American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

ACS Certificate in Applied Surgical Education Leadership



The ACS Division of Education continues to play a pivotal national leadership role in surgical education, which is exemplified by our new Certificate in Applied Surgical Education Leadership (CASEL)  initiative. An assessment of past ACS Surgeons as Educators (SAE) Course participants confirmed the need for this additional formal training to further develop the specific skills necessary to be a leader in surgical education. A review of existing, related programs illustrates that CASEL will be a unique educational experience, with an emphasis on applied surgical education and leadership. 

Hilary Sanfey, MB, BCh, MHPE, FACS, FRCSI, FRCSEd(Hon), is co-leading this effort with Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, FSACME. CASEL will offer content and skill building opportunities using a mentored, hybrid-delivery model with an emphasis on applied learning. Participants will implement a relevant medical education project at their home institutions.

Mission and Goals

The mission of CASEL is to promote excellence in surgical education leaders, improve the quality of surgical training and, ultimately, patient care. The goals of CASEL are to:

  • Prepare participants for leadership roles in surgical education at a level that allows for the highest educational standards
  • Positively impact quality and patient safety through lifelong surgical education and training
  • Improve surgical education at an institutional and departmental level by promoting innovation and change

Program Overview

Intended Audience

CASEL is intended for surgeon educators who have at least two years in practice and are interested in improving their skills as educational leaders. The program is designed for surgeon educators at any point in their careers. The successful candidate will have experience in a leadership role (or be about to assume a leadership role). Participants will have undergone or participated in structured training in the basics of surgical education, such as the ACS SAE Course. CASEL is open to anyone, but preference will be given to ACS Fellows. Space is limited to 25 participants.

Admissions Criteria

  • Limited to surgeon educators from the U.S. and Canada
  • At least two (2) years of experience as a practicing surgeon
  • Experience in or about to assume a formal leadership role in education
  • Completed application, including personal statement
  • Letter of support from chair or equivalent
  • Realistic project for home institution with evidence of support and necessary resources for implementation 

Course Content and Format

CASEL will offer core content and skill building activities and include a relevant education project implemented at each of the participant’s home institution. In-context (or problem-based) applied learning will be emphasized. A diverse array of topics covering the competencies necessary to lead effectively in education will be discussed. 

Topics may include:

  • Recognizing colleagues in distress
  • Using education technology for your CASEL projects/blended learning
  • Leading yourself
  • Program outcome evaluation
  • Navigating change
  • Negotiation for educational resources
  • Providing the quality and excellence argument for a more ethnically diverse academic surgical workforce
  • Leading up, down, and across
  • Faculty development and advancement
  • Managing adversity at work and in your life
  • Educational scholarship 


The tuition for CASEL will be $3,450 for Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and $3,750 for non-Fellows.


Following the October 2020 virtual launch, participants will work remotely with mentors throughout the ensuing year on their individual institution projects, culminating in a formal presentation in 2021. Additionally, communities of CASEL graduates will be established to promote collaboration.

Upon completion of CASEL, participants will be expected to:

  • Demonstrate critical skills and knowledge of current trends and practices for serving as an effective surgical education leader
  • Implement a project—with the guidance of a mentor(s)—of personal and professional interest and importance in their institution or organization
  • Submit project findings for presentation and/or prepared a manuscript for publication
  • Provide self-evaluation and program evaluation for purposes of individual and program enhancements

Upon successful participation in CASEL, participants will receive a certificate and CME credit from the ACS.

How to Apply

The next application cycle will begin Spring 2021. If you would like to be placed on a notification list for when the next application cycle begins, email

  • Completed application
  • CV
  • One-page biosketch

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Accreditation

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of CanadaThrough an agreement between the American College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, MOC Program participants may record completed self-assessment programs or simulation activities developed and accredited by the American College of Surgeons in Section 3 of the Royal College's MOC Program.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact Susan Newman, Administrator for the CASEL Program, at, or call 312-202-5771.