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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
  • 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
  • Evaluation of Simulated Clinical Breast Exam Motion Patterns Using Marker-Less Video Tracking.
    Azari DP, Pugh CM, Laufer S, Kwan C, Chen CH, Yen TY, Hu YH, Radwin RG
    Hum Factors 2015 Nov 6.
    [PubMed ID: 26546381]
    More Information
  • Development of Technical Skills: Education, Simulation, and Maintenance of Certification.
    Sullivan SA, Anderson BM, Pugh CM
    J Craniofac Surg 2015 Nov; 26(8):2270-4.
    [PubMed ID: 26501974]
    More Information
  • 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
  • Medical Training in the Fitbit, Google Glass and Personal Information Era.
    Pugh CM, Golden RN
    WMJ 2015 Aug; 114(4):168-9.
    [PubMed ID: 26436187]
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