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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

Associate Professor
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
  • Raising the quality of hernia care: Is there a need?
    Park AE, Zahiri HR, Pugh CM, Vassiliou M, Voeller G
    Surg Endosc 2015 Jun 30.
    [PubMed ID: 26123329]
    More Information
  • The use of error analysis to assess resident performance.
    D'Angelo AL, Law KE, Cohen ER, Greenberg JA, Kwan C, Greenberg C, Wiegmann DA, Pugh CM
    Surgery 2015 May 20.
    [PubMed ID: 26003910]
    More Information
  • Operative skill: quantifying surgeon's response to tissue properties.
    D'Angelo AL, Rutherford DN, Ray RD, Mason A, Pugh CM
    J. Surg. Res. 2015 Apr 25.
    [PubMed ID: 26003012]
    More Information
  • Sensor technology in assessments of clinical skill.
    Laufer S, Cohen ER, Kwan C, D'Angelo AL, Yudkowsky R, Boulet JR, McGaghie WC, Pugh CM
    N. Engl. J. Med. 2015 Feb 19; 372(8):784-6.
    [PubMed ID: 25693026, PMC ID: 4425402]
    More Information
  • Idle time: an underdeveloped performance metric for assessing surgical skill.
    D'Angelo AL, Rutherford DN, Ray RD, Laufer S, Kwan C, Cohen ER, Mason A, Pugh CM
    Am. J. Surg. 2015 Apr; 209(4):645-51.
    [PubMed ID: 25725505, PMC ID: 4412306]
    More Information Copyright © 2015 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System