Dr Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender four-star officer in the uniformed forces, was sworn in as the first female four-star admiral of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Levine was sworn in as a four-star admiral by the Department of Health and Human Services, making her the highest-ranking official in the commissioned corps and is the head of 6,000 Public Health Service officers.
After being nominated by President Biden, the former Pennsylvania health secretary became the country's highest-ranking openly transgender official in March.
"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," Levine wrote, in part, on a Twitter post.
I am deeply honored & grateful to join the ranks of men & women across this great nation who have committed to defe… https://t.co/vNXbjdYmsL
The US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is one of eight uniformed services – "the only one dedicated solely to protecting, promoting, and advancing America's public health" by providing and implanting healthcare access to "underserved and vulnerable populations or advancing practice, policy, or research," according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The department touted the swearing-in of Levine as a "major step forward" in developing "a more inclusive society."
"May this appointment be the first of many like it as we create a more inclusive future," said Levine in the HHS press release.
Xavier Becerra, the HHS Secretary, called Levine a "cherished and critical partner" to help America become a healthier place.
Admiral Rachel Levine’s historic appointment as the first openly transgender four-star officer is a giant step forw… https://t.co/oHkXgs8VXb