To celebrate Black History Month, we take a look at some inspirational figures who have excelled in their field and produced leading research around the world which we still rely on today!
Imagine being the first African American and the first woman to become a neurosurgeon in the United States. Incredible, right?
Now imagine on top of that, you also become one of the most successful surgeons in the country. This is exactly what Dr Alexa Canady did, and to this day, does. Her expertise and contributions have been numerous; she has contributed to areas such as tumours of the spinal cord and brain, craniofacial abnormalities, epilepsy, and head injuries, to name only a few.
Her patient-driven approach has made her extremely successful. Despite facing an intersection of racism and sexism, she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, is an honoured Alumni of the University of Michigan, was the Children’s Hospital of Michigan’s Teacher of the Year in 1983, received the American Medical Women’s Association President Award and Distinguished Service Award from Wayne State University Medical School, and was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1989 – joining high-profile African Americans such as Rosa Parks.
Canady is continuously active in promoting racial equity and equality. Particularly, she is an advocate for more research into medical issues in black communities, citing that the lack of research on African American patients results in a lack of adequate treatment for their specific health concerns and needs.
Her relentlessness in dismantling racist practices in medicine, alongside her compassion in her work, have made her one of the most well renowned surgeons in the United States.
image source: https://eu.pnj.com/story/news/2017/11/20/pensacola-alexa-canady-first-african-american-female-neurosurgeon/867122001/