By Lori Perkins
On Tuesday, Dr. Rachel Levine, America’s most senior transgender official, became the first transgender four-star officer in any the country's eight uniformed services.
Dr. Levine, the Assistant Secretary of Health, was sworn as an admiral, the highest-ranking officer of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, whose 6,000 uniformed officers oversee the nation's public health.
Said Dr. Levine upon her appointment, "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."
Dr. Levine is a pediatrician who previously served as Pennsylvania's Health Secretary. She has spearheaded numerous efforts to combat public health issues, such as the opioid epidemic, maternal mortality and childhood immunization. She has also written on medical marijuana and pediatric medicine.
Dr. Levine said she was proud to follow in the footsteps of her father, who served in the Air Force during World War II, and other family members who are veterans. "Just as they stepped up to defend our rights to freedom and liberty, I now follow in their storied tradition of service as I step up to defend the health of our nation," she said.