Alumni

Spotlight: Alexa I. Canady, MD (1976 – 1981) — A Woman of Many “Firsts”

Dr. Alexa Canady in the Operating Room

Our Spotlight this month honors both our alumna and Women’s History Month

When looking at the career of U of M Neurosurgery Department graduate, Dr. Alexa Canady, you are immediately impressed by what a pioneer she was. When she joined the Department’s residency program, she became the first female African American neurosurgery resident both in Minnesota and the nation. When she graduated in 1981, she became the first female African American neurosurgeon in the U.S.

In 1984, Dr. Canady made history once again by becoming the first African American woman certified as a diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgery.  

Refused to give up
A native of Lansing, Dr. Canady decided to pursue neurosurgery when attending medical school at the University of Michigan. According to a story about her on the Biography website, “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 [in Connecticut]. She went there after graduating cum laude from medical school in 1975.”

A 2018 American Association of Neurological Surgeons article written by Sharona Ben-Haim, MD, looked at how Dr. Canady shaped her career by serving the underprivileged. “During her training,” Dr. Ben-Haim wrote, “she was instantly attracted to the subspecialty of pediatric neurosurgery, appreciating its collaborative and positive environment as well as its sense of community.”

Developed a pediatric neurosurgery service line
Dr. Canady then completed a pediatric neurosurgical fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and soon after was hired as a faculty member of Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital. In 1987, at the age of 36, she was named the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan and charged with developing a pediatric neurosurgical service line, according to Dr. Ben-Haim.

Over the course of the next 15 years, “Dr. Canady dedicated herself tirelessly to the development of an organized and well-developed pediatric neurosurgical program with the aim of offering the highest level of care to the children of the Detroit community. She is passionate about providing all patients access to excellent care, regardless of their means,” wrote Dr. Ben-Haim.

Award-winning service
Dr. Alexa CanadyThe article continues, “She started support groups and was industrious in her advocacy for their needs to the broader community. In 2001, Child magazine ranked the Children’s Hospital of Michigan among the ‘10 Best Children’s Hospitals in America’ and Dr. Canady as the hospital’s most outstanding representative physician.”

According to an NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine article about Dr. Canady, “Her academic career was spent at Wayne State University [in Detroit] where she held the position of professor and vice-chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery. She was well respected and received the Teacher of the Year award from Children's Hospital of Michigan and the Distinguished Service Award from Wayne State University.”

Avid researcher
In addition to her passion for patient care, Dr. Canady conducted research into the management of hydrocephalus (excess cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain) and dysraphism (conditions present at birth that affect the spine, spinal cord, or nerve roots). She was also an enthusiastic educator and mentor.

During retirement in Florida, Dr. Canady recognized there was no pediatric neurosurgical service in the area, “So, back to service she went and over the course of eight years, she created another successful pediatric neurosurgical service, eventually recruiting other pediatric neurosurgeons to secure its future,” wrote Dr. Ben-Haim.

In recognition of her amazing career, Dr. Canady was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame and received the American Women’s Medical Association’s President’s Award. As Dr. Ben Haim observed, Dr. Canady, “is a true pioneer who has devoted her distinguished career to caring for underprivileged children and breaking barriers that stymie access to healthcare. Her commitment, perseverance and exemplary service to her community are a true inspiration to the field of neurosurgery.”

Former Residents

2020

David DarrowDavid Darrow, MD, MPH
2013–2020
Coridon QuinnCoridon Quinn, MD
2013-2020

2019

Molly Hubbard, MDMolly Hubbard, MD
2012–2019
(deceased 1-9-2020)
Joshua Lim, MDJoshua Lim, MD
2012-2019

2018

Amit Goyal, MDAmit Goyal, MD
2011–2018
Akshay Gupte, MDAkshay Gupte, MD
2011-2018

2017

Paramita Das, MDParamita Das, MD
2011–2017
Catherine Miller, MDCatherine Miller, MD
2011-2017

2016

Ciro Vasquez, MDCiro Vasquez, MD
2010–2016
Zoe Zhang, MDZoe Zhang, MD
2010–2016

2015

Daraspreet Kainth, MDDaraspreet Kainth, MD
2009–2015
Dino Terzic, MDDino Terzic, MD
2009-2015

2014

Kristin Jones, MDKristin Jones, MD
2012-2014
Farhan Siddiq, MDFarhan Siddiq, MD
2008-2014

2013

Rabia Qaiser, MDRabia Qaiser, MD
2008-2013
Haejoe Park, MDHaejoe Park, MD
2008-2013

2012

Fotis Souslian, MDFotis Souslian, MD
2007-2012
Efkan Colpan, MDEfkan Colpan, MD
2009-2012

2011

Christopher Roark, MDChristopher Roark, MD
2006-2011

2010

Greg Sher, MD, MPHGreg Sher, MD, MPH
2005-2010
Kyle Uittenbogaard, MDKyle Uittenbogaard, MD
2005-2010
Praveen Baimeedi, MDPraveen Baimeedi, MD
2006-2010

2009

Joel Ulloth, MDJoel Ulloth, MD
2004-2009

2008

Hart P. Garner, MDHart P. Garner, MD
2003-2008

2007

John Drygas, MD, MSJohn Drygas, MD, MS
2002-2007
Eun Kyung (Michelle) Won, MDEun Kyung (Michelle) Won, MD
2002-2007

2006

Adam O. Hebb, MDAdam O. Hebb, MD
2001-2006
Charles R. Watts, MD, PhDCharles R. Watts, MD, PhD
2001-2006

2005

Edward Rustamzadeh, MD, PhDEdward Rustamzadeh, MD, PhD
2000-2005

2004

Ray M. Chu, MDRay M. Chu, MD
1999-2004
Ramachandra P. Tummala, MDRamachandra P. Tummala, MD
1999-2004
Sabrina M. Walski-Easton, MDSabrina M. Walski-Easton, MD
1999-2004

2003

Patrick C. Graupman, MDPatrick C. Graupman, MD
1998-2003

2002

Lars Anker, MDLars Anker, MD
1997-2002
Khalid Sethi, MDKhalid Sethi, MD
1997-2002

2001

Darren S. Lovick, MDDarren S. Lovick, MD
1996-2001
Margaret A. Wallenfriedman, MD, PhDMargaret
Wallen-
friedman,
MD, PhD
1995-2001

2000

Walter C. Jean, MDWalter C. Jean, MD
1994-2000
Michael P. McCue, MD, ScDMichael P. McCue, MD, ScD
1994-2000
Alejandro Mendez, MDAlejandro Mendez, MD
1994-1999

1998

Walter E. Galicich, MDWalter E. Galicich, MD
1993-1998
Joel D. Seigel, MDJoel D. Seigel, MD
1993-1998
Bradley E. Weprin, MDBradley E. Weprin, MD
1993-1998

1997

Jerone D. Kennedy, MDJerone D. Kennedy, MD
1991-1997
Eric S. Nussbaum, MDEric S. Nussbaum, MD
1992-1997
Abhay Sanan, MDAbhay Sanan, MD
1992-1997

1996

Jeffrey P. Blount, MDJeffrey P. Blount, MD
1990-1996
Eric P. Flores, MDEric P. Flores, MD
1992-1996
Edison P. McDaniels, MDEdison P. McDaniels, MD
1991-1996

1995

Todd Y. Nida, MDTodd Y. Nida, MD
1989-1995

1994

John C. Mullan, MDJohn C. Mullan, MD
1988-1994
Leslie A. Sebring, MD, PhDLeslie A. Sebring, MD, PhD
1991-1994

1993

Paul J. Camarata, MDPaul J. Camarata, MD
1987-1993
Jacques J. Morcos, MDJacques J. Morcos, MD
1990-1993
Mitesh V. Shah, MDMitesh V. Shah, MD
1988-1993

1992

Young Chung, MDYoung Chung, MD
1987-1992
Dennis Y.K. Wen, MDDennis Y.K. Wen, MD
1987-1992

1991

William F. Ganz, MDWilliam F. Ganz, MD
1986-1991
Frank L. Genovese, MDFrank L. Genovese, MD
1986-1991

1990

Christine M. Cox, MDChristine M. Cox, MD
1985-1990

1989

Anthony G. Bottini, MDAnthony G. Bottini, MD
1984-1989
 
1988
Thomas A. Bergman, MDThomas A. Bergman, MD
1983-1988
Mary E. Dunn, MDMary E. Dunn, MD
1983-1988

1987

H. Dennis Mollman, MD, PhDH. Dennis Mollman, MD, PhD
1982-1987
S. David Moss, MDS. David Moss, MD
1982-1987
Aizik L. Wolf, MDAizik L. Wolf, MD
1982-1987

1986

Edward G. Hames III, MD, PhDEdward G. Hames III, MD, PhD
1981-1986

1985

J. Bob Blacklock, MDJ. Bob Blacklock, MD
1980-1985
Gary L. Rea, MD, PhDGary L. Rea, MD, PhD
1979-1985

1983

Voravut Chanyavanich, MDVoravut Chanyavanich, MD
1978-1983
Terry W. Hood, MDTerry W. Hood, MD
1978-1983
Petr O. Ruzicka, MDPetr O. Ruzicka, MD
1978-1983

1982

John C. Godersky, MDJohn C. Godersky, MD
1977-1982
Richard P. Moser, MDRichard P. Moser, MD
1977-1982
Mahmoud G. Nagib, MDMahmoud G. Nagib, MD
1977-1982

1981

Alexa I. Canady, MDAlexa I. Canady, MD
1976-1981
Dennis L. Shubert, MD, PhDDennis L. Shubert, MD, PhD
1977-1981

1980

John R. Mawk, MDJohn R. Mawk, MD
1975-1980

1979

W. H. Druckemiller, Jr., MDW. H. Druckemiller, Jr., MD
1974-1979
Robert D. Harris, MD, PhDRobert D. Harris, MD, PhD
1974-1979

1978

Daniel B. Ahlberg, MDDaniel B. Ahlberg, MD
1971-1972; 1974-1978
Fernando G. Diaz, MD, PhDFernando G. Diaz, MD, PhD
1973-1978

1977

Robert G. Clubb, MDRobert G. Clubb, MD
1972-1977
Kenneth J. Murray, MD, PhDKenneth J. Murray, MD, PhD
1973-1979
Andrew J.K. Smith, MD, PhDAndrew J.K. Smith, MD, PhD
1972-1977

1976

Richard S. Gregory, MDRichard S. Gregory, MD
1967-1970; 1973-1977

1975

George S. Allen, MD, PhDGeorge S. Allen, MD, PhD
1970-1975
Phudhiphorn Thienprasit, MD, PhDPhudhiphorn Thienprasit, MD, PhD
1970-1975

1974

Harry O. Cole, MDHarry O. Cole, MD
1969-1974
Humberto Ortiz-Suarez, MD, PhDHumberto Ortiz-Suarez, MD, PhD
1969-1974
Gaylan L. Rockswold, MD, PhDGaylan L. Rockswold, MD, PhD
1969-1974

1973

Willis E. Brown, MDWillis E. Brown, MD
1968-1973
Norval M. Simms, MDNorval M. Simms, MD
1968-1973
Deceased 7/24/1975

1972

James I. Ausman, MD, PhDJames I. Ausman, MD, PhD
1964-1965; 1969-1972
Kil Soo Choi, MDKil Soo Choi, MD
1970-1972
Harry M. Rogers, MDHarry M. Rogers, MD
1967-1972

1971

Robert E. Maxwell, MD, PhDRobert E. Maxwell, MD, PhD
1966-1971
Anavankot Mohandas, MDAnavankot Mohandas, MD
1966-1971

1970

David Danoff, MDDavid Danoff, MD
1965-1970

1969

John L. Seymour, MDJohn L. Seymour, MD
1965-1969
Donald L. Erickson, MDDonald L. Erickson, MD
1964-1969

1968

Edward L. Seljeskog, MD, PhDEdward L. Seljeskog, MD, PhD
1963-1968
John P. Wissinger, MDJohn P. Wissinger, MD
1963-1968

1967

Michael E. Carey, MDMichael E. Carey, MD
1962-1967

1965

John Cleary, MD, PhDJohn Cleary, MD, PhD
1965
Fernando G. Diaz, MD, PhDFernando Ruiz Garcia, MD
1964-1965
Donlin M. Long, MD, PhDDonlin M. Long, MD, PhD
1960-1965

1964

Warren Boop, MDWarren Boop, MD
1960-1964
August W. Geise, MDAugust W. Geise, MD
1960-1964
Deceased 1/14/1997

1963

Joseph H. Galicich, MDJoseph H. Galicich, MD
1958-1963
John Serbu, MDJohn Serbu, MD
1959-1963
Deceased 12/17/1999

1962

Erich S. Wisiol, MDErich S. Wisiol, MD
1958-1962
Deceased 11/21/2004

1961

Jim L. Story, MDJim L. Story, MD
1956-1961
Jeong Wha Chu, MDJeong Wha Chu, MD
1959-1961
Max E. Zarling, MDMax E. Zarling, MD
1957-1961

1960

Lucien R. Hodges, MDLucien R. Hodges, MD
1956-1960
Deceased 6/19/2000

1959

Richard H. Strassburger, MDRichard H. Strassburger, MD
1956-1959

1957

Bo Sung Sim, MDBo Sung Sim, MD
1955-1957
Ralph L. Suechtin, MDRalph L. Suechtin, MD
1953-1957
James E. McIntosch, MDJames E. McIntosch, MD
1953-1957

1956

Howard Chandler, MDHoward Chandler, MD
1952-1956
Purdue L. Gould, MDPurdue L. Gould, MD
1952-1956
Deceased 8/24/2011

1955

Shelley N. Chou, MD, PhDShelley N. Chou, MD, PhD
1950-1955
Deceased 7/21/2001
William S. Ogle, MDWilliam S. Ogle, MD
1954-1955

1954

David R. Johnson, MDDavid R. Johnson, MD
1948-1954
Deceased 11/4/2005

1953

Carrel M. Caudill, MDCarrel M. Caudill, MD
1949-1953
Deceased 1/1/2006
    
Gerald L. Haines, MD, PhDGerald L. Haines, MD, PhD
1949-1953
Deceased 2/11/2015

1952

Martin E. Feferman, MDMartin E. Feferman, MD
1948-1952
Deceased 5/21/2011

1951

Paul S. Blake, MDPaul S. Blake, MD
1947-1951
Deceased 5/23/1997

1950

Robert L. Merrick, MDRobert L. Merrick, MD
1949-1950
Deceased 10/16/2004
C. Kent Olson, MDC. Kent Olson, MD
1946-1950
Deceased 9/6/2000

1949

Jules D. Levin, MDJules D. Levin, MD
1942-1949
Deceased 2/16/2002

1947

Lyle A. French, MD, PhDLyle A. French, MD, PhD
1940-1947
Deceased 10/19/2004

1946

Leonard A. Titrud, MD, PhDLeonard A. Titrud, MD, PhD
1939-1946
Deceased 10/18/2004

1938

Harold Buchstein, MDHarold Buchstein, MD
1935-1938
Deceased 10/29/1987