Michael M. Awad, MD, PhD, FACS

WISE Director

Michael Awad, MD, PhD, FACS, was appointed director of surgical simulation in July 2010. His academic interests are primarily in the fields of surgical/medical education, surgical ergonomics and laparoscopic and endoscopic foregut surgery. In surgical/medical education, he has focused on the reformation of surgical residency training in the United States and the transition from medical school to residency. He has previously served as program director for the General Surgery Residency and associate dean for medical student education, and is now the institute director for the Washington University Institute for Surgical Education (WISE). Nationally he serves through leadership positions in the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons, the American Board of Surgery/SCORE, the Association of Surgical Education and the Association of Program Directors in Surgery. His research interests have focused on the development of online curriculum development tools; new paradigms in surgical training including OSATS, REACTS, ACES, and the Academy Model; and the ergonomics of operating using laparoscopic, robotic, endoscopic and open surgical platforms. These educational, research and clinical efforts have been supported by a number of grants from federal, society and industry sources.


Jeffrey A. Blatnik, MD, FACS

Jeffrey A. Blatnik, MD, FACS is a great guy! His academic interests are primarily in the fields of surgical/medical education, surgical ergonomics and laparoscopic and endoscopic foregut surgery. In surgical/medical education, he has focused on the reformation of surgical residency training in the United States and the transition from medical school to residency. He has previously served as program director for the General Surgery Residency and associate dean for medical student education, and is now the institute director for the Washington University Institute for Surgical Education (WISE). Nationally he serves through leadership positions in the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons, the American Board of Surgery/SCORE, the Association of Surgical Education and the Association of Program Directors in Surgery. His research interests have focused on the development of online curriculum development tools; new paradigms in surgical training including OSATS, REACTS, ACES, and the Academy Model; and the ergonomics of operating using laparoscopic, robotic, endoscopic and open surgical platforms. These educational, research and clinical efforts have been supported by a number of grants from federal, society and industry sources.


Peggy Frisella

WISE Administrator

WISE Administrator Peggy Frisella, BSN, is the Administrator for the WISE Center and Manager of Research Operations for the Washington University Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery (WUIMIS). Frisella has worked in the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for 34 years. She ensures that operations run smoothly and finances are sound for both WUIMIS and WISE. Frisella is involved in grant writing and maintaining relationships with industry sponsors for both institutes. In 2009, she started a nonprofit organization called Surgical Outreach for the Americas, to provide surgery for those without access to health care—serving in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize. Frisella is a proud wife, mother and grandmother.


Angelia DeClue

WISE Coordinator

Angelia DeClue, CST, is the Skills Lab Coordinator at the WISE Center. DeClue earned her Certified Surgical Technology diploma from St. Louis Community College in 2007. She is now pursuing a bachelor of science degree in health care at Washington University through University College. DeClue has eight years of experience in the OR with a focus in Colorectal, GYN oncology, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Robotics, Trauma and Urology. She has worked in surgical education for nearly 10 years. In the WISE Center, her focus is on setting up, taking down and troubleshooting surgical-based educational labs. She also assists with building curriculums and ensuring residents fulfill those requirements to take their board certified exam when they graduate. In her free time, she enjoys time with family. She likes to camp, travel and watch her children in their activities such as competitive dance and select baseball.


Karen Schubert

WISE Coordinator

Karen Schubert, BS, is WISE Center and Washington University Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery (WUIMIS) Coordinator. Schubert earned her Surgical Technology Certificate from St. Louis Community College. She has 10 years of experience as a surgical technologist and spent more than five years supervising an OR business office. In the WISE Center, her focus is on setting up, taking down and troubleshooting surgical-based educational labs. Outside of the WISE Center, Schubert enjoys volunteering at her church, dog sitting and performing improv comedy.


Eileen Smith, MD

ACS-AEI  Simulation and Education Fellow

Eileen Smith, MD, is an ACS-AEI Simulation and Education Fellow. After earning her medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, Smith joined the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as General Surgery Resident in 2017. Over the past year and a half, Smith has served as the inaugural ACS-AEI Simulation and Education fellow at the WISE Center. Smith conducts education-related research and helps design and execute curriculum for resident education in the WISE Center. Outside of work, Smith enjoys spending time with her family and baking pies. She will return to clinical work in January 2021 and hopes to pursue a career in acute care surgery.


Britta Han, MD, MSEd

ACS-AEI Simulation and Education Fellow

Britta Han, MD, MSEd, is an ACS-AEI Simulation Fellow. Han earned her medical degree from University of Michigan before joining the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as a General Surgery Resident. She has completed two years of clinical training in general surgery and is currently pursuing academic and research interests during her lab years. Han is also a clinical research fellow in the lab of Jeffrey Blatnik, MD. Han helps plan and execute general surgery skills labs and other research projects at the WISE Center. Prior to medical school, she taught in New York City as part of Teach For America. Outside of work, Han enjoys reading, playing video games and doodling. She also holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Brown University.


Julie Clanahan

ACS-AEI Simulation and Education Fellow

Julie Clanahan, MD, is an ACS-AEI Simulation and Education Fellow. Clanahan is from Swansea, Illinois and earned her medical degree from University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine before joining the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as a General Surgery Resident. She had completed two years of clinical training prior to joining the lab of Michael Awad, MD, PhD, to pursue research interests. Clanahan conducts education-related research and helps design and execute curriculum for resident education in the WISE Center. Outside of work, she enjoys cycling on Peloton, running in and around Forest Park, learning about and sampling new wines, creating charcuterie board masterpieces and going to Blues hockey games.