Surgical Education is one of the major academic pillars of the Department of Surgery and the Faculty of Medicine.  We are recognized leaders in the training of surgeons, education research and education innovation.  

Through our surgical training programs, Master's in Surgical Education, Simulation Fellowships, and dedicated faculty, McGill Surgery has set the highest standards in Surgical Education.

Visit the McGill Surgical Education Website for further details.


I am very excited to take on this new role in the Department of Surgery as Vice Chair for Education and Adair Family Chair in Surgical Education. I have had a fervid interest in the science and psychology of education for many years and I am looking forward to learning more about surgical education at McGill and hope to contribute to shaping its future.

My first task will be to meet with stakeholders in the department to better understand what the needs, strengths and challenges are in the different divisions and at the various stages of the surgical career cycle from medical students to surgeon retirement. I want to identify the areas of greatest priority while at the same time highlighting the successes. It will also be important to connect people in the department with common interests and goals such that they can share knowledge, resources, and ideas. I think that there will certainly be improvements in the areas of learning environment and competence by design.

Our understanding of how adults learn best and what learners need to thrive is still evolving. I want to know what trainees and surgeons at McGill need and hopefully implement some creative strategies to make the process of acquiring and maintaining knowledge and skills as effective and interactive as possible. I truly believe that learning is a highly social activity, and that we can better harness this aspect of education in our department. Some potential ideas include a regular surgical education “clinic” where anyone in the department can obtain a consultation about an education topic; a surgical education podcast and regular gatherings between program directors to share ideas and build relationships.

Regarding research and scholarship, I aspire to stay on the cutting edge of innovations in medical education and I look forward to some of the future applications of technology in surgery such as video-based assessment, artificial intelligence and integrated, hybrid simulation models. I have had the privilege of collaborating with and learning from many different education scientists, psychometricians, and knowledge management gurus, and I would hope to continue to leverage these relationships in the role of vice chair. I will also re-instate regular research meetings to encourage collaboration and peer feedback amongst surgical education researchers.

It is my intention to promote educational excellence in the Department of Surgery as well as to identify some of the aspects of our surgical culture that prevent us from supporting all learners. I will work hard to identify needs and priorities within the Department in addition to providing faculty support and mentorship. I will also bring a strong desire to open up conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion so that we can understand where our blind spots are in order to be able to address them.

Dr. Melina Vassiliou
Vice Chair (Education)
Department of Surgery, McGill University
Adair family chair surgical education
melina.vassiliou [at]

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