Alexa Canady … Women’s History Month


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In 1981, Alexa Canady became the first female African-American neurosurgeon in the United States.

Synopsis

Dr. Alexa Canady was born on November 7, 1950, in Lansing, Michigan. While she was in college, a summer program inspired her to pursue a medical career. In 1981, she became the first female African-American neurosurgeon in the United States. Canady specialized as a pediatric neurosurgeon and served as chief of neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital in Michigan from 1987 to 2001.

Early Life

Alexa Irene Canady was born in Lansing, Michigan, on November 7, 1950, to a dentist father and a mother who worked in education. Her parents taught Canady the importance of hard work and learning, which helped her to graduate from high school with honors.

Becoming a Neurosurgeon

While Alexa Canady was attending the University of Michigan, a health careers summer program for minority students sparked her interest in medicine. After graduating from college in 1971 with a major in zoology, Canady continued on to the university’s medical school.

Canady initially wanted to be an internist, but her plans changed when she became intrigued by neurosurgery. It was a career path that some advisers discouraged her from pursuing, and she encountered difficulties in obtaining an internship. But Canady refused to give up, and was eventually accepted as a surgical intern at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She went there after graduating, cum laude, from medical school in 1975.

biography.com