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Carla M. Pugh, MD, PhD, FACS

Surgical Services

  • Acute Care Surgery

Contact Dr. Pugh


(608) 262-2147

600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53729

Carla M. Pugh, MD, PhD, FACS

Vice Chair, Education and Patient Safety
Clinical Director, UW Health Clinical Simulation Program
Section of Trauma, Acute Care Surgery, Burn and Surgical Critical Care
Division of General Surgery

In 2011 Dr. Pugh received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dr. Pugh is also the developer of several decision-based simulators that are currently being used to assess intra-operative judgment and team skills.


  • MD, Howard University College of Medicine, 1992
  • General Surgery Residency, Howard University Hospital, 1992-1997
  • PhD, Stanford University School of Education, 2001
  • Clinical Fellowship in Acute Care Surgery, University of Michigan, 2009

Clinical Specialties

Dr. Pugh is certified by the American Board of Surgery. She specializes in general surgery. She is a member of the Department of Surgery’s Section of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

Research Interests

Dr. Pugh’s research interests include the use of simulation technology for medical and surgical education. Dr. Pugh holds a method patent on the use of sensor and data acquisition technology to measure and characterize the sense of touch. Currently, more than 100 medical and nursing schools use one of Dr. Pugh’s sensor enabled training tools for their students and trainees. The use of simulation technology to assess and quantitatively define hands-on clinical skills is one of her major research areas.

Simulation Engineering for Surgical Education (SEnSE) Lab


Recent Publications
  • Development and evaluation of a simulation-based continuing medical education course: beyond lectures and credit hours.
    Pugh CM, Arafat FO, Kwan C, Cohen ER, Kurashima Y, Vassiliou MC, Fried GM
    Am. J. Surg. 2015 Oct; 210(4):603-9.
    [PubMed ID: 26384792]
    More Information
  • "See one, do one, teach one": inadequacies of current methods to train surgeons in hernia repair.
    Zahiri HR, Park AE, Pugh CM, Vassiliou M, Voeller G
    Surg Endosc 2015 Jul 22.
    [PubMed ID: 26198155]
    More Information
  • Raising the quality of hernia care: Is there a need?
    Park AE, Zahiri HR, Pugh CM, Vassiliou M, Voeller G
    Surg Endosc 2015 Aug; 29(8):2061-71.
    [PubMed ID: 26123329]
    More Information
  • Use of simulators to explore specialty recommendation for a palpable breast mass.
    Laufer S, Ray RD, D'Angelo AD, Jones GF, Pugh CM
    Am. J. Surg. 2015 Jun 29.
    [PubMed ID: 26198334]
    More Information
  • Residents' perception of skill decay during dedicated research time.
    D'Angelo AD, Ray RD, Jenewein CG, Jones GF, Pugh CM
    J. Surg. Res. 2015 Jun 23.
    [PubMed ID: 26197949]
    More Information Copyright © 2015 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System