Variability in Trainee Autonomy and Learning in Surgery (VITALS) Trial

Establishing an empiric basis for surgical training standards


The National Board of Medical Examiners Stemmler-funded Variability in Trainee Autonomy and Learning in Surgery (VITALS) Trial,  also known as “Using Learning Curves to Redefine Training Requirements in General Surgery,” is a large, multi-institutional study collecting data on surgical trainee experience and performance to build predictive learning analytic models. Specifically, it will combine ACGME case logs, EMR data on operative experience, and SIMPL OR data to develop learning curves for the “Core” procedures in General Surgery.

The VITALS Trial research questions are:

1) What is the relationship between surgical trainee operative experience and operative proficiency?

2) How well do existing ACGME case number standards ensure competence?

IRB & Confidentiality

The University of Michigan Medical School Institutional Review Board (IRBMED) has approved this multi-site study (HUM00140685) and will be serving as the IRB of Record.

The study data is also protected by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Certificate of Confidentiality (Certificate#: CC-OD-19-083).


For Sites

Study Documents/Materials

VITALS (Learning Curves) Trial folder on U-M Box

Consent forms for sites

Past Monthly Newsletters

January 2019

February 2019

March 2019

April 2019

May 2019

June 2019

July 2019

August 2019

September 2019

October 2019

November 2019

December 2019

January 2020 

Feburary 2020

May 2020 

July 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020