job and trying to help people.”

Watch the video above to hear more from Dr. Rachel Levine.

Jessica Kartalija