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

Marcelle Altshuler, MDMarcelle Altshuler, MD

Medical School: Georgetown University School of Medicine

Residency: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Marcelle Altshuler is a Neurosurgery Resident at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She completed her medical education at Georgetown University School of Medicine, graduating as a Health Justice Scholar, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Philosophy from the University of Florida. Dr. Altshuler has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at various conferences, focusing on neurosurgery topics including epilepsy, minimally invasive spine surgery, and vascular neurosurgery. Dr. Altshuler demonstrated her passion for research and education as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Functional Human Neuroanatomy at the University of Florida and as an Education Coordinator for the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Throughout her residency, Dr. Altshuler actively organizes teaching and mentoring opportunities for junior residents and medical students, while also spearheading innovative educational initiatives, notably a simulation-based skull base lab curriculum that significantly enhances the surgical skills of neurosurgery residents. 

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. 

Esther Kim, MDEsther Kim, MD

Medical School: Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida

Residency: University of Miami Hospital and Clinics

Esther is a Boston native that flew down to Tampa, Florida for medical school and continued onto University of Miami Hospital and Clinics General Surgery residency program in Fort Lauderdale. Her research goals are focused on robotic curriculum development in university-affiliated and community programs. She is also interested in developing Resident-as-Educator curriculum and NOTSS workshops.  

Michael Kochis, MD, EdMMichael Kochis, MD, EdM

Medical School: Harvard Medical School

Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Michael Kochis is a general surgery resident at MGH.  His interest in medical education arose from his experience in the first cohort of students to undergo a new curriculum at Harvard Medical School.  He earned a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and his scholarship has earned awards from the Association for Academic Surgery and Association for Surgical Education.  He grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and attended Princeton for his undergraduate studies.  

Shaghayegh (Shay) Sabbaghan Kermani, MDShaghayegh (Shay) Sabbaghan Kermani, MD 

Medical School: Iran University of Medical Sciences 

Dr. Shaghayegh (Shay) Sabbaghan Kermani graduated from Iran University of Medical Sciences in December 2020. Driven by her commitment to surgical education and research, Dr. Sabbaghan Kermani has been accepted as a postdoctoral research fellow in the SERG program (Surgery Education Research and Simulation Fellowship) at Massachusetts General Hospital. In this role, she focuses on advancing surgical education methodologies, exploring innovative simulation techniques, and conducting research to enhance surgical training and patient care.  

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 

Rebecca Tang, MDRebecca Tang, MD 

Medical School: University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Residency:  Massachusetts General Hospital

Rebecca Tang is a third-year resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital, with clinical interests in 
abdominal surgical oncology and colorectal surgery. She will be pursuing research in surgical education and disparities in surgical outcomes. Within surgical education research, she will be investigating technical challenges faced by left-handed surgeons and trainees with small glove sizes. 

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)