Dr. Rachel Levine, who previously made history when the U.S. Senate approved her to be the country’s assistant secretary of health, has broken another barrier for the LGBTQ community. On Oct. 19, Levine was sworn in as an admiral of the U.S.Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. With that appointment, Levine also became the organization’s first woman who’s a four-star officer and the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer.
“I am deeply honored and grateful to join the ranks of men and women across this great nation who have committed to defend the United States against small and large threats, known and unknown,” Levine wrote in a statement she shared on her personal Twitter account. “I promise to uphold that trust to the fullest extent of my abilities.”
I am deeply honored & grateful to join the ranks of men & women across this great nation who have committed to defend the United States against small & large threats, known and unknown. I promise to uphold that trust to the fullest extent of my abilities. https://t.co/ryfwRqbAoz
— ADM Rachel Levine (@HHS_ASH) October 19, 2021
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Levine’s new appointment will put her in charge of a team of more than 6,000 officers who respond to public health crises and natural disasters and “who are dedicated to serving our nation’s most underserved and vulnerable populations.”
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra released a statement congratulating Levine and praising the American government’s effort to open its doors to a more inclusive environment for all people.
“Admiral Levine’s historic appointment as the first openly transgender four-star officer is a giant step forward towards equality as a nation,” Becerra said in the statement. “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.”
The HHS also publicly shared its support and congratulations to the newly appointed admiral on its own Twitter account.
Please join us in congratulating @HHS_ASH as she has been named the first ever Four-Star transgender official and first Four-Star of the @usphscc. The health of our nation is in good hands with her dedication, leadership, and expertise. Congratulations Admiral Rachel Levine! pic.twitter.com/WfTG9QInav
— HHS.gov (@HHSGov) October 19, 2021
Levine told NPR in an interview following her appointment that she is not only honored to serve with the Public Health Service Commission Corps but is proud to be an example for other members of the population who are transgender.
“I think this is symbolic of that commitment and for transgender youth and other transgender individuals that there are no glass ceilings and no limitation to what we can achieve,” Levine said in the interview.