UW Surgeon Carla Pugh Lectures at Prestigious Biomedical Symposium
Bethesda, Maryland - Dr. Carla Pugh of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health was among nine presenters, including Nobel and National Medal of Science laureates, invited to discuss research at the nexus of science, engineering and health care at a national symposium.
The June 22 event celebrated the 10th anniversary of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and was held at the main National Institutes of Health campus.
Pugh, who is vice chair of education and patient safety in the Department of Surgery, talked about her research, which began during her doctoral studies at Stanford University. It involves using sensors to teach and evaluate hands-on skills in medical students and other health professionals. She holds several patents for technology that can be used to train people to do clinical procedures, such as tracheal intubation and physical examinations including rectal, pelvic and breast exams.
"I talked about how my motivation came from my school years, and trying to understand how that knowledge could be transferred from the finger tips of an expert to your fingers," she says. "I am interested in the people who get it right every time. And what part is teachable - and what is not."
Other presenters at the event included Nobel Laureates Phillip A. Sharp, MIT, and Roger Y. Tsien, University of California-San Diego; and National Medal of Science Laureates Shu Chien, University of California-San Diego; Francis Collins, NIH director; and Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering.
"It was very humbling to be in their presence," she says, "especially after learning the history of NIBIB and the fact that I was one of the first extramural winners of a PECASE award from that institute."
Last year, Dr. Pugh received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for her research on a sensor device that judges whether people are performing breast exams correctly, and thus are detecting abnormalities. PECASE awards are the highest honor given by the U.S. government to outstanding young scientists.
At University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Pugh is a surgeon and clinical director of the new UW Health simulation facility. The simulation program opened in November and trains physicians, nurses and emergency responders in a setting that recreates operating suites, hospital rooms and trauma centers.
In addition to numerous awards, 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 are using one of her sensor-enabled training tools for their students and trainees.
Date Published: 07/09/2012