Carla M. Pugh, MD, PhD
Photo: Carla M. Pugh



Elected 2016

Dr. Pugh is a recognized authority on simulation and the use of advanced engineering technologies to measure hands-on clinical skills. Her research program focuses on the development of simulation-based, clinical-skills assessments. Through a series of reproducible experiments, her team has made a seminal contribution by discovering that sensor technology can be used to delineate accuracy in hands-on clinical skills.

This NIH funded, transdisciplinary work involves engineers, biostatisticians and education specialists, and addresses a critical need for defensible and objective clinical performance metrics. In the past 10 years, she has fabricated over twenty different simulators. These models support a paradigm shift away from the use of observation as the gold standard, stand-alone means for evaluating hands-on skills. Currently, over 200 medical and nursing schools are using one of Dr. Pugh’s sensor-enabled trainers.

In 2013, Dr. Pugh received a grant from the Department of Defense. This grant involves the use of magnetic motion tracking technology to quantify psychomotor movement and cognitive decisions during complex medical and surgical procedures. Data collected during these simulations are complex and multifaceted and require advanced techniques and processes for data mining and data analytics. Her recent ground breaking results with this technology shows that periods of inactivity (idle time) differentiate skill level and task difficulty.

Dr. Pugh has published in the NEJM and JAMA and has received an early career scientist award from President Obama. Her goal is to have a significant impact on medical training, credentialing and healthcare quality.

Honors / awards

National Academy of Medicine (2021)