Black History Month

February 12, 2023


By Tina Chen

In recognition of Black History Month, U-M Concussion Center is running a month-long Twitter campaign where we celebrate the legacy of Black advocates, physicians, and neuroscientists who helped shape the fields of brain injury and highlight organizations that help raise awareness surrounding equitable access to healthcare. 

Some stories that you may or may not have heard:

  • Harriet Tubman suffered a traumatic brain injury from a blow to the head by an enslaver before becoming one of the prominent figures in the fight against slavery. Some scholars note this injury could have been the catalyst that caused her to escape slavery and help others. 
  • Dr. Louis Tompkins Wright, one of the medical pioneers who overcame the barriers for African American physicians, is known to be a leader with the National Association for the advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for more than 20 years. Did you know he was also an expert in brain injury management? He invented a metal brace to cushion head and neck injuries in the early 20th century.  
  • Upon graduating from Howard University College of Medicine in 1954, Dr. E. Latunde Odeku practiced medicine in Nigeria before returning to the United States for neurosurgery residency training at the University of Michigan. Dr. Odeku became the first African-American neurosurgeon trained in the United States, opening the door for future neurosurgeons from both countries to contribute to the field. 
  • We are proud to honor our Michigan alum, Dr. Alexa Irene Canady, the first female Black Neurosurgeon in American history. Born in Lansing, Michigan, Dr. Canady graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Zoology in 1971 before graduating from the College of Medicine in 1975.

Interested in learning more about what we shared on Twitter throughout this month? Be sure to follow us @UMichConcussion!