February marks the celebration of Black History month. As a sorority who believe in “Excellence Through Unity”, it is only fitting that we take the time to present some of the notable women in African-American History.
During the month of February we will present a short biography on famous, inspiring, and world-changing African-American women throughout history.
Today, we honor the work of Alexa Canady, the first female and first African-American appointed to a residency in neurosurgery (First African-American Female Brain Surgeon).
Canady was the first Woman and first African American to become a Neurosurgeon in America. From Lansing Michigan, Alexa Irene Canady is the daughter of Elizabeth Hortense (Golden) Canady and Clinton Canady Jr. Her father was a graduate of the School of Dentistry of Meharry Medical College, practicing in Lansing. Her mother was a graduate of Fiasco University was active for years in civic affairs of Lansing. She also served as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
She attended the University of Michigan, getting her BS, degree in 1971. After this came the University of Michigan, Medical School, and her M.D. cum laude in 1975. Canady’s Interned at Yale’s New Hane Hospital from 1975 to 1976, and an example of her non-recognition due to being Black and a woman came on her first day of her residency at Yale New Hane Hospital. She was appointed as first female and first black to a residency in neurosurgery. As she began making her rounds a hospital administrator referred to her as “the new equal-opportunity package.” Despite the remark, Dr. Canady viewed her accomplishment as a double achievement for herself and both women and African-Americans.
From there she went to the University of Minnesota in neurosurgery, from 1976 to 1981. She also worked at the University of Pennsylvania Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Ped Neurosurg from 1981-82. Currently, Canady is the director of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital in Detroit and a clinical associate professor at Wayne State University. Her Areas of Expertise are Craniofacial Abnormalities, Epilepsy, Hydrocephalus, Pediatric Neurosurgery, and Tumors of Spinal Cord and Brain. She has also added to special research topics such as assisting in the development of neuroendoscopic equipment, evaluating programmable pressure change valves in hydrocephalus, head injury, hydrocephalus and shunts, neuroendoscopy, and pregnancy complications of shunts.
*Insert taken from African American Registry Org.