Rachel Levine, US assistant secretary for health, has made history as the first transgender four-star officer. The announcement, made on 19 October 2021, will now see Levine serve as head of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
The new role has the public wondering whether Levine has previously served in the military. We look into Levine’s new role, her military history and why she has made US history.
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What is Rachel Levine’s role as a four-star officer?
Dr Rachel Levine, 63, is now one of 45 actively serving four-star officers in the United States Uniformed Services.
Serving as head of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Levine’s new role will put her in charge of more than 6,000 public health professionals.
The role of those professionals, Levine included, is to protect and promote the health and safety of Americans through disease prevention programmes and to advance public health science.
Was Rachel Levine in the military?
Rachel Levine has never served in the military or any other branch of the armed forces before her role in the Uniformed Services of the United States.
Her new role as an admiral came after years of being a paediatrician. That led on to Levine becoming secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health in 2017 and, from there, US assistant secretary for health.
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Why has Rachel Levine made US history?
While there are 45 actively serving four-star officers in the US military, only a couple are women.
Rachel Levine is the first transgender woman to have such a highly appointed role in the US military.
It is the second time Levine has made US history in 2021. Earlier this year, she became the first transgender assistant secretary for health.