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 20 participants in this inaugural year.

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

Please note: The program fee will be based on the participant’s status as an ACS Fellow or non-member.

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:

  • Navigating change
  • Program outcome evaluation
  • Creating a culture of scholarship
  • Leading yourself
  • Mentoring in the era of #MeToo
  • Negotiating for resources
  • Influencing people
  • Remediation: Ensuring learners reach their professional potential
  • Faculty development and advancement

The CASEL model will begin with a kick off Thursday evening, September 26 and continue until Saturday, September 28 at 4:00 pm.


The tuition for CASEL will be $3,450 for Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and $3,950 for non-Fellows.


Following the September 2019 launch in Chicago, participants will work remotely with mentors throughout the ensuing year on their individual institution projects, culminating in a formal presentation in 2020. 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 application period is now closed.

Thank you for your interest in the ACS CASEL Program. To receive notification of the 2020 application cycle, please e-mail Susan Newman at or call 312-202-5771.


April 3, 2019

Call for applications

May 24, 2019

Applications due

June 2019

Participants are selected and notified

Summer 2019

Participants are contacted to discuss individual project, reading list and leadership assessment activity

September 26–28, 2019

CASEL kick off in Chicago

September 2019–September 2020

Individual projects are developed and implemented, under guidance of mentors

September 2020

Individual project presentations and awarding of certificates, with new participant cohort in attendance

Contact Us

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