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Alexa Canady

Alexa Canady
Born (1950-11-07) November 7, 1950
Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
Other names Alexa Irene Canady
Education University of Michigan
Occupation Pediatric neurosurgeon, educator
Years active 1981–present
Known for first African American woman in the United States to become a neurosurgeon

Alexa Canady (born November 7, 1950) is a medical doctor specializing in neurosurgery. She is widely noted as the first African-American woman to become a neurosurgeon, which she did in 1981.[1]

Early life and education

Alexa Irene Canady was born in Lansing, Michigan to Elizabeth Hortense (Golden) Canady (former national president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority)[2] and Dr. Clinton Canady, Jr., a dentist. She was nominated as a National Achievement Scholar in 1967.[3]

Dr. Canady attended the University of Michigan where she pledged Delta Sigma Theta and received her B.S. degree in zoology in 1971. She later received her M.D. with cum laude honors [4] from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1975. After that, she became a surgical intern at the Yale-New Haven Hospital from 1975 until 1976. She went on to become the first African American woman neurosurgery resident in the US when she began her residency at the University of Minnesota.[5] She became Chief of Neurosurgery at the Children's Hospital of Michigan in 1987 until her retirement in 2001, specialising in congenital spinal abnormalities, hydrocephalus, trauma and brain tumors.[6]

Canady was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1989.[7] Canady received the American Medical Women’s Association President’s Award in 1993 and in 1994 the Distinguished Service Award from Wayne State University Medical School.[8]

She has also been awarded three honorary degrees - doctor of humane letters honorary degrees from the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1997 and Roosevelt University in 2014, and a doctor of science from the University of Southern Connecticut in 1999.[9]


  1. ^ U.S. National Library of Medicine Alexa Canady, MD profile
  2. ^ "Delta Sigma Theta Mourns 18th National President, Hortense Golden Canady". Chicago Alumnae Chapter DST. 
  3. ^ African American Registry
  4. ^ "Alexa Canady, first female and first black appointed to a residency in neurosurgery | African American Registry". 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  5. ^ Staff. "Opening Doors". NIH. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Women's History Month Profile: Alexa Irene Canady, M.D. | New York Women in Communications, Inc.". 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Alexa I. Canady: Michigan Women's Hall of Fame -". 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012. induction into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1989 
  8. ^ "BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: DR. ALEXA CANADY | CONCRETELOOP.COM". 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012. In 1993, she received the American Medical Women’s Association President’s Award and in 1994 the Distinguished Service Award from Wayne State University Medical School. 
  9. ^ Changing the Face of Medicine | Dr. Alexa Irene Canady[1]

External links

  • African-American Registry biography
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