Dr. Rachel Levine has made history as America’s first-ever out transgender four-star admiral in any of the country’s eight uniformed services.
Dr. Levine will now serve as the highest-ranking official in the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps.
The role will see the 63-year-old lead 6,000 Public Health Service officers after being appointed by President Joe Biden.
During a swearing-in speech on 19 October, Dr. Levine said she hopes her “momentous” appointment will pave the way for a “more inclusive future.”
“May this appointment today be the first of many more to come, as we create a diverse and more inclusive future,” she added.
The USPHS Commissioned Corps works on responding to health crises and natural disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health, said Dr. Levine’s appointment is a “giant step forward towards equality as a nation”.
Dr. Levine has worked in an array of roles since graduating from Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine.
This includes working as a paediatrician, Pennsylvania’s physician general and the state’s secretary of health.
Dr. Levine’s new position as assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health will see her run the Health and Human Services offices and programmes nationwide.
President Biden spoke highly of the newly confirmed official earlier this year.
He said Dr. Levine will help bring “the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic – no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.”