Spring 2007 Symposium


Ethics, Simulation, and Surgery Education
By Joseph W. Sassani, MD, MHA
Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology
Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Date : Wednesday April 18, 2007
Time : 7:30 PM
Location: Armstrong Auditorium, Caputo Hall 210

In collaboration with Dr. Roger Webster and students in the Millersville Computer Science Department, we are designing software to simulate key stages of modern cataract surgery. Such surgery simulation holds great promise for enhancing physician surgery education and increasing patient safety. Although these characteristics should alleviate important ethical issues, other ethical challenges are produced. The talk highlights the origins and significance of these ethical questions, and discusses their implications for patients, for physicians, and for those educators who design surgery simulation software.

Dr. Sassani earned his M.D. degree from Jefferson Medical College in 1973. He completed two years of Surgery training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1975 before completing a residency in Ophthalmology at the Scheie Eye Institute of the University of Pennsylvania in 1979, where he also completed a fellowship in Ophthalmic Pathology in 1980. Dr. Sassani joined the faculty of Penn State’s Milton S. Hershey Medical School in 1980, and is a Professor with Tenure in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Pathology. He took advanced training in Glaucoma at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary during a sabbatical year, 1989 – 1990. He earned a Master of Health Administration from Penn State University in 2002.

Dr. Sassani has authored or co-authored over 230 articles and presentations, and has edited or co-edited four textbooks, and twelve book chapters. He is Past-President of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Association of Ophthalmic Pathologists, having held other offices in both organizations. He has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, and in 2006 he was awarded the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology for service to Ophthalmology. He has been elected to best Doctors in America several times. He is an elected member of the Eastern Ophthalmic Pathology Society, and the Verhoeff-Zimmerman Ophthalmic Pathology Society. He, currently, is involved in joint research with Dr. Roger Webster of the Millersville University Department of Computer Science into computer simulation for education in intraocular surgery. He also is performing research with Dr. Ian Zagon, at the Hershey medical Center, into the regulation of corneal wound healing by the intrinsic opioid growth regulatory system. He is, and has been, co-investigator on several National Eye Institute and other research grants. Dr. Sassani is President of Microsurgery Simulation Software, LLC with the goal of facilitating the commercialization of simulation software for microsurgical education. He serves on the Board of the Keystone Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and is a Council Vice-President. He has received several awards for his service to Scouting.