Patient safety is the focus at the CU Center for Surgical Innovation


Patient safety is the focus at the CU Center for Surgical Innovation


Did you know the Fitzsimons Innovation Community is home to one of the busiest academic bio skills labs in the country? The CU Center for Surgical Innovation is a 24/7 operation that hosts more than 4,500 physicians, students, medical device developers, and other specialists for 400 trainings each year.


“We provide a high-tech and world-class think tank for surgeons and researchers to come from around the world to perfect their specialties,” said Sarah Massena, The Center’s Executive Director. “We are dedicated to teaching and disseminating leading-edge surgical techniques to practicing surgeons and residents, and our main focus is to enhance patient safety in the operating room.”


Patient safety comes in many forms, including surgeons enhancing their skillsets, training for procedures on existing instruments and equipment, and learning new procedures. The Center for Surgical Innovation also works with industry partners and start-up companies to envision, develop and gain real-time assessment and feedback on innovative new instruments and equipment with the potential to enhance patient safety.


“The Center for Surgical Innovation was originally located with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, but quickly outgrew the available lab space. In 2015, the Center expanded its operations in Bioscience 1 on the Fitzsimons campus,” said April Giles, vice president of business development for Fitzsimons. “Again, they quickly maxed out their space. Enter Bioscience 3, with its additional space, updated facilities—and café—to nurture the Center for Surgical Innovation’s business growth on its way to becoming the busiest bio skills labs in the world. We see the CU Center of Surgical Innovation as yet another success story in our thriving innovation community.”


Their global reach is one of the reasons that Fitzsimons Innovation Community is a perfect fit for the Center for Surgical Innovation. According to Massena, “We have participants from around the world—Japan, Germany, South America—flying in all of the time. We’re very lucky that we are in a prime location where people want to come. We’re also close to the airport so people can fly in and come to a day or two course and then fly out. Or they can go up to the mountains and go skiing.”


And while the Center for Surgical Innovation moves at the speed of science, the team has become woven into the diverse Fitzsimons Innovation Community tapestry. “It’s just such a think tank here where there’s so many different companies doing different research projects. It’s nice to be able to collaborate with them and help them if they come up with some idea to enhance patient safety. It’s been a good location for us to be in to be able to work together and to enhance medical care for individuals. Collaborations have happened very organically and facilitated by Fitzsimons,” shared Massena.


And, in closing, Massena offers, “There’s just so much potential here. There’s nowhere honestly that I would rather be.”


Learn more about the Center for Surgical Innovation and the 75 additional companies in our dynamic life sciences community at