|Dr. Rachel L. Levine|
Sworn in as an admiral Tuesday
Levine was appointed to lead the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, making her the nation's first openly transgender four-star officer.
By Matt Lavietes 10/19/2021
Dr. Rachel Levine, the nation's most senior transgender official, made history again Tuesday by becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer across any of the country's eight uniformed services.
Levine, the assistant secretary of health, was sworn in Tuesday as an admiral, the highest-ranking official of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, whose 6,000 uniformed officers are entrusted with protecting the nation's public health. Levine's appointment also made her the organization's first female four-star officer.
Levine said in a speech at her swearing-in ceremony:
This is a momentous occasion, and I am honored to take this role for the impact I can make and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes. I stand on the shoulders of those LGBTQ+ individuals who came before me, both those known and unknown. May this appointment today be the first of many more to come, as we create a diverse and more inclusive future.
Levine, a pediatrician who previously served as Pennsylvania's health secretary, has spearheaded numerous efforts to combat public health issues, including the opioid epidemic, maternal mortality and childhood immunization. A graduate of Harvard College and Tulane Medical School, she has also written on medical marijuana and pediatric medicine.