By: Samantha Walker
Oct 19: Dr. Rachel Levine has become the first openly transgender four-star officer in the United States. Dr. Levine has been promoted to an admiral, which is the highest rank available within the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
Before being sworn in as admiral, Dr. Levine served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania of Health, focusing on the opioid epidemic, childhood immunization, and maternal mortality.
The purpose of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is to protect, promote, and advance public health in the country.
Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and Tulane Medical School.
Recently, Dr. Levine oversaw the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters.
Outside of the Public Health department, Dr. Levine is a part of the Biden administration’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equality.
This is not the first time Dr. Levine has made history, previously, in March, she was recognized as the first open member transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
During the swearing- in ceremony, Dr. Levine remarked,
“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.”
When in an interview with NPR she added,
“[Becoming a four-star officer] is very meaningful to me. I am so impressed by the dedication, the commitment and the expertise of the officers and the United States Public Health Service Commission Corps. And it is truly an honor to lead them and to serve with them.”
When asked about Dr. Levine’s appointment, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra described her new role as a “giant step” toward equality in the United States.