Skip to main content
Find information about education facilities for the Department of Surgery at IU School of Medicine, including the Surgical Skills Center.
collage of photos showing trainees practicing various surgical skills at tables and operating room beds

Surgical Skills Center

The Surgical Skills Center in the Department of Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine was formally accredited in 2019 by the American College of Surgeons as a Comprehensive Education Institute. Equipped with modern simulation tools to aid all surgical learners, from novices to surgeons in practice, these advanced facilities provide opportunities to all trainees in the Department of Surgery to hone individual surgical skills within a low-stakes environment. This structured skills and simulation environment improves performance and patient safety through structured and deliberate practice.

The Department of Surgery is committed to the education and development of excellent clinicians who possess the skills, knowledge, attitudes and abilities essential for providing the highest standard of care to patients across Indiana and beyond.

American College of Surgeons Fellowship Program

As an American College of Surgeons Accredited Educational Institute (ACS-AEI), the program offers a two year Surgical Education Research Fellowship. It is a two year professional development opportunity for general surgery and integrated surgical sub-specialty trainees interested in surgical education. Fellows gain experience in surgical simulation and in designing, implementing and evaluating multi-disciplinary educational curricula. Additionally, fellows will design, implement, analyze, present and publish research projects in their field(s) of focus. The scope of impact for these activities will include not only the Department of Surgery but also opportunities for national and international collaboration with other public and private education, simulation, and research centers. Fellows present their works of scholarship at Surgical Education Week (the joint meeting of the Association for Surgical Education and the Association for Program Directors in Surgery), the annual ACS-AEI Simulation Summit in Chicago, Illinois, and at many other clinical meetings with a focus on surgical education. Through these activities, fellows will have access to thought leaders, experienced mentors, previous surgical education fellows, and their peers in surgical education.

Under the leadership of E. Matthew Ritter, MD, MHPE, director of the Surgical Skills Center, and Dimitrios Stefanidis, MD, PhD, surgical education fellowship director, the skills lab curricula involve all residency and fellowship training programs in the Department of Surgery with scheduled sessions throughout the academic year. Trainees observe, practice and evaluate their performance. The Surgical Skills Center is a designated Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) Test Center for FES and FLS, and these programs are completed early in the residency curriculum to maximize resident performance.

Surgical Skills Center Team

  • Meet the Skills Center team

    group photo of Surgical Skills Lab Team in white coats

    From left to right: Lisa Fisher (Skills Lab manager), Payton Miller, MD (PGY-2), Shannon Dale (surgical training coordinator), Madeline Blackwell, MD (PGY-2), Christopher Thomas, MD (PGY-3), E. Matt Ritter, MD (director of the Surgical Skills Center), Brianne Nickel (clinical education leader), Maya Hunt, MD (PGY-2), Jennifer Sickles (surgical training coordinator), Dimitrios Stefanidis, MD, PhD (surgical education fellowship director)

    For questions regarding the Surgical Skills Center, please get in touch with us by email at

  • Meet our fellows
    Fall 2023 collage of surgical skills lab fellows
trainees practice surgical skills in a simulation

Simulation Curriculum

Under the close supervision of the Department of Surgery faculty and the skills center coordinators and fellows, trainees can practice and receive immediate feedback on their performance in all areas of simulation. The Surgical Skills Center provides skills-based and simulation-based training and assessment of surgical trainees and practicing surgeons.

View curriculum

In addition to weekly sessions for interns and monthly sessions for residents, the center supports third- and fourth-year medical student surgical clerkships and continued medical education programs offering advanced surgical techniques in all surgical disciplines.

National surgical initiatives

  • Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)

  • Advanced Surgical Skills for Exposure in Trauma (ASSET)

  • Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM)

  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS)

  • Fundamental of Endoscopic Surgery (FES)

  • Fundamentals of Robotic Surgery (FRS)

  • Advanced Training in Laparoscopic Suturing (ATLAS)

  • Robotic Surgery SimNow program

  • ACS Ultrasound for Surgeons

All initiatives are offered as part of the skills curriculum at no cost to the resident. The skills center is a vital component of the Department of Surgery’s education program, continually advancing to meet the needs of modern surgical training.

Resident Access to Simulators

Surgery residents have 24/7 access to access to the following simulators:

  • FLS Trainer Boxes
  • ATLAS Trainer Boxes
  • 3-D Med Laparoscopic Common Bile Duct Exploration Training System
  • Limbs and Things Endoscopy Training System (ETS)
  • Surgical Science GI Mentor Express
  • Two intuitive Davinci Robotic Consoles with SimNow access, robotic vision cart and robotic patient cart for physical and tissue-based simulation
CT Kindheart Sim lab with resident

Cardiothoracic Surgery Training

Residents and fellows have access to the Kindheart Cardiac Surgery Simulator, the Chamberlain Group Heart Case, and the Chamberlain Group VATS simulator during scheduled Wednesday simulation sessions. Individual practice sessions can be set up with the center with appropriate supervision and notice.

Learn More
two residents participating in hands skills lab with Dr. Mary Lester

Plastic Surgery Training

Residents and fellows engage in multiple Wednesday cadaveric sessions annually. These faculty led sessions include head and neck, abdominal and back flaps, upper and lower extremity flaps and hand reconstruction.

Learn More

Vascular Surgery Training

Residents and fellows have access to the Surgical Science Angio Mentor and engage in specialty-specific labs annually.

Learn More

Expansion Coming Soon

We are excited to expand our surgical education mission as part of the new Medical Education and Research Building at IU School of Medicine.

Learn more

interior rendering of the new building shows a light filled atrium and large staircase

Contact Us

For questions regarding the Surgical Skills Center, please reach out to us via email at

Email the center


Connect with the Department of Surgery

  Twitter Instagram Facebook