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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
Vice Chair, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 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
  • 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. 2017 Dec; 266(6):1069-1074.
    [PubMed ID: 27655241, PMC ID: 5360550]
    More Information
  • Modeling Surgical Technical Skill Using Expert Assessment for Automated Computer Rating.
    Azari DP, Frasier LL, Quamme SRP, Greenberg CC, Pugh CM, Greenberg JA, Radwin RG
    Ann. Surg. 2017 Sep 06.
    [PubMed ID: 28885509]
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  • Residents' surgical performance during the laboratory years: an analysis of rule-based errors.
    Nathwani JN, Wise BJ, Garren ME, Mohamadipanah H, Van Beek N, DiMarco SM, Pugh CM
    J. Surg. Res. 2017 Nov; 219():226-231.
    [PubMed ID: 29078886]
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  • A structured, extended training program to facilitate adoption of new techniques for practicing surgeons.
    Greenberg JA, Jolles S, Sullivan S, Quamme SP, Funk LM, Lidor AO, Greenberg C, Pugh CM
    Surg Endosc 2017 Jun 22.
    [PubMed ID: 28643054]
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  • Procedural Simulations and Reflective Practice: Meeting the Need.
    Sullivan S, Ruis A, Pugh C
    J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A 2017 May; 27(5):455-458.
    [PubMed ID: 28157421]
    More Information Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System