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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
  • 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
  • Use of decision-based simulations to assess resident readiness for operative independence.
    D'Angelo AL, Cohen ER, Kwan C, Laufer S, Greenberg C, Greenberg J, Wiegmann D, Pugh CM
    Am. J. Surg. 2015 Jan; 209(1):132-9.
    [PubMed ID: 25454962, PMC ID: 4426906]
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  • Characterizing touch using pressure data and auto regressive models.
    Laufer S, Pugh CM, Van Veen BD
    Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2014 Aug; 2014():1839-42.
    [PubMed ID: 25570335, PMC ID: 4288476]
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  • Quantifying technical skills during open operations using video-based motion analysis.
    Glarner CE, Hu YY, Chen CH, Radwin RG, Zhao Q, Craven MW, Wiegmann DA, Pugh CM, Carty MJ, Greenberg CC
    Surgery 2014 Sep; 156(3):729-34.
    [PubMed ID: 24962187, PMC ID: 4150845]
    More Information Copyright © 2015 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System