UW-Madison: Shapiro student honored for surgical research

Contact: Andrew Hellpap

(608) 316-9786       


MADISON, Wis. – A third-year medical student at UW-Madison recently received a prestigious national award for her work in surgical-education research.

Kirsten Gunderson, a Middleton native who is considering a plastic-surgery residency, received the Promising Medical Student Surgery Education Research Award by the Association for Surgical Education for her work examining whether surgical residents benefit more from verbal critiques or a new smartphone application for providing feedback called the System for Improving and Measuring Procedural Learning, or SIMPL.

Gunderson’s interest in research beyond her standard medical school training came in part from the evidence-based changes in education in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Forward curriculum, she said. Gunderson is a member of the inaugural class using the new innovative curriculum.

“Research in surgical education at the student and resident level is something I plan to continue to incorporate into my future career,” Gunderson said. “It is important that we continue to make strides in learning how to create better future surgeons to provide the best possible care to society as a whole.”

Her interest in research led her to participate in the Shapiro Summer Research Program in the department of surgery under Drs. Hee Soo Jung and Sarah Jung, in the summer of 2018.

During the SIMPL project, she performed the review of literature, assisted in the design of the study, performed the data collection and analyzed the data, according to Hee Soo Jung.

Gunderson subsequently presented this study at the Association of Program Directors in Surgery annual meeting. The results of the study were later published in the Journal of Surgical Education.

The research showed that the use of this mobile app could be a reasonable alternative to traditional surgical feedback from instructors.

“She was strikingly independent in learning about new topics, systems and research methods,” Hee Soo Jung said. “She has a tireless work ethic and really drove the progress of the study.”

Gunderson plans to continue her work in both clinical and surgical education research in a year-long research fellowship in the division of plastic surgery, she said.