Charles Gray Watson Surgical Education Center

Traditionally, surgical residents trained and acquired skills exclusively in the operating room. For decades, this model has produced well-trained surgeons. The shift towards minimally invasive procedures, including laparoscopic, thoracoscopic, and endovascular techniques, have promoted a more rapid recovery. In order to continue to provide outstanding patient care, optimally train surgical residents, and foster further innovations, much of the training of residents and faculty must occur outside the operating room. Operative techniques must be practiced and mastered with computer-assisted technology, utilizing both dry and wet laboratory practice modules, prior to involvement in clinical operative care. The Charles Gray Watson Surgical Education Center provides optimal training of the next generation of surgeons and medical students.
Named for Charles Gray Watson, MD, a former professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and mentor to generations of medical students and surgical trainees, the Charles Gray Watson Surgical Education Center offers surgical residents and medical students an array of sophisticated educational and training tools, including:
  • Four computer-equipped work stations that give users direct access to vast library resources, a range of medical databases, CD-ROM learning disks, the Internet, and more.
  • Real-time wired access to operating rooms allows residents and students to observe operations in progress and hear the interactions of the chief surgeon with his or her operating room staff.
  • A lecture hall with a "smart" podium, equipped with computer portals, a plasma screen, and the latest audio-visual advances including direct access to digitized radiographs, histology slides, and other useful images, enables students to learn and share in a collaborative atmosphere.
  • The center's tape and CD library allows users to watch a particular operation on tape or CD, then use the training simulators to practice the techniques observed.

The skills lab allows residents and students to practice a variety of operations in a safe laboratory setting before utilizing them in the operating room.  It features:

  • Three virtual reality simulators in the skills laboratory for acquiring laparoscopic, endoscopic, and endovascular skills. The laparoscopic simulator features haptic feedback.  It allows residents to practice basic tasks to build hand-eye coordination, bimanual dexterity, and three-dimensional manipulation. There is an intracorporeal suturing module and modules for laparoscopic cholecystectomy, laparoscopic ventral hernia repair, and laparoscopic gastric bypass.
  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery trainer box and equipment. The residents train on the five required skills and are tested annually. Passing the skills and cognitive tests are required prior to taking the American Board of Surgery certifying examination.
  • Skills sessions that are held throughout the year during Wednesday morning conferences and include basic knot tying and suturing, bowel anastomoses, laparoscopic suturing, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, band adjustments, and single incision laparoscopic surgery.

Other Features Include:

  • Teleconferencing capabilities
  • Reading room
  • Conference space to accommodate medical student orientations
  • Resident courses

The residents also have access to a number of online educational resources, including the American College of Surgeons Fundamentals of Surgery Curriculum, Selected Readings in General Surgery, the Surgical Council on Resident Education (SCORE portal), and Access Surgery.

Course descriptions and program requirements are subject to change.

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