A Research-Based Revolution

The GSEC teaches across the surgical learning trajectory, interfacing with medical pre-clerkship and clerkship students, residents, fellows, and attendings. Our goal is to train both teachers and learners in a healthy environment. Included below are a few examples of some of the roles that the GSEC plays in the field of surgical education.


The GSEC actively seeks to develop pre-clerkship medical students and allow them to explore their interest in general surgery and surgical subspecialties. We have developed multiple courses designed for early exposure to surgical concepts, technical skills, and mentorship.  Specifically, the GSEC has revamped SURG 205 Technical Training and Preparation for the Surgical Environment. The GSEC team helps to prepare medical students for the perioperative environment through systematic, evidence-based scrub training.


The GSEC has also transformed how clerkship students are taught through a flipped classroom, harnessing student self-directed learning. GSEC fellows teach many of the hands-on clerkship sessions including central line placement, introduction to laparoscopic surgery, suturing and knot tying, trauma simulation, bowel anastomosis, among many others. Sub-internships are also available at Stanford to prepare fourth-year medical students, both visiting and local, for application to surgical residency programs.

Intern Bootcamp 

Surgical Education Fellows are also responsible for the yearly GSEC Intern Bootcamp. This one-week session, which takes place just prior to the start of internship year, offers matched surgical residents the opportunity to hone their technical skills with guided video instruction from Stanford experts and hands-on surgical skill development activities such as placement of arterial lines, central lines, and chest tubes.


The Balance in Life program, supported by the Department of Surgery, is an effort to support resident wellness. The GSEC fellows are interested in factors such as emotional intelligence, depression, and grit to help gain a better understanding of why attrition rates are high in surgery and the factors that lead residents to leave surgery. We have seen positive outcomes as a result of interventions supporting healthy, skilled trainees. The Surgical Education Fellows are also involved in facilitating some of the residency teaching/skills sessions and have developed multiple assessment tools for surgical skills including central line placement and bowel anastomosis. 

PD Years 

During professional development (PD) years, supported by Department of Surgery Leadership, the Stanford-Surgical Policy Improvement Research and Education Center (S-SPIRE), alongside the GSEC, introduces surgical residents to research and recruitment opportunities. Through the formalized, multi-week “PD Bootcamp,” residents develop strong peer relationships, network with mentors, and learn how to maximize career potential.


Other areas of interest include diversity in surgical trainees, the role of learning preferences in ABSITE studying, ‘Residents as Teachers’ courses, video-based preparation for operative cases, intraoperative teaching courses, the importance of laparoscopic and robotic surgery training, third year surgery clerkship modules to improve exposure to surgical subspecialties, and many more.