Explore This Fellowship

About the Program

The Surgical Education and Simulation Research Fellowship in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Surgery is dedicated to training fellows to be academic surgical leaders in the field of surgical education, research and simulation.

This program also consists of close relationships with the Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness, the Procedural Learning and Safety Collaborative and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These relationships, along with others in Boston and across the country, have helped fellows pursue research projects in a variety of areas that bridge education, outcomes and technology.

This program can be one to two years in length depending on the fellow’s career aspirations and available financial resources.

As part of the Consortium of American College of Surgeons (ACS) Accredited Institutes, this fellowship program consists of high-quality formal didactic and hands-on training with regular feedback and mentorship.


Graduates of the Surgical Education Research and Simulation Fellowship will be able to:

  • Conceive, develop and run simulation-based training and evaluation modules
  • Create, administer and evaluate new simulation programs/centers
  • Critically appraise and/or conduct simulation-based medical education research
  • Describe the theoretical and scientific foundations of simulation-based medical/surgical education

Research Areas

Fellows will be able to learn about various research topics, including:

  • Adult learning theories
  • Assessment of education outcomes
  • Emotional intelligence development
  • Enhancing medical student exposure to surgery
  • Linking resident education to patient outcomes / satisfaction
  • Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based assessment
  • Resident burnout prevention
  • Resident clinical prioritization skills
  • Simulation-based skills training
  • Video-based education and coaching


Fellows are expected to publish at least two manuscripts during the program.

The didactic training includes coursework through the Center for Medical Simulation Instructors Course and the Harvard Macy Institute in the following courses:

  • A Systems Approach to Assessment
  • Leading Innovations in Health Care and Education
  • Program for Educators in Health Professions

Specific information about each of these courses can be provided by request.


The Surgical Education and Simulation Research Fellowship at Mass General provides the fellow with didactic and mentored training that encompasses:

  • Administration and leadership
  • Curriculum design and evaluation
  • Educational theory
  • Faculty development
  • Learner and program evaluation, and
  • Technology support and simulation.

Our existing simulation-based education fellowship curriculum is particularly robust and culminates in a Teaching and Learning Certificate with a Concentration in Healthcare Simulation which is offered by our affiliated Mass General Institute of Health Professions (a graduate school founded by Mass General).

All fellows will complete the certificate program, which includes coursework at the Institute for Medical Simulation (Center for Medical Simulation in Cambridge, MA) and the Harvard-Macy Institute (Program for Educators in the Health Professions). Depending on funding levels, there is also the possibility that fellows will be able to obtain a master’s in health professions education through the Mass General Institute of Health Professions.

Mentored training in the above cognitive elements as well as human/fiscal resource management and research design/methodology will be delivered through bi-weekly meetings with the Fellowship research group and monthly meetings of institution-wide surgical education research meetings.

The fellow will have an opportunity to work very closely with Roy Phitayakorn, MD, Denise Gee, MD, and Emil Petrusa, PhD, to design and complete their own individual research project that emphasizes at least one of the cognitive elements mentioned above. The simulation specialists will also mentor the fellow so that the fellow is comfortable managing the technical elements of a successful simulation session including role playing/improvisation and technical troubleshooting.

How to Apply


Applicants must either:

  • Have an MD and be enrolled or have completed a residency in any surgically-oriented field, or
  • Be enrolled in or have completed a PhD program in a relevant field (including but not limited to psychometrics, education and computer science).
  • Independent funding is required to join the fellowship program.

To Apply

To apply for the Surgical Education and Simulation Research Fellowship at Mass General, please send a cover letter, Curriculum Vitae and letter of recommendation from a supervisor (Program Director, Dept Chief or equivalent) to the email below:



Current Fellows

David C. Cron. MD, MSDavid C. Cron, MD, MS 

Medical School: University of Michigan Medical School 

Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital 

David’s interest in surgical education stems from his desire to be an effective educator to surgical trainees, and to foster the academic development of surgeons. His surgical education research interests include understanding mentorship needs of surgeons, defining optimal pathways to success of a surgeon-scientist, and implementing and evaluating academic development programs for surgical residents. He is the co-lead of the Mass General surgical simulation curriculum. His clinical interest is abdominal transplant surgery. He also has research interests in transplant policy and health services research. 

Gus Godley, MD, MBA, MSGus Godley, MD, MBA, MS 

Medical School: Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine (Boston University) 

Residency: University of Chicago 

Gus is a general surgery resident originally from North Kingstown, Rhode Island and currently training at the University of Chicago. He is undecided on his specialty of choice but has a strong interest in robotic surgery as a part of his clinical practice, which has driven his interest as part of the SERG group at Mass General. He is currently leading the design of a new robotic surgery curriculum at Mass General with Dr. Lana Schumacher, and is studying the learning curve for the robot, alongside the impact of cognitive load in training on the console. He is also particularly interested in leveraging technology in education and is working on incorporating machine learning and virtual reality into his educational project. 

Deanna Palenzuela, MDDeanna Palenzuela, MD 

Medical School: Harvard Medical School 

Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital 

Deanna was born and raised in Miami before venturing into colder weather as an undergraduate at Yale University and graduate at Harvard Medical School. Deanna’s interest in surgical education research was inspired by her own transformative experience as a medical student during her surgical clerkship at Mass General. As a surgical education and simulation research fellow, she has focused her investigations on medical student education and the transition into surgical residency. 

Alyssa Pradarelli, MDAlyssa Pradarelli (Mazurek), MD 

Medical School: University of Michigan 

Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital 

Alyssa’s interests within surgical education include better understanding of how to train residents in non-technical skills (including leadership and communication skills), better understanding and improvement of the well-being of surgical trainees and understanding the current state of resident assessment and how to further progress toward competency-based training. She is currently working on a multitude of projects, including: 

  1. Longitudinal evaluation of the ACGME general surgery milestones 
  2. Becoming effective senior surgical trainees (BESST), including curriculum development/delivery and qualitative analysis 
  3. Characterizing the relationships among surgical trainee well-being, psychological safety, and the learning environment 
  4. Evaluating the impact of a positive psychology coaching program on procedural residents 
  5. Development of a near peer teaching and mentorship course for medical students 

Gazi Rashid, MDGazi Rashid, MD 

Medical School: Emory University of School of Medicine 

Residency: University of Massachusetts  

Gazi is interested in solving gaps and inefficiencies in surgical training by developing simulation- and tech-based curricula. He aspires to help surgeons and trainees become better teachers. His clinical interests include trauma, general surgery, and critical care.  

Zac Whaley, MDZac Whaley, MD 

Medical School: University of Alabama at Birmingham 

Residency: New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell 

Zac is a general surgery resident at Cornell who is taking academic time to complete his master’s in medical education at Harvard Medical School. He is simultaneously completing the Mass General Surgical Education and Simulation Research Fellowship to enhance his surgery-specific education training. He is interested in trauma and surgical critical care, but also has clinical interests in general and minimally invasive surgery. His educational interests include exploring the impact of mindsets in surgical training, curriculum development, and assessment in surgery.  

Visiting Fellows

Janso Joseph, MBBCh, MSc, MEd, FRCSJanso Joseph, MBBCh, MSc, MEd, FRCS 

Medical School: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 

Residency: Johns Hopkins Hospital/Health Education East of England (Cambridge) 

Fellowship: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School 

Janso is a minimally invasive, robotic, and bariatric surgery fellow. He holds a master’s in surgical education from Imperial College London. His surgical education interests lie in entrustment, robotics, and advanced communication. He is passionate about increasing diversity within surgery through mentorship and coaching. His clinical interests are in upper gastrointestinal and emergency surgery. 

  • Rashid, G., Pradarelli, A., Chu, J., Chang, D., Nelson, B., Mullen, J., & Palamara, K. (2022). The Experience of Academic Physician Coaches in a Professional Development Coaching Program. Global Surgical Education-Journal of the Association for Surgical Education, 1(1), 63
  • Rashid, G., Jogerst, K., Healy, M., Park, Y., Petrusa, E. (2023). Are Your Interpretations of the Assessment’s Results Valid? An Introduction to Validity Theory for the Surgical Educator. Resources in Surgical Education
  • Palenzuela D. (2022). What Does It Mean to Be a “Good Intern?” American College of Surgeons. Resources in Surgical Education
  • Palenzuela D, Phitayakorn R. What Does It Mean to Be a “Good Intern?” Association for Surgical Education Annual Meeting. “Shark Tank” Oral Presentation. San Diego, CA. April 13-15, 2023
  • Palenzuela D, Pradarelli A, McKinley S, Moses J, Phitayakorn R. Pre-clinical Social Learning Immersion Experiences Improve Medical Student Perceptions of Surgery. 18th Annual Academic Surgical Congress. Oral Quickshot Presentation. Houston, TX. Feb 7-9, 2023
  • Cron DC. Implementation of an Academic Development Rotation for Surgery Residents. Thinking Out of the Box – Oral Presentation. Association for Surgical Education Annual Meeting. San Antonio, TX. May 2022
  • Cron DC, Coe T, Secor J, Guyer R, Brownlee S, Phitayakorn R, Mullen J, Lillemoe K, Liao E, Boland G. Implementation and Evaluation of an Academic Development Block Rotation for Surgery Residents. Oral Presentation. 18th Annual Academic Surgical Congress. Houston, TX. February 2023
  • Whaley, Z, et al. Stakeholder Needs from a New Surgery Vice Chair of Education Position. Academic Surgical Congress; February 2023; Houston, TX
  • Whaley, Z, et al. Mindsets in General Surgery Residents and Faculty. Association for Surgical Education Annual Meeting; April 2023; San Diego, CA. (Accepted)
  • Whaley, Z, et al. Promoting Patient and Family Perceptions of Resident Involvement in Surgical Care (in submission)