Fmr. Pa. health secretary becomes nation's first transgender four-star officer

Dr. Levine was sworn in as an admiral, the highest-ranking official of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Dr. Rachel Levine, the former health secretary in Pennsylvania, now holds a very high honor in the U.S. public health service.

On Tuesday, Dr. Levine, the assistant secretary of health, became the first openly transgender person to be sworn in as a four-star officer across any of the country's eight uniformed services.

Levine was sworn in as an admiral, the highest-ranking official of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

As an admiral, Levine will oversee 6,000 uniformed public health officers.

SEE ALSO: LGBTQ activists applaud Biden's decision to tap Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant health secretary

"I stand on the shoulders of the LGBTQ+ individuals who come before me both known and unknown. May this appointment today be the first of many more to come as we create a diverse and more inclusive future. Diversity makes us stronger. Each person has a different perspective and different strengths that they bring to make the whole community stronger," she said after being sworn in.

Levine comes from a family of veterans and says she is honored to wear this uniform.

In heading the health corps, Levine will be in charge of crises ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to natural disasters such as flooding.

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