Skip to Content
Carla M. Pugh, MD, PhD, FACS

Surgical Services

  • Acute Care Surgery

Contact Dr. Pugh


(608) 262-2147

600 Highland Avenue
MC 7375
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
Division of Trauma, Acute Care Surgery, Burn and Surgical Critical Care
Divisions 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 concern the use of simulation technology for medical and surgical education assessment. 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
  • A Holistic Model of Surgical Expertise and Competency.
    Pugh CM
    Ann. Surg. 2017 Feb; 265(2):268-269.
    [PubMed ID: 27805965]
    More Information
  • A Simulation-based, cognitive assessment of resident decision making during complex urinary catheterization scenarios.
    Nathwani JN, Law KE, Witt AK, Ray RD, DiMarco SM, Pugh CM
    Am. J. Surg. 2017 Apr; 213(4):622-626.
    [PubMed ID: 28089342]
    More Information
  • Research Residents' perceptions of skill decay: Effects of repeated skills assessments and scenario difficulty.
    Jones GF, Forsyth K, Jenewein CG, Ray RD, DiMarco S, Pugh CM
    Am. J. Surg. 2017 Apr; 213(4):631-636.
    [PubMed ID: 28038715]
    More Information
  • Do errors and critical events relate to hernia repair outcomes?
    Law Forsyth K, DiMarco SM, Jenewein CG, Ray RD, D'Angelo AD, Cohen ER, Wiegmann DA, Pugh CM
    Am. J. Surg. 2017 Apr; 213(4):652-655.
    [PubMed ID: 27998548]
    More Information
  • Relationship Between Technical Errors and Decision-Making Skills in the Junior Resident.
    Nathwani JN, Fiers RM, Ray RD, Witt AK, Law KE, DiMarco S, Pugh CM
    J Surg Educ 2016 Nov - Dec; 73(6):e84-e90.
    [PubMed ID: 27671618]
    More Information Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System