The country’s first transgender four-star officer has been sworn in as the United States’ assistant secretary of health.
Dr. Rachel Levine, 63, has been promoted to Admiral of the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service.
President Joe Biden appointed Dr. Levine, who is already the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the United States. During her swearing-in speech on Tuesday, she called the event “historic” and “momentous.”
“May this appointment today be the start of many more to come as we seek to build a more diverse and inclusive future,” she said in a speech honouring other LGBTQ individuals who had gone before her in a speech honouring other LGBTQ people who had gone before her.
Dr. Levine is a Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine graduate who formerly worked as a paediatrician.
The US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which includes around 6,000 uniformed officers, is responsible for responding to health emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic and natural catastrophes.
Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of Health, called Dr. Levine’s appointment a ‘great step forward toward equality as a nation.’
She was also Pennsylvania’s physician general and secretary of health, where she worked on topics such as dealing with the state’s significant opioid addiction.
In March, Dr. Levine was confirmed as the US Assistant Secretary of Health by a Senate vote of 52 to 48. During the confirmation process, the nominee was grilled over her management of the coronavirus outbreak in nursing homes while serving as Pennsylvania’s health secretary.
Many old individuals died as a result of a governmental regulation that forced nursing homes to accept Covid patients, according to critics.
As virus instances increased shortly after that step was implemented, Dr. Levine admitted to moving her mother out of a care facility.