SIU Surgical Skills Center
Dr. Gary Dunnington, former professor and chair of the Department of Surgery and founding director of the SIU Surgical Skills Center, led efforts and helped secure the funding from Covidien and Memorial Medical Center to open the Skills Center in May 2000. At the time, it was one of only a handful of centers designed specifically for training surgical residents.
Skills Labs have since revolutionized surgical training. Using computer simulators and virtual reality technology as well as specially designed procedure models, surgical residents learn a wide array of surgical skills including but not limited to instrument tying, one/two-handed knot tying, Laparoscopic proficiencies, vascular anastomosis, chest tubes, central lines and splinting. Users now include residents from General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Plastic Surgery, Urology, Emergency Medicine, OB/GYN, Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Neurosurgery, Primary Care and third and fourth-year medical students.
The SIU faculty and the SIU Surgical Skills Center staff assisted other surgical educators in developing a national curriculum in hopes that other residency programs would utilize the curriculum for their labs. The ACS/APDS National Surgical Skills Curriculum has developed three phases. Phase I includes basic surgical skills designed with first and second year residents in mind. Dr. Dunnington helped establish a skills lab at the Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. Many research papers were generated from the work of the skills lab team.
The SIU Surgical Skills Center will be greatly expanded in its new location at the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation which is scheduled for completion in 2015.