Story at a glance

  • Rachel Levine is the assistant secretary of health and the nation’s top openly transgender official.
  • Levine was sworn in as an admiral on Tuesday, making her the the first openly transgender four-star officer of any of the eight uniformed services in the U.S.
  • As the highest-ranking official of the corps, Levine will be responsible for a force of 6,000 people who are deployed and respond to public health crises and natural disasters.

The highest-ranking openly transgender official in the United States made history for a second time when she became the first openly transgender four-star officer of any of the eight uniformed services in the U.S. 

Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary of health, was sworn in as an admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps on Tuesday. 


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"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," Levine said at her swearing-in ceremony. "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." 

As the highest-ranking official of the corps, Levine will be responsible for a force of 6,000 people who are deployed and respond to public health crises and natural disasters in the U.S. 

Levine, who graduated from Harvard College and Tulane Medical School, is a licensed pediatrician and previously served as the health secretary for Pennsylvania.


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Published on Oct 20, 2021