SEAL is designed to provide a comprehensive learning environment that can meet the needs of learners who are at different levels and represent various disciplines. We have successfully trained attending physicians, surgical residents, fellows, medical students, and physician assistants.

We continue to make advances and have increased our learner pool by adding undergraduate physician assistants, nurses, and industry staff to our roster of learners.


The curriculum of SEAL is integrated with the overall general surgery resident curriculum and supplements the didactic curriculum content.

Courses prepare the residents for clinical skills required on the ward and in the operating/procedure room or emergency department. A web-based version of the didactic content complements lectures and incorporates objectives and a post-test.

Topics for minimally invasive surgery didactics are included in the lecture series and online curriculum in addition to the skills addressed in the lab. This assures a fundamental knowledge base for all learners.

Time requirements for surgery resident use: One day per month per clinical rotation, plus independent user time for residents.


Rotations in SEAL address some of the core competency areas essential for a surgical resident curriculum. Some of these key components include:

  • Patient care: We supplement standard rotation content with skills curricula, both rotation-specific and core. Testing for the skills is SEAL-based, and can be assessed with a case-based operative skills evaluation tool. Remediation is based on both clinical skills assessment as well as skills lab standardized testing.
  • Practice-based learning and improvement: SEAL provides access to an extensive web-based library of tools with links to outside resources such as video libraries, mdconsult, etc. Some didactic training on basic skills for the Web-based tools is part of the curriculum.
  • Systems-based practice: ICD-9 coding and CPT codes are covered in the available online resources. Discussion of billing levels is part of the didactic curriculum.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills: SEAL coordinates a team-training and interaction retreat for the junior residents and a leadership retreat for the seniors and chiefs.

Educational Objectives

The primary tasks of SEAL are training, patient safety, and acquisition of new surgical techniques. These important functions entail the development and certification of procedural competence.

Validation of these techniques may minimize the use of animals in education and revolutionize surgical training in the future.

SEAL uses virtual reality, computer-based learning, and other simulation techniques for:

  • Training
  • Patient safety improvement
  • Certification of competence
  • Increased operating room efficiency
  • Applied research on surgical simulators equipment, instruments, or techniques, and educational research in surgery

Learn about courses offered at SEAL.

Medical education research has and will continue to be a high priority for SEAL. Through collaborations with both external and internal parties, SEAL has participated in a variety of research projects that span a range of medical fields.

SEAL will continue to investigate such topics as:

  • Investigations into skills acquisition
  • Certification of competence
  • Shortening the learning curve
  • Crisis management by multidisciplinary teams in the operating room, intensive care unit, or emergency room