Maura E. Sullivan, PhD

Professor of Clinical Surgery (Educational Scholar)

Vice Chair of Education

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Dr. Maura Sullivan is a Professor of Clinical Surgery (Educational Scholar) at the University of Southern California. She is the Associate Dean for Simulation Education in the Keck School of Medicine, The Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Surgery and the Executive Director for the Surgical Simulation and Education Center. She has a joint appointment in the Rossier School of Education where she is a Professor and a Senior Research Associate. Her research and academic interests include Cognitive-Task-Analysis, the development of expertise, technical skills training, faculty development and curriculum development.

Dr. Sullivan obtained her undergraduate degree in nursing from Fairfield University, her Master of Science in nursing/critical care from the University of California, San Francisco, and her PhD in Educational Psychology from the Rossier School of Education at USC. She is actively involved in the Association of Surgical Education and is the Director of the Surgical Education Research Fellowship, a member of the Board of Directors and a member of the grants review committee, Center for Excellence in Surgical Education, Research and Training (CESERT). She holds an appointment with the American College of Surgeons as an ATLS Educator, is the Co-Editor-In Chief for the Resources in Surgical Education peer review online journal, is a member of the leadership team for the development of an online assessment tool to measure readiness on incoming PGY 1 residents to assume clinical duties and is the Course Director for the Surgeons As Educators Course. In addition, she is a faculty member for the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology (APGO) Academic Scholars and Leaders Program.


  • Perceptions of General Surgery Program Leadership and Residents on Research Sabbatical J Surg Res. 2023 09; 289:152-157. . View in PubMed
  • Evaluating General Surgical Residency Education Structure and Incorporation of the Resident as Educator Model J Surg Educ. 2022 Nov-Dec; 79(6):1387-1393. . View in PubMed
  • Resident Readiness for Senior Level Decision Making: Identifying the Domains for Formative Assessment and Feedback J Surg Educ. 2022 Sep-Oct; 79(5):1124-1131. . View in PubMed
  • The Biology and Psychology of Surgical Learning Surg Clin North Am. 2021 Aug; 101(4):541-554. . View in PubMed
  • Effect of COVID-19 on Surgical Training Across the United States: A National Survey of General Surgery Residents J Surg Educ. 2021 Mar-Apr; 78(2):431-439. . View in PubMed
  • Selecting the Next Generation of Surgeons: General Surgery Program Directors and Coordinators Perspective on USMLE Changes and Holistic Approach World J Surg. 2021 11; 45(11):3258-3265. . View in PubMed
  • A Nationwide Survey Study on Medical Student Experience in Acute Care Surgery J Surg Res. 2021 05; 261:146-151. . View in PubMed
  • Applying the science of learning to the teaching and learning of surgical skills: The basics of surgical education J Surg Oncol. 2020 Jul; 122(1):5-10. . View in PubMed
  • Acute Care Surgery Education in US Medical Schools: A Systematic Review of the Current Literature and Report of a Medical Student Experience J Surg Educ. 2020 Mar – Apr; 77(2):316-322. . View in PubMed
  • Practical Bioethics for the Humanitarian Surgeon: The Development, Implementation and Assessment of an Ethics Curriculum for Residents Participating in Humanitarian Missions J Surg Educ. 2020 Mar – Apr; 77(2):390-403. . View in PubMed
  • Educational benefits of an acute care surgery rotation during the medical student surgical clerkship Am J Surg. 2020 10; 220(4):858-860. . View in PubMed
  • The American College of Surgeons Entering Resident Readiness Assessment Program: Development and National Pilot Testing Results Ann Surg. 2020 07; 272(1):194-198. . View in PubMed
  • A Preoperative Educational Time-Out is Associated with Improved Resident Goal Setting and Strengthens Educational Experiences J Surg Educ. 2020 Jan – Feb; 77(1):18-26. . View in PubMed
  • Building a Framework for Self-Regulated Learning in Surgical Education: A Delphi Consensus Among Experts in Surgical Education J Surg Educ. 2019 Nov – Dec; 76(6):e56-e65. . View in PubMed
  • Preoperative goal setting and perioperative communication in an academic training institution: Where do we stand? Am J Surg. 2019 02; 217(2):318-322.. View in PubMed
  • Vascular mechanical ventilation: A novel alternative to conventional cadaver perfusion J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2019 02; 86(2):370-373. . View in PubMed
  • The Development of a Novel Perfused Cadaver Model With Dynamic Vital Sign Regulation and Real-World Scenarios to Teach Surgical Skills and Error Management J Surg Educ. 2018 May – Jun; 75(3):820-827. . View in PubMed
  • Landmark lecture on surgery: paediatric cardiothoracic surgery – training the next generation of congenital heart surgeons Cardiol Young. 2017 Dec; 27(10):1986-1990. . View in PubMed
  • 2017 Jan; 20:77-78. . View in PubMed
  • The Joint Council on Thoracic Surgery Education (JCTSE) “Educate the Educators” Faculty Development Course: Analysis of the First 5 Years Ann Thorac Surg. 2016 Dec; 102(6):2127-2132. . View in PubMed
  • Expanding simulation-based education through institution-wide initiatives: A blueprint for success Surgery. 2015 Nov; 158(5):1403-7. . View in PubMed
  • Pressurized Cadaver Model in Cardiothoracic Surgical Simulation Ann Thorac Surg. 2015 Sep; 100(3):1118-20. . View in PubMed
  • Workplace bullying of general surgery residents by nurses J Surg Educ. 2014 Nov-Dec; 71(6):e149-54. . View in PubMed
  • The use of cognitive task analysis to reveal the instructional limitations of experts in the teaching of procedural skills Acad Med. 2014 May; 89(5):811-6. . View in PubMed
  • A framework for professionalism in surgery: what is important to medical students? Am J Surg. 2014 Feb; 207(2):255-9.. View in PubMed
  • Development and verification of a taxonomy of assessment metrics for surgical technical skills Acad Med. 2014 Jan; 89(1):153-61. . View in PubMed
  • Teaching behaviors in the cardiac surgery simulation environment J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013 Jan; 145(1):45-53. . View in PubMed
  • Development of a cardiac surgery simulation curriculum: from needs assessment results to practical implementation J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Jul; 144(1):7-16. . View in PubMed
  • The use of cognitive task analysis to improve instructional descriptions of procedures J Surg Res. 2012 Mar; 173(1):e37-42. . View in PubMed
  • The results of a needs assessment to guide a vascular surgery skills simulation curriculum Ann Vasc Surg. 2012 Feb; 26(2):198-204. . View in PubMed
  • Multi-decadal drought and amplified moisture variability drove rapid forest community change in a humid region Ecology. 2012 Feb; 93(2):219-26. . View in PubMed
  • The potential influence of short-term environmental variability on the composition of testate amoeba communities in Sphagnum peatlands Microb Ecol. 2011 Jul; 62(1):80-93. . View in PubMed
  • Reliability of a procedural checklist as a high-stakes measurement of advanced technical skill Am J Surg. 2010 Jan; 199(1):110-4. . View in PubMed
  • Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication assessment: task analysis as a model for the development of a procedural checklist Surg Endosc. 2009 Jun; 23(6):1227-32. . View in PubMed
  • Patient-care-related telephone communication between general surgery residents and attending surgeons J Am Coll Surg. 2008 Apr; 206(4):742-50. . View in PubMed
  • Assessing the teaching of procedural skills: can cognitive task analysis add to our traditional teaching methods? Am J Surg. 2008 Jan; 195(1):20-3.. View in PubMed
  • The use of a cognitive task analysis-based multimedia program to teach surgical decision making in flexor tendon repair Am J Surg. 2008 Jan; 195(1):11-5. . View in PubMed
  • The use of cognitive task analysis to improve the learning of percutaneous tracheostomy placement Am J Surg. 2007 Jan; 193(1):96-9. . View in PubMed
  • A surgical skills elective can improve student confidence prior to internship J Surg Res. 2006 Jun 01; 133(1):11-5. . View in PubMed