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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

Susan Behrens, MD Professor of Surgical Education
Vice Chair, Education and Patient Safety, Department of Surgery
Clinical Director, MOC Portfolio Program and UW Health Clinical Simulation Program
Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering
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
  • Piloting Virtual Surgical Patient Cases with 3rd-year medical students during the surgery rotation.
    Sullivan SA, Bingman E, O'Rourke A, Pugh CM
    Am. J. Surg. 2016 Apr; 211(4):689-696.e1.
    [PubMed ID: 26879419]
    More Information
  • A Multi-Layered Needle Injection Simulator.
    Laufer S, Kempton SJ, Maciolek K, Terry A, Ray RD, Pugh CM, Afifi AM
    Stud Health Technol Inform 2016; 220():205-8.
    [PubMed ID: 27046579]
    More Information
  • A Simulator for Measuring Forces During Surgical Knots.
    Laufer S, Amiel I, Nathwani JN, Mashiach R, Margalit RS, Ray RD, Ziv A, Pugh CM
    Stud Health Technol Inform 2016; 220():199-204.
    [PubMed ID: 27046578]
    More Information
  • Fabric Force Sensors for the Clinical Breast Examination Simulator.
    Laufer S, Rasske K, Stopfer L, Kurzynski C, Abbott T, Platner M, Towles J, Pugh CM
    Stud Health Technol Inform 2016; 220():193-8.
    [PubMed ID: 27046577]
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  • Working volume: validity evidence for a motion-based metric of surgical efficiency.
    D'Angelo AL, Rutherford DN, Ray RD, Laufer S, Mason A, Pugh CM
    Am. J. Surg. 2016 Feb; 211(2):445-50.
    [PubMed ID: 26701699, PMC ID: 4724457]
    More Information Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System