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Rachel Levine receives honorary degree from Rutgers

Admiral Rachel Levine assistant secretary for health to receive honorary degree science doctorate from Rutgers University
via Rutgers University; The White House

The trailblazing trans doctor and advocate recieved an honorary science doctorate from Rutgers.

Adm. Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health in the Biden-Harris administration and the first out transgender federal official confirmed by the U.S. Senate, received an honorary degree from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Levine, who graduated from Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine before completing her training in pediatrics and adolescent medicine at NYC’s Mt. Sinai Medical Center, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree as part of Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s 258th commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 12.

The commencement speaker for the ceremony was noted educator, advocate, and mathematician Freeman A. Hrabowski III, who received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Hrabowski is the great-grandson of former slaves.

Levine has been a visible presence for the transgender community long before she was confirmed in her current role. After various teaching and administrative roles in academia, Levine was unanimously confirmed by the state Senate after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to the role of the state’s physician general in 2015.

In addition to her official role with the HHS, Levine is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders.

In an interview last month with The Advocate, Levine expressed optimism for the future of the transgender community, citing advocacy as a key driver of social change.

“I think that the wheel will turn on that,” Levine told The Advocate. “I think that things will get better. And I think that things for transgender and nonbinary people will improve.”

She also said she compartmentalizes the hate she receives and uses it as an incentive to foster even more tolerance and change.

“The more I’m attacked, the more it motivates me to work harder and to advocate more,” Levine revealed.

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