Three interesting pieces came across our desk this Winter, providing new perspectives on Surgical Coaching.

OBGyn Coaching

Megan Orlando and Surgical Coach and Academy VP, Cara King, published an opinion piece in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology with an update on the current evidence supporting surgical coaching as a method for performance improvement by obstetricians and gynecologists. They conclude:

With significant variations across Obstetrics and Gynecology training programs and an ever-changing landscape of new surgical challenges and technologies, there is a need for innovation to optimize surgical performance. The [American Board of Medical Specialities] has created specific recommendations on how continuing certification must change. Surgical coaching offers an opportunity to help meet those recommendations by tailoring practice change to individual surgeons through goal-setting, self-reflection, and ongoing feedback. We believe implementation of surgical coaching in Obstetrics and Gynecology has the potential to improve performance, provide lifelong learning, and promote excellence in patient care.

International Surgical Coaching Survey Results

Surgical Coach and practicing surgeon Sofia Valanci-Aroesty and colleagues at McGill University published findings from their international survey of surgeons about their attitudes toward peer coaching and the design of future coaching programs. We have been following this work from its inception and were eager to learn what they found. The three most interesting findings were:

  • 53% of respondents were aware of peer coaching, and 84% willing to participate in a peer coaching program.
  • The most important program elements were  feedback kept private and confidential (63%); opportunity to provide feedback to the coach (59%); personalized goal setting (58%); and the option to choose one’s own coach (49%).
  • As always, the most common barrier to participation was logistical constraints (79%).

These survey findings bring forward an interesting gap. Surgical coaching is available to all surgeons through the Academy for Surgical Coaching. How do we get the word out to more surgeons?

Surgical Coaching Increases Retention

The Cleveland Clinic has an internal coaching program that includes surgeon coaching. We were thrilled to see their program featured in Becker’s Hospital Review, an important trade magazine for hospital executives. They surveyed coaching program participants and asked “To what degree has your participation in the Center for Excellence in Coaching and Mentoring programming contributed to your decision to stay at Cleveland Clinic?” Of the 500+ participants in their coaching program, 197 said that the coaching program influenced their decision to stay. Based on the cost of turnover and the annual emoployee’s salary, “they have calculated a potential cost savings of more than $133 million attributed to program participation.” This figure contributes to the ongoing discussion of the indirect cost savings from supporting healthcare professionals’ development and wellness.


Orlando MS, Greenberg CC, Pavuluri Quamme SR, Yee A, Faerber AE, King CR. Surgical coaching in Obstetrics and Gynecology: an evidence-based strategy to elevate surgical education and promote lifelong learning. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2022 Feb 14:S0002-9378(22)00105-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2022.02.006. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35176285.

Valanci-Aroesty, S., Feldman, L.S., Fiore, J.F. et al. Considerations for designing and implementing a surgical peer coaching program: an international survey. Surg Endosc (2021).

Gleeson C. How Cleveland Clinic has saved $133M in physician retention. Beckers Hosp Rev. 2021 Nov 23. Available online:


In this recent episode of the Audible Bleeding podcast, Carlos Bechara, a Surgical Coach and vascular surgeon, has a coaching conversation with William Shutze, vascular surgeon, about managing all of the demands on his time. 

“As I become more involved in my career, the demands on my time are increasing. However, I have noticed it is taking time away from being able to focus on my patients. I delegate to trainees and nurse practitioners, but sometimes things are slipping through that are not helping my patients.”

William and Carlos also discuss the Society for Vascular Surgery Coaching Program, in partnership with the Academy for Surgical Coaching. 

Additional evidence showing the benefits of Surgical Coaching was recently published in Annals of Surgery. This NIH-funded study was a collaboration between the Michigan Bariatric Surgical Collaborative and members of the Academy team. We asked if surgical coaching improved surgeon operative performance. We found that surgical coaching helped reduce surgeon operative time, reducing average operative time from 92.5 minutes down to 78.5 minutes, a difference of 14 minutes (15%).

Figure of research results showing change in operative time before and after surgical coaching

What was the program?

The setting was the Michigan Bariatric Surgical Collaborative (MBSC), a state-wide network of surgeons that share details about their practice to improve surgical care for patients. In 2015 to 2018, in collaboration with the Academy for Surgical Coaching cofounders Caprice Greenberg and Sudha Pavuluri Quamme, MSBC rolled out a coaching program to improve operative performance.

Who Participated in the Program?

The top-performing surgeons in MSBC were selected to receive surgical coach training. The remaining MSBC-enrolled surgeons were invited to participate and receive coaching. In total, the program trained 14 Surgical Coaches, enrolled 26 surgeon participants, and analyzed a panel of 24 surgeons who met the inclusion criteria to serve as a non-interventional control. The Surgical Coaches and surgeon participants met, on average, for six 1-hour coaching sessions. Outcomes were evaluated through participant feedback and systematic collection of procedural data within the MSBC.

What do these results mean? 

This program was the largest clinical study of the benefits of surgical coaching to date, and one of the first interventional studies of Surgical Coaching to evaluate short-term operative outcomes. This research adds to the body of Surgical Coaching literature that has demonstrated that Surgical Coaching is feasible and acceptable for busy surgeons in practice (1, 2), has a high perceived value for professional development (1, 4), can increase safe adoption of new beneficial techniques (3), can improve teamwork, communication, and awareness in OR (4, 5), has potential to improve surgeon well-being and patient outcomes (4, 5).

  1. Greenberg CC, et al. A Statewide Surgical Coaching Program Provides Opportunity for CPD. Ann Surg. 2018; 267(5):868-73
  2. Pradarelli JC, et al. Surgeon’s Coaching Techniques in the Surgical Coaching for Operative Performance Enhancement (SCOPE) Program. Ann Surg. 2020. Online
  3. Greenberg JA, et al. A structured, extended training program to facilitate adoption of new techniques for practice surgeons. Surg Endosc. 2018;32(1):217-24
  4. Pradarelli JC, et al. Surgical Coaching for Operative Performance Enhancement (SCOPE): skill ratings and impact on surgeons’ practice. Surg Endosc. 2020. Online
  5. Greenberg CC, et al. Association Between Surgeon Technical Skills and Patient Outcomes. Ann Surg. 2021;155(10):960-8

New Customized, Peer-to-Peer Coaching Program Fills Gap in Health and Wellness Intervention for Vascular Surgeons

Rosemont, Ill., April 7, 2021 – The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and the Academy for Surgical Coaching today announced a partnership to develop a first-of-its-kind coaching program that strengthens wellness support for vascular surgeons. Studies have demonstrated that physicians across specialties are experiencing an increase in burnout, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. This is due to the rewarding, yet demanding, nature of their work and the barriers preventing them from providing optimal patient care.

Research conducted by the SVS Wellness Task Force has reinforced and replicated many of these findings within the specialty of vascular surgery. With this new program, customized to vascular surgery, SVS aims to address the triggers of burnout and provide wellness support through coaching intervention.

“We are excited about our partnership with the Academy for Surgical Coaching and consider it a shining example of how we are listening and responding to our members regarding wellness initiatives,” said Dawn Coleman, MD, co-chair of the SVS Wellness Task Force. “We believe we are one of the first medical societies to take the translational step from studying and discussing the issues to providing service and support for members.”

Initially, SVS hopes to recruit and train a dozen vascular surgeons to become certified surgical coaches, each of whom will be paired with as many as two vascular surgeons seeking support for a three-month period. Over the course of a year, it is hoped each surgical coach will work with up to four SVS members. SVS will expand the program if evaluation demonstrates success.

“Our experience shows surgeons love working with surgical coaches because it changes the way they think about their practice,” said Caprice Greenberg, MD, MPH, the president and co-founder of the Academy for Surgical Coaching. “The coaching sessions will focus on identifying challenges, setting goals and pushing for continuous improvement. Surgeons can discuss operative performance, leadership skills, clinical judgement or self-regulation. The surgical coach is there to support vascular surgeons to achieve their individualized and self-identified goals.”

As practicing vascular surgeons themselves, the surgical coaches will be well positioned to help their colleagues manage professional challenges and ultimately increase job satisfaction. Additionally, peer-to-peer support will help minimize the isolation associated with vascular surgery and destigmatize the culture of “complacent suffering.”

“We want to make sure we address the inherent issues, such as emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, that might be contributing to burnout among vascular surgeons,” said Niten Singh, MD, co-designer of the program. “We will focus on these issues first.”

Vascular surgeons are highly trained specialists focused on prevention and treatment of vascular disease, affecting the veins and arteries in every part of the body, excluding the brain and heart. Vascular surgery is the only specialty trained to deliver comprehensive care, across the full spectrum of treatment options from medical management, to minimially invasive intervention, to open surgery.

Funding support for this program is made possible in part by a grant from W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., as part of the SVS Quality Practice Block Grant program.

About the Society for Vascular Surgery

The Society for Vascular Surgery is the leading not-for-profit, professional medical society on establishing causes and treatments for vascular disease. SVS seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research and public awareness and is composed of specialty-trained vascular surgeons who are dedicated to providing comprehensive care for vascular disease. For more information visit Follow the SVS on Facebook @VascularHealth, Twitter @VascularSVS and Instagram @societyforvascularsurgery.

About The Academy for Surgical Coaching

Coaches support athletes, musicians and teachers to go from being great to being world-class. The Academy for Surgical Coaching is changing the way surgeons learn through partnerships with Surgical Coaches. Surgical Coaches are surgeons with additional training in guiding surgeons to develop new ways of thinking about surgery and improving their practice through goal-setting, action-planning and follow up. The Surgical Coaching program was developed through academic research in collaboration with major academic medical centers and has been proven in clinical trials to change the way surgeons do surgery. The Academy for Surgical Coaching trains surgeons to become Surgical Coaches, pairs surgeons with Surgical Coaches, and manages coaching programs. The Academy for Surgical Coaching has trained over 130 Surgical Coaches and conducted over 300 hours of surgical coaching. The Academy for Surgical Coaching is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information visit

The Academy is pleased to announce that we provide continuing medical education credits (CMEs) for both surgeons receiving coaching and surgical coaches. Through a partnership with the American College of Surgeons, each coaching session will count as 1 hour CME for the surgeon and the Surgical Coach.

For a surgeon who is working with a surgical coach to improve their practice can earn up to 4 CMEs for a 3-month coaching engagement, and up to 8 CMEs for a 12-month engagement. For Surgical Coaches, the initial training course will provide 5.25 CME. A Surgical Coach can receive up to an additional 8 CMEs per year for coaching activities.

If you are interested in learning more about connecting with a Surgical Coach, or Surgical Coach training, Contact Us.

The Academy wrapped up our first fiscal year on October 31, 2020. After launching in December 2019, the Academy has rapidly grown our team, formed new partnerships, and equipping surgeons with Surgical Coaches. Some highlights include:

  • Receiving 501(c)3 tax exempt status from the United States Internal Revenue Service.
  • Training 36 new surgical coaches and conducting over 50 hours of surgical coaching.
  • Launched coaching programs with our key partners.