Rachel Levine
(Caroline Brehman/AP/Shutterstock)

Dr. Rachel Levine Becomes the First Transgender 4-Star Officer in US History

In a history-making show of diversity and inclusion, Dr. Rachel Levine has become the first openly transgender four-star officer to earn a position in one of the nation’s eight uniformed services. As we reported back in March 2021, Dr. Levine was also the first openly trans person to be confirmed by the Senate for federal office.

NPR’s Jonathan Franklin reported that “during a ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 19, Levine was sworn in as an admiral — the highest-ranking official of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Levine’s appointment to the USPHS Commissioned Corps also made her the organization’s first female four-star admiral.”

Dr. Levine currently serves as the nation’s 17th assistant secretary of health. In that role, she is focused on improving public health and assisting in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In her new appointment as admiral, she will also head a group of more than 6,000 officers who respond to public health crises and natural disasters.

In an interview with NPR, Dr. Levine told Franklin that becoming a four-star officer “is very meaningful to me. I am so impressed by the dedication, the commitment and the expertise of the officers and the United States Public Health Service Commission Corps. And it is truly an honor to lead them and to serve with them.”

Dr. Levine also thanked the Biden administration for its ongoing commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity, which truly helped make her achievement possible. 

“I think this is symbolic of that commitment and for transgender youth and other transgender individuals, that there are no glass ceilings and no limitation to what we can achieve,” she said.

During a speech following her appointment, Dr. Levine added that “this is a momentous occasion, and I am honored to take this role for the impact I can make and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes.”

Franklin reported that “before becoming a federal official, Levine served as Pennsylvania’s health secretary, highlighting several public health issues across the commonwealth: the opioid epidemic, maternal health and immunization rates among children.”

In a statement, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra called Dr. Levine’s appointment a “giant step” forward in LGBTQ equality in the U.S.

“This is a proud moment for us at HHS,” Becerra said. “Admiral Levine is a cherished and critical partner in our work to build a healthier America.”

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

Latest News

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert Makes Anti-Muslim Comments Against Fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota

Following the horrific example of Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who posted an animated video depicting the killing of his congressional colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another member of the House of Representatives has made a similarly vile attack on a co-worker based purely on her religious beliefs. James Anderson of the…

Pinterest app

Pinterest Enacting New Company-Wide DEI Initiatives Following Gender and Race Discrimination Lawsuit

Following a lawsuit led by the General Treasurer of Rhode Island, social media company Pinterest has announced that it will be enacting a series of new diversity, equity and inclusion workplace reforms to settle a recent lawsuit against them. Patrick Anderson of The Providence Journal reported that “the reforms are…

Kaiser

Kaiser Permanente Pledges $25,000 To Support Vaccine Access in Native Hawaiian Communities

Originally published at about.kaiserpermanente.org. Kaiser Permanente is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   Kaiser Permanente of Hawaii has announced a $25,000 grant to Kula No Na Po‘e Hawai‘i (KULA), a Native Hawaiian beneficiary serving organization that exists to promote cultural, educational, environmental, and health equity for all. With this…

Kaiser Permanente Awards $115,000 in Grants To Support Essential Health Services for Community Organizations in Hawaii Affected by COVID-19

Originally published at about.kaiserpermanente.org. Kaiser Permanente is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   Kaiser Permanente of Hawaii has awarded grants, totaling $115,000, to support two vital community organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants will bolster the resiliency of Lanakila Pacific and the American Red Cross of Hawaii,…

Boeing Company Expands Sustainability Alliance With Etihad Airways To Drive Innovation in the Aviation Industry

Originally published at boeing.mediaroom.com. Boeing Company ranked No. 17 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   On Nov. 15, Boeing and Etihad Airways announced they will expand the companies’ deep collaboration towards environmental goals. Centered on the airline’s 787 Dreamliner fleet, the new memorandum of understanding…