Our Mission

Our aim is to be the global leader in understanding and promoting factors that support the highest quality surgical outcomes.

We will work with our collaborators to dig deeply into the questions that matter most to surgical teams, patients and our health systems.

We will develop a rich understanding of the variables and hidden dependencies that impact surgical quality, safety and outcomes.

The knowledge developed within our center will be translated to inform guidelines, decision support tools and education that create measurable improvements in surgical outcomes across the globe.

To Err Is Human – A Patient Safety Documentary

Medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death each year. Watch as this documentary explores the epidemic and teams working to improve patient safety including ICSS.

Our Timeline

Dr. Teodor Grantcharov establishes research lab in surgical simulation and education at St. Michael’s Hospital
Start of research into surgical curriculum design founded on evidence-based research
Adoption of new surgical curriculum at the University of Toronto surgical residency program
Dr. Teodor Grantcharov and team formally explore OR Black Box concept
Collaborative design and implementation of 1st generation OR Black Box at St. Michael’s hospital
Generic Error Rating Tool published in British Journal of Surgery serving as the foundation for technical assessment of surgical teams
Start of collaborative research project in general surgery with our first European collaborator Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC) in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Development and implementation of perioperative nursing debriefing sessions
Start of a collaborative research project in general surgery with North York General Hospital in Toronto, Canada.
Start of a collaborative research project in general surgery with Humber River Hospital in Toronto, Canada
Expansion into Gynecologic surgery research at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada.
Start of a collaborative research project with The Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa, Canada.
Through the support of the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation, funding is secured to formally transition Dr. Teodor Grantcharov’s research lab into the International Centre for Surgical Safety.
Start of a collaborative research project and expansion into Vascular surgery with Ghent University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium.
Start of a collaborative research project and expansion into Urology with Long Island Jewish Health Medical Centre in New York City, United States.
Open surgery capture technology developed, piloted and evaluated at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Eye tracker technology to capture distractions in the operating room is developed, piloted, and evaluated at St. Michael's Hospital
The OR Black Box is introduced as a quality improvement initiative in United States hospitals across multiple states
The COVID Black Box is introduced and used to evaluate infectious risk and opportunities to protect staff and patients from COVID-19 infectious risk
The SIM Black Box is introduced in simulation centres at St. Michael's Hospital and St. Joseph's Health Centre
The OR Black Box is adopted as a quality improvement initiative by St. Michael's Hospital

Our Team

We are a talented team of professionals from 11 different countries with a passion for revolutionizing transparency in surgical care.

Aaron Miller PhD (candidate)

PhD Research Student - Institute of Medical Science (UofT)

Experienced health informatics professional and researcher. Project will explore how the O.R. Black Box can be leveraged as an intraoperative data capture tool to identify and implement perioperative quality improvement opportunities.

George Zoga

Surgical Analyst

Member of the Pre-Clinical Analysis Team

Amalia Gil, MHSc (candidate)

Masters Research Student – Clinical Engineering (UofT)

Studying the use of eye-tracking technology into the data capture platform in order to identify distractions and disruptions that most affect the surgical team.

Bijan Dastgheib, MD

Surgical Analyst

Expert clinical assessment of surgical case capture.
(General Surgeon - Iran)

Brodie Nolan. MD


Dr. Nolan is an emergency physician and trauma team leader at St. Michael's Hospital. His research interests are in patient safety and identifying latent safety threats during trauma resuscitation.

Bonnie Armstrong, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Cognitive Neuroscience

Dr. Armstrong has a background in examining how judgments and decision processes can lead to decision error from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. Her postdoctoral work involves studying the neural activity of the surgeon that underpins error during real surgeries using EEG equipment, as well as supporting ICSS research trainees to streamline research output.

Danny Yang, MHSc (candidate)

Masters Research Student - Clinical Engineering (UofT)

Designing an eye tracking system to understand how the critically high cognitive loads experienced by surgeons affects their performance.

Ekta Bhavsar, BSc

Research Assistant

A frontline team member responsible for liaising with St. Michael’s Hospital surgical patients and clinical staff to ensure proper data capture.

Farzaneh Ebrihimifard, MD

Surgical Analyst

Expert clinical assessment of surgical case capture.
(General Surgeon – Iran)

Frank Rudzicz, BSc, MEng, PhD

AI Scientist

AI research including machine learning for internal-view and external-view recordings

Juliano Maeso Montes, MD

Surgical Analyst

Expert clinical assessment of surgical case capture.
(Trauma Surgeon – Brazil)

Vanessa Paz-Barreiras, BSc

Operating Room Systems Analyst

Expert situational assessment of surgical case capture.

Kate Kazlovich, MHSc, PhD (candidate)

PhD Research Student - Biomedical Engineering (UofT) Clinical Engineering Trainee

Design and development of a multi-camera video recording system for intraoperative capture and analysis of open surgical cases.

Sara Elkabany, MD

Surgical Analyst

Expert clinical assessment of surgical case capture
(Obstetrics and Gynaecology Surgeon – Egypt)

Sayyed Nezhadi (no photo available)

PhD Research Student – Computer Science (UofT)

Building algorithms to aid in auto-detection of various laparoscopic instruments introduced during surgery.

Shuja Khalid, MScAC, PhD (candidate)

PhD Research Student – Computer Science (UofT)

AI research in the areas of de-identification (auto-blurring and muting of surgical footage), as well as surgical performance estimation.

Suzan Ayas, MEng, PhD (candidate)

PhD Research Student – Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (UofT)

With a Human Factors lens, examining the effect of distractions on technical events in the OR and developing a framework to mitigate these distractions.

Teodor Grantcharov, MD, PhD


Development and articulation of vision, local, national and international relationship building, identification of clinically relevant and innovative avenues of pursuit. (General Surgeon – Canada)

Vanessa Palter, MD, PhD

Senior Researcher

Dr. Palter’s research interests include surgical education, technical performance and assessment, and patient safety.
(General Surgeon / Oncology – Canada)

Summer Students

Representing Queens University, University of Toronto, and Western University, our 2019 summer students assisted the ICSS team in a variety of research pursuits.

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