The United States’ assistant secretary of health has been sworn in as the country’s first transgender four-star officer.
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 address on Tuesday, she called the event “historic” and “momentous.”
“May this appointment today be the start of many more to come as we work to build a more diverse and inclusive future,” she said in a speech that honored previous LGBTQ people who had gone before her.
Dr. Levine formerly worked as a paediatrician and is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine.
The US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which includes over 6,000 uniformed officers, is responsible for responding to health emergencies such as the coronavirus epidemic 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 problems such as dealing to the state’s rampant opioid addiction.
In March, Dr. Levine was approved as the US Assistant Secretary of Health by a Senate vote of 52 to 48.
During the confirmation process, the candidate was grilled on her management of the coronavirus epidemic in nursing homes while serving as Pennsylvania’s health secretary.
Many old individuals died as a result of a governmental regulation that compelled nursing facilities to take Covid patients, according to critics.
As virus instances increased shortly after that precaution was implemented, Dr. Levine admitted to moving her own mother out of a care facility.