Politics

Adm. Rachel Levine has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine

Dr. Rachel Levine
Dr. Rachel LevinePhoto: Provided

Admiral Rachel Levine, the transgender United States Assistant Secretary for Health, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

NAM is part of a conglomerate of independent nonprofit institutions that make up the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide objective advice.

According to a news release from NAM, “Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.”

Levine is among a group of 100 people who have been elected by current members to receive the honor this year. People are selected if they have “made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.”

NAM announced that Levine was selected “for her expertise in pediatrics and adolescent medicine, and being the first openly transgender official ever to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She is a voice for federal-state cooperation, issues of health equity, and has been an outstanding leader in emergency response to addiction and overdose.”

Levine tweeted that she is “incredibly honored” to have been selected by NAM and is “looking forward to joining the talented group of members” to contribute to the organization’s mission.

In 2021, Levine was confirmed in a bipartisan Senate vote that made her the first trans official to be confirmed by the Senate.

She was also confirmed three times by the GOP-controlled state senate during her tenure at Pennsylvania’s Department of Health.

Nevertheless, she faced an unprecedented deluge of transphobic attacks as she tried to get Pennsylvanians to wear masks and practice social distancing. She has continued to face anti-trans sentiment in her current role and has spoken about channeling that transphobia into her work promoting equity.

In October 2021, Levine also became the first trans four-star officer across all uniformed service branches when she was sworn in as a four-star admiral.

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