Healthcare

Rachel Levine sworn in as first openly transgender four-star officer in health corps

Rachel Levine has become the first openly transgender official ever confirmed by the Senate
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Department of Health and Human Services assistant secretary for health Rachel Levine was sworn in Tuesday as an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, becoming the first openly transgender person to serve as a four-star officer in any of the country’s eight uniformed services. 

With her new title, Levine will take on a leadership role in the public health service, a team of more than 6,000 people who respond to public health crises and natural disasters. The corps has helped support vaccinations during COVID-19 as well. 

Levine is the first openly transgender four-star officer in the public health corps, or across the uniformed services of the military.

“I stand on the shoulders of those LGBTQ plus individuals who came before me, both those known and unknown,” Levine said at her swearing in. “May this appointment today be the first of many more to come as we create a diverse and more inclusive future.”

Andrea Palm, the deputy secretary of Health and Human Services added at the swearing in: “The path towards equality is a long one, but today we are taking a historic step forward with the appointment of Admiral Levine as the first openly transgender four star officer across the uniformed services.”

Levine was previously health secretary in Pennsylvania. She was confirmed by the Senate in March for her assistant secretary role, on a mostly party line vote of 52-48. Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) supported her nomination. 

Many Republicans criticized what they said were shortcomings in Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 response. 

Tags Health and Human Services Lisa Murkowski Rachel Levine Susan Collins U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

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