(WHTM) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday former Pa. Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine is the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer across any of the eight uniformed services of the U.S.
Admiral Levine now serves as the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health and head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps where she was ceremonially sworn in. She is the highest-ranking official in the USPHS Commissioned Corps and the first-ever woman to become a four-star admiral.
“I am humbled to serve as the first female four-star officer of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and first openly transgender four-star officer across any of the 8 uniformed services,” Levine said. “This is a momentous occasion and I am pleased to take this role for the impact I can make, and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes. May this appointment be the first of many like it as we create a more inclusive future.”
With this position, Levine will lead about 6,000 Public Health Service officers working to serve the U.S.’s most underserved and vulnerable populations.
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The announcement comes on the successes of LGBTQ+ History Month and is a step forward as the nation works to make society more inclusive.
“Admiral Levine’s historic appointment as the first openly transgender four-star officer is a giant step forward towards equality as a nation. This is a proud moment for us at HHS. Admiral Levine — a highly accomplished pediatrician who helps drive our agency’s agenda to boost health access and equity and to strengthen behavioral health — is a cherished and critical partner in our work to build a healthier America,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said.
The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is the only one of the eight uniformed services working to protect and promote public health in the nation. Officers serve throughout the country in areas in need by providing health care or advancing policy and research. These officers are on the frontlines to defend public health against any type of threat.