Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary for health, was sworn in Tuesday as an admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a 6,000-person force that responds to health crises on behalf of the federal government, including administering coronavirus vaccines and delivering care after hurricanes. Levine is also the organization's first-ever female four-star admiral.
The move was hailed by advocacy groups like the gay rights organization GLAAD, and health care leaders who called it a breakthrough moment.
The group representing public health officials "is here to support you and your team defend the health of all Americans!" Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, wrote on Twitter.