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Dr. Rachel Levine becomes first openly transgender four-star official

Levine was sworn in as as the highest ranking official of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Tuesday.

WASHINGTON — Editor's Note: The video above is from Jan. 2021.

Dr. Rachel Levine has once again made history, on Tuesday becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer in any of the United States' eight uniformed services. 

Levine was sworn in as a four-star admiral in a service Tuesday.  The promotion makes Levine the highest ranking official in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, as well as its first-ever female four-star admiral. She was already the country's most senior openly transgender official.

"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 during the ceremony. "I stand on the shoulders of those LGBTQ+ individuals who came before me, both those 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."

President Joe Biden selected Levine to be the U.S Department of Health and Human Services' Assistant Secretary for Health earlier this year. Levine was confirmed in March. Prior to that appointment, Levine had been serving as Pennsylvania's top health official since 2017.

“Admiral Levine’s historic appointment as the first openly transgender four-star officer is a giant step forward towards equality as a nation." HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Tuesday. "This is a proud moment for us at HHS. Admiral Levine — a highly accomplished pediatrician who helps drive our agency’s agenda to boost health access and equity and to strengthen behavioral health — is a cherished and critical partner in our work to build a healthier America.”