Levine Makes History as Nation’s First Transgender Four-Star Officer

WASHINGTON, D.C. (EYT) – Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s former health secretary and the current assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for the Biden Administration, made history again on Tuesday when she became the first openly transgender four-star officer in any of the country’s eight uniformed services.

(Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

According to NBC News, Levine was sworn in Tuesday as an admiral, which is the highest-ranking official of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Her appointment also made her the organization’s first female four-star officer.

Levine was confirmed to her position in the US Department of Health and Human Services in March in a 52 to 48 vote, with Senators Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) standing out as the only Republican senators to join senate democrats in voting in favor of Levine’s confirmation.

Along with previously serving as the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, Dr. Levine also served as the President of ASTHO, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders.

Dr. Levine joined Governor Tom Wolf’s administration in January 2015 as the Physician General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and served from 2015 to 2017. She was named Acting Secretary of Health in July 2017 and confirmed as Secretary of Health in March 2018. Her previous posts included: Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

In addition to her more recent posts, Dr. Levine is also an accomplished regional and international speaker, and author on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBTQ+ medicine. Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

In her current position, heading the health corps, Levine will be in charge of deploying the country’s public health workers to respond to crises ranging from natural disasters to issues such as the coronavirus pandemic.


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