Dr. Alexa Canady was the first female African-American neurosurgeon in the United States. She specialized in pediatric neurosurgery and was the first American woman in this field.
Alexa Canady was born in Lansing, Michigan on November 7, 1950. Her parents emphasized the importance of education as a young child. In 1971 she earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology at the University of Michigan. She became intrigued by neuroscience. Her advisers discouraged her from pursuing neurosurgery as a career path because it wasn’t something that women did. And it was something a black woman had never achieved before. Canady refused to allow this to limit her. She graduated cum-laude from medical school in 1975 and was accepted as a surgical intern at Yale-New Haven Hospital. In 1976 Alexa Canady began attending the University of Minnesota as the first black female neurosurgery resident. She persisted through medical school and residency, in 1981 she became the first black female neurosurgeon and the first female pediatric neurosurgeon in the United States. Alexa Canady served as chief of neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital in Michigan from 1987-2001.
She broke down barriers of racism and gender bias. She fought hard to prove herself and follow her dreams. Her Story stands as an amazing inspiration, She Made History!
“The greatest challenge I faced in becoming a neurosurgeon was believing it was possible”
Dr. Alexa Canady
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