Carla Pugh

At TEDMED 2014, surgeon and educator Carla Pugh explores a major missing link in medical education – the effective development of haptic skills.


Surgeon and education pioneer Carla Pugh wants doctors to fine-tune their haptic skills as a standardized part of their clinical education and daily practice. This means measuring it, developing a language to discuss it, and giving objective feedback for improving it. She achieves this vision in her lab by creating realistic patient models from unexpected materials that range from lentils to badminton birdies. The materials are then combined with sensors and data acquisition software, and teach everything from the breast exam to hernia repair. She directs the Clinical Simulation Program at the University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, where she is also vice chair of education and patient safety. For her innovative work, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Carla is also a member of TEDMED 2015's Editorial Advisory Board.


A Surgeon's Touch: Q&A with Carla Pugh

Utilizing a novel tool for the comprehensive assessment of resident operative performance
Pugh CM, et al. J Surg Educ. November 201; 6, 813–20.

Low-cost, locally fabricated simulators: the wave of the future
Pugh CM. J Surg Res. June 2011; 1, 29–30.


Building Organs Even the Prudish Can Handle
Morgan, R. The New York Times: Health. February 2008.

Cool Job: Making Model Organs for Med Schools
Hosted by Martin, R. NPR: The Bryant Park Project. February 2008.

Training the doctor to do sensitive exams
Cohen, D. Reuters. March 2007.

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Haptic Educator