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As one of the top academic surgical departments in the nation, the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery plays an important role in the health of Wisconsinites. Its surgeons not only operate on patients and see them in clinic, but also educate surgical trainees and medical students and conduct research to find new ways to cure and treat disease. In recent years, the department has expanded its mission even further — to become an educational resource for medical professionals throughout the state and region by providing surgical skills and related training.

“The University of Wisconsin is the epicenter for education for the state of Wisconsin and beyond, with many of its programs having national penetrance. The UW’s Department of Surgery has embraced this role with the development of educational programs for surgeons, which have had impact throughout the state as well as the nation," says Dr. K. Craig Kent, professor of surgery and chair of the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Surgery. "Our goal is to keep surgeons up to date with the latest in clinical care. Moreover, we have been able to leverage our strength as a research department to show others around the country how to develop a successful surgical research enterprise.”

The Department of Surgery hosts two destination seminars in May. Neoadjuvant Therapy and Surgery: What You Need to Know for Your Breast Cancer Patients was held May 8 and was led by course director Lee Wilke, MD, a nationally recognized breast surgeon and director of the UW Health Breast Center. More than 60 providers joined Wilke and a multidisciplinary team of plastic surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, pathologists, clinicians, and researchers to learn about evidence-based practices in neoadjuvant therapy, that is, treatment to shrink a tumor before surgery. May 26-27, the UW Department of Surgery will host Programmatic Development in Surgical Health Services Research, the nation’s first course aimed at educating departments of surgery throughout the nation on developing a health services research program. Health services research is a field of study that looks at how people access health care, how much it costs, and patient outcomes. Course director Caprice Greenberg, MD, MPH, is a national leader in health services research; she and other UW surgery faculty will share their experiences building the Wisconsin Surgical Outcomes Research Program (WiSOR). Attendees are currently registered from 17 different institutions around the country.

These events are just two of nearly a dozen hands-on workshops or destination seminars the department is offering this year. Other upcoming events include the Midwest Facial Nerve Conference in August and an Advanced Hernia Repair Course in September. The department offers several other educational opportunities to medical professionals throughout the state and beyond:

GlovesOn — Practicing surgeons often find it challenging to learn advanced surgical skills and new techniques, or become acquainted with new surgical technology and products. Four years ago, UW surgeons began inviting area surgeons into the operating room with them through the GlovesOn program. Visiting surgeons can request training on a specific technique or procedure, then get hands-on experience in the operating room. More than 100 surgeons from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa have participated in this program.

Industry Training Center — Our surgeons strive to stay on the leading edge of surgical technology and practice and are routinely the first in Wisconsin or the first in the region to perform new procedures using the latest instruments. This leadership in surgical excellence led two medical technology companies to establish regional training centers at the UW. These programs welcome surgeons from around the country to train on surgical procedures utilizing the industry’s latest technology.

Online Education — The Department of Surgery offers two online lecture series that allow surgeons and other medical specialists the opportunity to earn free continuing medical education credits, necessary for health professionals to maintain their licensure. Surgery Grand Rounds — weekly lectures where expert physicians present cases, techniques, and knowledge to trainees and other faculty — attracted nearly 700 users from around the world to obtain nearly 4,000 CME credits online last year alone. In addition, the Voice and Swallow Clinics Lecture Series is available for continuing education credit to members of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

The University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery has been providing surgical excellence to the state of Wisconsin for 90 years. More than 100 full-time faculty members perform approximately 22,000 operations annually for adult and pediatric patients in the specialties of cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, transplant surgery, and vascular surgery. Learn more about Department of Surgery educational offerings online, or join our email list to receive updates on our continuing education efforts. Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System