Dr. Rachel Levin, the assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, made history Tuesday when she became the first openly transgender four-star officer in the nation’s eight uniformed services. She is also the first female PHSCC four-star admiral.
“This is a momentous occasion, and I am honored to take this role for the impact that I can make and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes,” Levine said in remarks after taking the oath of office Tuesday. “I stand on the shoulders of those LGBTQ+ individuals who came before me — both those known and unknown.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called Levine’s appointment “a giant step forward towards equality as a nation.”
“This is a proud moment for us at HHS,” he said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Levine became the first out transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.
Levine, a pediatrician and former Pennsylvania health secretary, is the USPHS Commissioned Corps’ sixth four-star admiral.