The Medical City Opens World-class Surgical Training Center

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Prof. Sir Alfred Cuschieri is a member of the Medical City CASSTI Advisory Committee – International. He is a Professor of Surgery and was the Chief Scientific Advisor of the Institute for Medical Science and Technology, Universities of Dundee and St. Andrews, Scotland, UK.

Premier health institution The Medical City (TMC) officially opens today its state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary training center that will provide surgical expertise and the ideal environment for skills acquisition for healthcare professionals.

The Center for Advanced Skills, Simulation and Training Innovation or CASSTI welcomes practicing clinicians, fellows and residents from TMC as well as from other training institutions, Operating Room (OR) nurses and technicians, and medical students. Consultants or physicians who desire to strengthen and refine their clinical and surgical skills are likewise welcome to enroll in CASSTI’s courses.

CASSTI is a collaborative initiative among TMC and key industry stakeholders who will be involved on a per course basis. The Center is headed by Dr. Deogracias Alberto G. Reyes, TMC surgeon and associate professor at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Reyes is supported by course directors composed of specialists from the Departments of General Surgery, Colorectal Surgery, Breast Surgery, Gynecology, Head and Neck Surgery, Orthopedics, Airway Management, Intensive Care, and Stoma Care.

“CASSTI is changing surgical learning by allowing trainees to learn in a controlled and safe environment. This offers physicians and trainees the ability to assess and achieve proficiency through simulation and an ideal learning environment that is pace appropriate and structured with expert supervision,” says TMC President and CEO Dr. Alfredo R.A. Bengzon.

The CASSTI infrastructure is comprised of experts backed by technology that embody the present and future of surgical and medical learning. The center’s advisory committee is composed of six directors of various TMC medical departments and international experts led by Professor Sir Alfred Cuschieri, a world-wide authority on minimal access surgery. Prof. Cuschieri is a professor of surgery at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Institute for Medical Science and Technology (IMSaT), Universities of Dundee and St. Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom.

“CASSTI was brought about by the need to effect a change in medical and surgical training. The traditional Halsteadian mindset of ‘see one, do one, teach one’ is not ideal as it does not give the trainee the opportunity to achieve mastery before patient contact,” adds Dr. Reyes.

The center was envisioned to address this need for change along with issues of patient safety and quality healthcare and to provide clinical and surgical skills responsive to world developments and standards of care.

While minimal access surgery has become a requisite in general residency training locally, there is a gap that needs to be filled when it comes to this kind of training. In the global scene, simulation training has been integrated into general surgery training programs using inanimate models, animal phantom models, and virtual reality. The main feature of CASSTI is simulation training.

Given its track record in minimally-invasive procedures such as robot-assisted and laparoscopic surgeries, TMC is in the position to uplift the level of medical care through CASSTI.

According to Dr. Reyes, surgical simulation is a mode of training which is promising and may be effective. Technical errors in the simulated environment do not have clinical consequences and do not involve morbidity or mortality.

CASSTI trainings are carried out in a controlled and safe environment. A procedure can be deconstructed into its critical steps for more structured and purposeful learning. The center’s simulation environment guarantees minimization of error thus achieving a greater level of patient safety. Plus, the ability to repeat and train in the skills laboratory makes training pace appropriate, responsive to the individual’s learning aptitudes and schedule limitations.

CASSTI’s facilities include endoscopic stations, virtual reality room, simulation room, teleconference capability for live surgery transmission to CASSTI and remote locations, animal laboratory, lecture rooms, video editing stations and a research room. The center makes use of equipment for simulation which includes alternative inanimate simulator box, inanimate simulator box, and virtual reality simulator.

CASSTI offers short courses that run from two to five days and post-graduate certificate courses that will run from one to three months. Plans to offer a certificate course and a Master’s Degree in Minimal Access Surgery are underway.

CASSTI is located at the lower ground of The Medical City in Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City. For the list of courses and other inquiries, you may call 988-1000 or 988-7000 ext. 6801 or email at, or visit

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