Tele-Education Assisted Mentorship in Surgery: Inaugural international ACS-sponsored course on oncoplastic breast surgery

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Division of Education hosted the first ACS-sponsored TEAMS (Tele-Education Assisted Mentorship in Surgery) course on oncoplastic breast surgery techniques in February. The course was conducted in partnership with the Texas Surgeons Summit, a virtual meeting between the North and South Texas Chapters of the ACS. The driving force of the course was to provide education under the banner of the Regional Skills Course for Surgeons in Practice; but this course had a global audience with instructors and learners from 16 U.S. states, Bahrain, Brazil, China, England, Greece, and Spain.

The course was designed for general surgeons and breast surgeons to learn and adopt oncoplastic surgical techniques. Participants learned a variety of skills, including how to perform breast marking to hide scars and optimal incision placement for tumor excision during a reduction mammoplasty. These skills gave learners a knowledge base to improve team communication and collaboration with their plastic surgery colleagues and, ultimately, to improve cosmetic outcomes following oncologic resections.

This novel educational methodology uses remote, hands-on simulation using high-fidelity, low-cost models and one-to-one longitudinal mentorship to teach and support the safe adoption of new surgical skills. Participants received packages with simulation models, instrumentation, and industry-sponsored in-kind donations in the mail before the course. The course had high satisfaction ratings, provided seven hours of Continuing Medical Education credit, and received industry educational grant support.

Taylor Williams, MD, the inaugural surgical simulation and education research fellow, was able to develop these projects as a result of his training in the ACS-Accredited Educational Institute fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch Sealy and Smith Laboratory for Surgical Training Assessment and Research (LSTAR) (see photo).

From left: Dr. Klimberg, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Perez

TEAMS also has been successfully used to teach a variety of surgical skills to learners at all levels (high school, medical school, residency, fellowship, and surgeons in practice) using remote, hands-on, and high-fidelity simulation, as well as one-to-one mentorship.1-7 Additional TEAMS courses are in development with great promise to enhance the educational impact of traditional in-person skills courses.

For additional information, contact Alexander Perez, MD, FACS, at or V. Suzanne Klimberg, MD, PhD, MSHCT, FACS, at


The authors would like to thank Clifford Snyder, MPAS, PA-C, Educational and Administrative Director of the LSTAR, and Shannon Delao, Coordinator of the LSTAR, for their hard work and commitment to this project and the mission of quality improvement via patient-centered, team-based, lifelong education.



  1. Williams TP, Klimberg VS, Perez A. Tele-Education Assisted Mentorship in Surgery. J Surg Onc. 2021 (in press).
  2. Mohan N, Hughes BD, Williams TP, et al. Use of surgical simulation by underrepresented high school students to address diversity gaps in surgery. Ann Surg. 2020;1(2):e13.
  3. Williams TP, Lakatta A, Klimberg VS, Snyder CL, Humphrey L, Tyler DS, Perez A. TEAMS (Tele-Education Assisted Mentorship in Surgery): A Novel Approach for Practicing Surgeons to Adopt New Techniques. Oral Presentation at 2020 Americas Hernia Society Annual Meeting, September 23-26, 2020, New York, NY.
  4. McTaggart LS, Williams TP, Perez A, et al. Tele-Education Assisted Mentorship in Surgery (TEAMS) for Underrepresented Minority High School Students. Mentored Oral Presentation at 2021 American College of Surgeons Texas Surgeons Summit, February 24–26, 2021, virtual meeting.
  5. Iglesias NJ, Williams TP, Lakatta AC, Perez A. Tele-Education Assisted Mentoring in Surgery (TEAMS) Using Portable Laparoscopic Box Trainers. Oral Presentation at 2021 Latin Medical Student Association Southwest Annual Meeting, February 26–28, 2021, virtual meeting.
  6. Williams TP, Klimberg VS, Perez A. Tele-Education Assisted Mentorship in Surgery: In Review. Oral Presentation at American College of Surgeons Surgical Simulation Summit, March 12, 2021, virtual meeting.
  7. Williams TP, Perez A. Tele-Education Assisted Mentorship in Surgery. Invited Presentation at: From Space to the South Pole: the Partnership of Medicine and Technology, University of Texas Medical Technology Resource and Education Center, March 25, 2021, virtual meeting.

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