UNITED STATES: The US Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine became the first openly transgender four-star officer in America’s eight uniformed services on Tuesday. As per the reports, she was sworn in as an admiral in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps by US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Dr. Levine made history by becoming the highest-ranking transgender official in the US. During her swearing-in speech, the 63-year-old officer described the occasion as “historic” and momentous”.
In her speech, Dr. Levine paid tribute to LGBTQ individuals. “May this appointment today be the first of many more to come, as we create a diverse and more inclusive future,” she said. She is now the first transgender person to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation.
Dr. Levine’s prominent works
Dr. Levine is a former American pediatrician who served as Pennsylvania’s physician general and the state’s secretary of health. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine. Dr. Levine has worked on issues related to responding to widespread opioid addiction.
As a Physician General, she issued an order that allowed law enforcement officers to carry the anti-overdose medication naloxone. According to her, the drug has saved almost 1,000 opioid users who had overdosed.
In July 2017, Governor Wolf appointed Dr. Levine as Secretary of Health.
During the pandemic, she led the public health response on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. Along with this, she also worked closely with the FEMA director and led a daily press briefing.
She has served as a board member of Equality Pennsylvania. Andrew Park founded Equality Pennsylvania in 1996 in Philadelphia. It is an LGBT rights organization that focuses on LGBT civil rights.
In March, she was established as US assistant secretary for health in a 52-48 Senate vote. During the confirmation process, Dr. Levine faced questions over her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic during her tenure as health secretary of Pennsylvania. Critics blamed the deaths of many elderly people on a state policy that required nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients.