Assistant Professor and Director, Surgical Simulation Lab
Department of Surgery
Baylor College of Medicine
Director, Surgical Skills Curriculum Committee
Baylor College of Medicine
Director, Microsurgery Research and Training Program
Baylor College of Medicine


MD from Los Andes University School of Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellowship at The University of Texas Medical Branch
Research Fellowship at The University of Texas Medical Branch
Fellowship at The Children’s Hospital, J.M. De Los Rios
Pediatric Urology
Fellowship at Oncologic Hospital, Padre Machado
Oncologic Urology
Fellowship at University Clinic Hospital
Neurourology and Urodynamics
Residency at Los Andes University Hospital
Internship at Los Andes University Hospital


Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS)
Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES)
Fundamental Use of Surgical Energy (FUSE)

Professional Statement

Nilson A. Salas, assistant professor of surgery and director of the Baylor College of Medicine Simulation Center, is director of the Surgical Skills Committee and the director of the Microsurgical Research and Training Program.

He received his medical and urology degrees from The Andes University, Venezuela. He completed his Pediatric Urology Fellowships in the Children Hospital “J.M. de Los Rios”, and a Urologic Oncology Fellowship in the Oncologic Hospital Padre Machado, Caracas, Venezuela. Dr. Salas is committed to education in its widest sense. Much of his current surgical and medical education focuses on the use of simulation. He is particularly interested in discovering medical students’ early aptitude for specific specialties, which will help him to guide and design for those students a specific simulation curriculum with cognitive and hands-on components. According to Dr. Salas, this experience not only will have positive connotations on the student’s future professional career, but also will help the student clarify doubts about his or her real passion for that specific specialty and be better prepared for his or her residency interview.

Dr. Salas is known in the medical field as the MacGyver of simulation models. Dr. Salas has designed and implemented medical and surgical simulation models that are low cost but very realistic and these models have been used to train nurses, medical students, residents, fellows, and practicing physicians. All these models only will have an educational value when an appropriate curriculum and evaluation are attached to the simulation model. For that reason, Dr. Salas is currently one semester away from completing his Masters of Education degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston. The curriculum design and development as well as the systematic approach in the instructional design are powerful tools for medical educators involved in teaching, learning and evaluation.

“Latest changes on the residents’ duty hours, new advancements in surgical technology, expansion of innovative minimally invasive techniques, and upraised concerns related to patient safety emphasize the need to complement the training outside of the typical clinical setting, “ said Dr. Salas. “Learning new medical skills or complementing the acquisition of skills can be performed at the Baylor College Simulation Center,” said Dr. Salas.

Located on the Main Campus of Baylor, The Baylor College of Medicine Simulation Center provides state-of-the-art learning facilities, and with the support of our faculty, our center offers great opportunities for medical and surgical training and research. Dr. Salas said the Baylor’s Simulation Center is home to a family of highly sophisticated computer-controlled manikins and advanced virtual reality simulators that allow the trainees to practice a variety of medical and surgical techniques. It is here that students, residents, fellows, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals gain the comprehensive clinical and surgical exposure, feedback, and evaluation they need to become both technically adept and humane caregivers for their patients. The mission of our center is to create a customized curriculum for all medical and surgical specialties. In this center the surgical residents are trained in basic and advanced open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgical skills. Our goal is that our trainees acquire knowledge, technical skill, and judgment through the use of simulation. We would agree that it is the interaction of these factors that characterize an excellent medical and surgical professional. One of the areas of expertise of our center is focused on the new components of training that are an essential part of the surgical and medical education, such as team training, interdisciplinary training, and communication skills. The Simulation Center is available to assist in curricula and course development for all medical and surgical departments at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Salas directs and teaches the 32 hour microsurgery course for hand surgeons, plastic surgeons, urologists and other surgical specialists that require the use of microsurgical techniques. The course can be tailored to other healthcare professionals. “I love to teach laparoscopic skills, specifically laparoscopic suturing which is difficult to master, but is a necessity during advanced laparoscopic cases. Other skills that I like to teach are GI endoscopy and robotic skills. As you can see, I devote all my time to teaching, and the great value of all this is that I have the opportunity to follow the students’ progress” states Dr. Salas.

He is passionate about applying the concepts and principles related to human learning, the different models of teaching on medical education, and the educational uses of computer-mediated communication.

He is interested in the use of mind mapping as a tool for teaching, learning and research, and the use of word clouds to engage the students in critical thinking. As we know, critical thinking is often cited as one of the 4Cs of the 21st century learning. The 4Cs include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Another area of Dr. Salas’ research interests is microsurgery, in which he has designed novel techniques of teaching and evaluating microsurgery skills, as well as the utility of laboratory-based training bench models in the acquisition of microsurgical skills, and he has developed novel techniques of teaching microvascular anastomoses.

His past basic science research interests were focused on purinergic sensory neurotransmission in the urinary bladder, the influence of spinal cord injury on the morphology of the bladder afferent and efferent neurons, the neural mechanisms inducing lower urinary tract dysfunction under pathological conditions such as spinal cord injury, bladder outlet obstruction, and stress incontinence, and the effects of botulinum toxin treatment on urethral and bladder dysfunction.

“It is a privilege to be part of this visionary Simulation Center for medical students, residents, fellows, and other healthcare professionals. I am honored to work with so many notable colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine and throughout the Houston community. I look forward to the creation of a multidisciplinary creative research team, to bring together clinicians, educators, computer scientists, psychologists, biomechanical engineers, and experts on 3D design” said Dr. Salas.


Society for Simulation in Health Care
The Association for Surgical Education
Association of Standardized Patient Educators
Texas Association of Surgical Skills Laboratories