Honoring Black History Month: Dr. Alexa Irene Canady

By Lisa Nails | Patient Navigator

Dr. Alexa Irene Canady, 67, is a pioneer in medicine as the first African American female Neurosurgeon in the United States in 1981.

Dr. Alexa Irene Canady

Born in 1950 in Lansing, Michigan to a father who was a dentist and mother who was an educator, Dr. Alexa Canady furthered her pursuit of knowledge and acquired a degree in Zoology in 1971 from the University of Michigan. After almost dropping out during her undergraduate studies, Dr. Canady eventually graduated Cum Laude from the College of Medicine at the University of Michigan, where she became fascinated with Neurosurgery. Although she was discouraged by advisors to stray from pursuing a career in the field, she continued on despite the odds.

Shattering expectations and breaking glass ceilings, Dr. Canady became the first African American female surgical intern at Yale New Haven Hospital in 1975 and would go on to complete her residency at the University of Minnesota in 1981.  Dr. Canady’s hard work eventually paid off, as she became the Chief of Neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan at the young age of 36.

Her research in children includes studies on the effects of hydrocephalus, a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. Dr. Canady retired from medicine in 2012, yet continues to advocate for women in the field of medicine.

NOAH honors Black History Month with snapshots of just a few of the important, impactful, and life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America. One of our primary goals at NOAH is to ensure quality healthcare for every member of our community. To do that, we will look at where we have been as a society, what we have accomplished, and how we will collectively achieve this goal.

Women’s Health Week – What You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer

By Hadass Fuerst, DO and Marissa Jacobs, DO

Cervical Cancer

Around 12,000 people are diagnosed cervical cancer every year. Understand more about this cancer from two of NOAH’s family medicine providers, Dr. Hadass Fuerst and Dr. Marissa Jacobs.

What is Cervical Cancer and what causes it?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that forms at the lower end of the uterus. Most cervical cancers are caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the most spread sexually transmitted infection (STI). About 80% of people will be infected with this virus at some point in their lives, and most people’s bodies will naturally fight off the virus. For those who can’t fight it off, HPV can lead to health issues like cervical cancer later in life. That’s why the HPV vaccine is so important. More on that later.

How Can I Lower My Risk of Cervical Cancer?

Yes! First, get regular Pap smears/tests. According to the CDC, millions of women aged 21-65 haven’t had a Pap test in the last five years! Pap tests are covered by private insurance and Medicaid/AHCCCS and are the best way to diagnose any problems. Pap tests save lives.

Second, get the HPV vaccine if possible. It is safe and very effective at reducing the risk of getting HPV-caused cancers later in life.

The CDC estimates that around 93% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented by regular Pap tests and HPV vaccine.

How Often Do I need a Pap Test?

It used to be that Pap tests were recommended every year. With what we know now about HPV and cervical cancer risk factors, that recommendation has changed. The new recommendation for people also being tested for HPV is every three years for people aged 21-29, and every five years for people 30-65.

Who Can Get HPV Vaccines?

Typically, the three-dose HPV vaccine is recommended for males and females around age 11 or 12. We wrote all about the HPV vaccine here!

NOAHfest Carnival and Health Fair