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 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
  • A Holistic Model of Surgical Expertise and Competency.
    Pugh CM
    Ann. Surg. 2016 Nov 1.
    [PubMed ID: 27805965]
    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
  • Rescuing the Clinical Breast Examination: Advances in Classifying Technique and Assessing Physician Competency.
    Laufer S, D'Angelo AD, Kwan C, Ray RD, Yudkowsky R, Boulet JR, McGaghie WC, Pugh CM
    Ann. Surg. 2016 Sep 21.
    [PubMed ID: 27655241]
    More Information
  • Do resident's leadership skills relate to ratings of technical skill?
    Gannon SJ, Law KE, Ray RD, Nathwani JN, DiMarco SM, D'Angelo AD, Pugh CM
    J. Surg. Res. 2016 Dec; 206(2):466-471.
    [PubMed ID: 27884344]
    More Information
  • Error tolerance: an evaluation of residents' repeated motor coordination errors.
    Law KE, Gwillim EC, Ray RD, D'Angelo AD, Cohen ER, Fiers RM, Rutherford DN, Pugh CM
    Am. J. Surg. 2016 Oct; 212(4):609-614.
    [PubMed ID: 27586850]
    More Information Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System