Dr. David Smith named chief medical officer of CAMLS

Dr. David Smith, chair of the Department of Surgery, has been named the new chief medical officer of the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, or CAMLS.

“CAMLS is helping USF Health move health care to new levels of quality and safety,” said Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health. “I’m delighted that Dr. Smith is taking on this new leadership role. His high standards and surgical expertise will help CAMLS stand out as the premier center for technical and teamwork training and assessment.”


CAMLS opened in 2012. Its surgical facilities include the world’s first hybrid operating suite used exclusively for training; a trauma operating room that can simulate battlefield sights, sounds and temperature; an advanced robotics suite; and two large surgical suites. Altogether, CAMLS has 39 surgical stations, more than the number found at many hospitals.

CAMLS also features team training facilities, a variety of realistic human patient simulators and surgical simulators. It’s also the home of the Tampa Bay Research & Innovation Center, a hub for developing new medical devices and technologies.

“Dr. Smith’s high level of expertise as a surgeon and commitment to raising standards of quality care is the perfect fit for CAMLS,” said Deborah Sutherland, PhD, CEO of CAMLS.

“He is helping us identify new surgical innovations that can be developed and taught at CAMLS,” she said. “This is a good appointment for us and for the Department of Surgery. It’s important that CAMLS and the Department of Surgery work hand-in-hand because many of the opportunities at CAMLS are for surgical and interventional training.”


Dr. David Smith

CAMLS is poised to become an international leader in helping health professionals perform at the highest levels of quality care, Dr. Smith said.

“Health care is becoming international, and the assessment tools being developed and used at CAMLS will be recognized internationally,” he said.

Dr. Smith is  assisting with the development of the international program for CAMLS, including working to develop new facilities in Panama, Brazil and India.

Dr. Smith also is working on a project to develop a consortium of simulation super centers. The group will develop standardized global curricula and courses for training residents and working health professionals. With those curricula in place, the group will then build a large shared database to provide metrics on improving training procedures to provide better outcomes.

“We want to partner with people who are committed to excellence in teaching and verification of proficiency,” Dr. Smith said. “Ultimately, if we have a larger data set, it allows us to define proficiency more accurately. The ultimate benefit is safer patient care.”

Dr. Smith also is the director of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and holds the Richard G. Connar Endowed Chair of Surgery.   Dr. Smith received his MD from Indiana University and completed a residency in surgery at Emory University and a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Indiana. He also did a fellowship in hand surgery at the University of Louisville.