ACS/APDS Phase 1 - Core Skills

ACS/APDS Surgery Resident Skills Curriculum - Phase 1

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS) have updated the online curriculum designed to teach core surgical skills, through simulation, to surgical residents early in their training. This ACS/APDS Surgery Resident Skills Curriculum—Phase 1 was created under the aegis of the ACS Division of Education to teach these foundational skills in a modular fashion.  

The curriculum provides

  • High-quality instructional materials for learners
  • Clear, easy-to-use information for faculty and lab personnel about module set-up and learner assessment

The modules cover topics ranging from aseptic technique to skin flaps and grafts to arterial anastomosis.

They are self-contained and can be used individually or sequentially to teach increasingly sophisticated technical skills. Each module contains:

  • Illustrated, self-paced instructions for the resident, including expert performance videos demonstrating most skills
  • Comprehensive instructions for lab personnel with instructions about setting up the simulation
  • Printable step-by-step instructions for the learner
  • An objective assessment instrument to measure skills acquisition, including recommended levels for proficiency

Learning Objective

The learner will be able to successfully perform a series of surgical skills generally taught early in training.

Course Outline

  • Module 1:  Asepsis and Instrument Identification
  • Module 2:  Knot Tying
  • Module 3:  Suturing
  • Module 4:  Wound Closure and Skin Flaps
  • Module 5:  Skin Grafts
  • Module 6:  Urethral Catheterization
  • Module 7:  Airway Management
  • Module 8:  Chest Tube Insertion
  • Module 9:  Central Line Insertion
  • Module 10:  Surgical Biopsy
  • Module 11:  Laparotomy Opening and Closure
  • Module 12:  Basic Laparoscopy Skills
  • Module 13:  Advanced Laparoscopy Skills
  • Module 14:  Hand-Sewn Bowel Anastomosis
  • Module 15:  Stapled Bowel Anastomosis
  • Module 16:  Arterial Anastomosis

Target Audience

Residents early in their surgical training


For assistance, comments, or questions, contact Krashina Hudson, Administrator, Resident and Medical Student Curricula,

If you have any technical questions, contact

Course summary
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Current Co-Chairs

Gerard M. Doherty, MD, FACS
Helen M. MacRae, MD, FACS, FRCSC

Past Co-Chairs

Debra A. DaRosa, PhD
Gary L. Dunnington, MD, FACS
Helen M. MacRae, MD, FACS, FRCSC

Authors and Contributors

Jennifer Bartlett, ST 
Mark Bowyer, MD, FACS
Andrew Camerato
Joseph B. Cofer, MD, FACS
R. J. Cusimano, MD, FACS
Gail Darling, MD, FACS
Sandra DeMontbrun, MD, FRCSC
Gerard M. Doherty, MD, FACS
Gary L. Dunnington, MD, FACS 
Sanjeev Dutta, MD, FACS
John Fortune, MD, FACS
Gerald M. Fried, MD, FACS
Amy Goldberg, MD, FACS
Kevin Grannan, MD, FACS
Adrian Harvey, MD, FACS
Imran Hassan, MBBS, FACS
Karen D. Horvath, MD, FRCSC
C. Hutchison, MD, FRCSC
Michael Ivy, MD, FACS
Aaron R. Jensen, MD, MEd
Shunne Leung
Colleen Johnson Moore, MD, FACS
Daniel B. Jones, MD, MS, FACS
Brian J. Kaplan, MD, FACS
Janet Ketchum, CSFA 
Matthew B. Klein, MD, FACS
Mary E. Klingensmith, MD, FACS
Kenneth Lee, MD, FACS
Helen M. MacRae, MD, FACS, FRCSC
Matthew L. Mancini, MD, FACS
Robert B. McLafferty, MD, FACS
Timothy Pritts, MD, FACS
Sidney B. Radomski, MD, FRCSC
David A. Rogers, MD, FACS, MHPE
Oscar Ruiz, MD, FACS
Lisa Satterthwaite, RPN
Daniel J. Scott, MD, FACS
Neal E. Seymour, MD, FACS
David Steger
R. James Valentine, MD, FACS
Jon P. Ver Halen, MD, FACS
Richard E. Welling, MD, FACS
Christopher D. Wohltmann, MD, FACS


Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC
Patrice Gabler Blair, MPH
Kim Echert
Tim Hotze, MA
Krashina Hudson

This activity is not eligible for CME or CE credits.

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