Dr. Rachel Levine was sworn in as an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Tuesday to take command of the 6,000-person strong medical force and the rank of four-star admiral, becoming the first openly transgendered person to hold the military rank and the first woman to hold the command, NBC News reports.
A pediatrician and the former Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Levine was appointed to the command by President Joe Biden. The Harvard College and Tulane Medical School alumnae led Pennsylvania’s initial response to the coronavirus before joining the Biden Administration earlier this year.
“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,” Levine said in a speech at her swearing-in 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.”