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Q & A with Santiago Horgan

Dr. Santiago Horgan With the new expansion of the Center for the Future of Surgery (CFS), we’re taking a moment for a retrospective and prospective look at the facility by way of a Q&A with CFS Director Santiago Horgan, MD. Learn how CFS has evolved since its creation in 2011, what sets it apart from other surgical training facilities and Dr. Horgan’s goals for CFS over the next decade and beyond.

October 30, 2019

Q: How has CFS evolved since its creation in 2011?
Horgan: In 2011, when we opened, we had a plan and a goal. The plan was to become a state-of-the-art worldwide training center and to be very busy. The goal was to be the best surgical training center in the American west.

In the last eight years, the CFS has become one of the world’s premiere surgical training centers, and we are the one of the busiest centers in the country. We have trained over 25,000 healthcare providers, which is far more than what we expected to achieve. It went from a great idea to a reality, and that really is a dream come true.

We went from believing we could impact patient care to confirming that the CFS impacts patient care by giving skills to providers, surgeons, nurses, residents and students which ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Q: What sets CFS apart from other training facilities?
Horgan: First, we have some of the most advanced technologies available in any surgical training facility. Something that surgeons bring up when they come here to train is that we are really state-of-the-art in the facilities and in the technology that we host in the facilities. Secondly, other medical centers have to adapt the training center to their existing facilities. Our situation was different. We built the facility to become a training center and so that gave us a better flow and better facilities.

Q: What are some memorable experiences you’ve had at CFS that would not have been possible anywhere else?
Horgan: Hosting the biggest university robotic program in history and having over 20 robots in the facility, that was huge. That was a big day, and it was a great feeling to know we trained people in so many different specialties. We also we hosted the Dalai Lama in our facilities, and most recently HBO Vice featured the CFS in an episode titled “The Future of Work,” which aired in April.

Q: What more can you tell us about CFS 2.0?
Horgan: After six years of planning and one year in development, we this month opened CFS 2.0, which has already been a huge success for us. This expansion includes the microsurgery suite and the Hybrid OR, the most advanced in the country and worldwide. We believe with this addition, UC San Diego is now the best surgical training center in the world.

This is very exciting, and represents the future of surgery and endovascular surgery. It is incredible to have a training facility of this level here at UC San Diego. Our surgeons are going to benefit from it and surgeons around the country are going to benefit from it. Patients are going to benefit from it, most of all. With the integration of 2.0, CFS is at a totally at a different level. We are a state-of-the-art facility in every specialty now. So, it’s very exciting.

Q: What are your goals for CFS over the next five years? Ten years?
Horgan: In the next five years, I foresee a lot of growth and development and we will continue to position the UC San Diego Department of Surgery at the highest level and as the top department in the country.

In the next 10 years, I’m looking forward to a CFS 3.0, which I predict will be the most advanced robotic surgery training and development facility and will integrate both surgeons and engineers at the same facility to move patient care even farther into the future.

Q: What are you most excited about when you contemplate the future of surgery several generations removed from now?
Horgan: I’m most excited about the improvements that we will see in Minimally Invasive Surgery, endovascular surgery, endoluminal surgery, endoscopic surgery and robotic surgery. I feel like with the coming new robots, the field of surgery is going to dramatically change for the better. UC San Diego is extremely well positioned to be a leader in this because of Jacobs Medical Center and CFS. The future is very exciting and very promising, without a question.

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