Surgery Education

We are advancing surgical education research and innovation.

Our Surgery Education Research

Today's healthcare challenges and opportunities demand new approaches to training the next generation of surgeons and surgeon educators. With its history as the country's first teaching hospital, the University of Michigan is a natural leader of this evolution and renewal of surgical education in the United States.

The goals of our research initiative are multidimensional. We use rigorous scientific methods to understand and optimize how surgical training programs educate surgical residents. We apply and disseminate the results of our work to as part of a movement towards evidence-based surgical education practice.

Visit our Faculty & Lab Directory for a list of all the centers, programs, labs, and independent investigators in the Department of Surgery.

Themes & Impact

Optimally trained surgeons are critical to caring for patients, and we remain unwavering in our belief that no patient should ever have to wonder about the competence of their surgeon. At the heart of the many faculty surgical education research initiatives at U-M lies our Center for Surgical Training and Research (CSTAR), which focuses on four key areas:

  1. Ensuring that surgical trainees are competent
  2. Evidence-based curriculum development
  3. Culture and leadership development
  4. Using science to inform national surgical education policy

Our work spans many disciplines, drawing on work in areas such as health services research, simulation, education, cognitive psychology, anthropology, data science and engineering. Our research has helped shape surgical education internationally. Assessment and communications tools developed by C-STAR investigators are broadening and deepening conversations around competency- and outcomes-based learning and teaching. Participation in several large, national collaborations further strengthens these efforts.

  • Fellowship Program: Fellowships for residents and students are preparing the next generation of surgical education research scholars.
  • Residents as Educators: This novel two-year curriculum helps residents develop skills to effectively teach and mentor medical students as the residents transition into faculty roles.
  • SIMPL: This app is used by around the world by thousands of surgical faculty to assess and provide feedback to surgical trainees.
  • OpTrust: This innovative program studies the process of how residents gain competency in the operating room and works to further hone these interactions.

Partnerships & Collaborations

Surgical education research at U-M is highly collaborative. For example, C-STAR works closely with the U-M Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy and the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety. C-STAR faculty also work with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and multiple Boards including the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Family Medicine. In addition, faculty conduct research in collaboration with dozens of other surgical residencies around the country. The annual Surgical Education Symposium brings together investigators from across campus and the nation to share findings and spark new collaborations.