We often have the opportunity to chase our dreams but we decide to let them go because we build an impermeable wall around it. A blind man has nothing to physically scare him because he cannot see, same thing applies to success. When we are determined against all odds to leave our footprints on the sands of time, nothing can hold us back. Not even colour or gender.

Neurosurgery is a delicate aspect part of the practise of medicine and that is because it is the medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with injury to, or disorders of the brain, spinal cord and spinal column, and peripheral nerves within all parts of the body. According to the NorthWest Neurosurgery Institute, although women account for 49% of medical school graduates in the U.S., they represent only 12% of all neurosurgery residents.



Neurosurgeon Dr. Odette Harris of Stanford University is the first black woman to become a Professor of Neurosurgery at an Ivy League school in the United States. She is also the first black woman to be named a professor of neurosurgery since Dr. Alexa Canady, a specialist in pediatric neurosurgery, rose to that position at Wayne State University in 1981. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College, receiving her medical degree from Stanford’s School of Medicine, where she also completed her internship and residency at the university’s Medical Center. She has an MPH from the University of California at Berkeley.

There is a question that we might need to ask ourselves as women now;

Will we have to wait another 30 years to see the next woman in this role or can we stop and recognise, that this is a moment to foster change?

-Dr. Harris Odette


Dr. Harris noted acknowledges that race and gender are inextricably linked and that Dartmouth had a lot of issues with race when she started as a freshman. She also notes that race played a role in her experience as a doctor, noting, “You’re black, you’re a woman, you’re in an all-white hospital – patients are constantly reminding you of that. I could list probably a hundred different experiences where I was asked to empty the garbage, or take out the trays, or clean out the toilets when I was just there to use the bathroom myself.”

I feel like we all have that little slither, that unique thing that we bring, regardless of what we look like, regardless of what gender we are.”

There is no doubt hovering around the fact that Dr. Harris Odette deserves some accolades.



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