About Dr. David M. Gaba

David M. Gaba, MD
Associate Dean for Immersive and
Simulation-based Learning

David M. Gaba, MD is the Associate Dean for Immersive and Simulation-based Learning and Director of the Center for Immersive and Simulation based Learning (CISL) at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is Professor (with tenure) of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine and Founder and Co-Director of the Simulation Center at Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System where he is also a Staff Physician.

For over 30 years, Dr. Gaba and his laboratory have worked extensively on human performance and patient safety issues and in applying organizational safety theory to healthcare. In the medical community, Dr. Gaba is perhaps best known as the inventor of the modern full-body patient simulator and is an expert in mannequin-based simulation for human patients in the dynamic clinical settings of anesthesia and critical care.

A simulation educator, Dr. Gaba teaches simulation instructor courses as well as Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology courses for experienced anesthesiologists and ACRM courses for anesthesiology residents. Other endeavors include simulation research projects, mentoring junior colleagues from all disciplines and domains in pursuit of their own simulation-based research as well as scholarly writing about patient safety and simulation.

Among other accomplishments, he is the innovator for adapting Crew Resource Management training from aviation to healthcare, first for anesthesia and then for many other healthcare domains and pioneered the development of cognitive aids including Emergency Manuals in healthcare. Dr. Gaba is also the principal investigator on grants from a wide variety of federal and foundation funders.

An author of a wide diversity of peer-reviewed journals including more than 130 original articles, commentaries and editorials, as well as 25 book chapters, Dr. Gaba is also the lead author of the well-recognized book, Crisis Management in Anesthesiology, now in its 2nd edition. After playing an integral role on the editorial boards of several academic and medical journals, Dr. Gaba became the active Editor-in-Chief of the only indexed, peer-reviewed journal on simulation, Simulation in Healthcare, published by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) for 11 years and is currently the Founding Editor-in-Chief. He was also the Secretary of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation for 17 years.

Crisis Management in Anesthesiology

Included among a long list of diverse interests, Dr. Gaba is a voracious reader of a long variety of topics, avidly follows developments in physics and space sciences, occasionally plays golf, bridge and rides a short wheelbase recumbent road bicycle. Previous activities have included epee fencing, flying, scuba diving, rock climbing, soccer, skiing ,and glass blowing.

Boards, Advisory Committees, and Professional Organizations

  • Member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists Simulation Education Committee
  • Founding Editor-in-Chief, Simulation in Healthcare, Society for Simulation in Healthcare
  • Board of Directors, Executive Committee and former Secretary, Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation
  • Founding Board Member, Society for Sim Healthcare
  • Founder and Member of the Steering Committee for Emergency Manual Implementation Collaborative

Honors and Awards

  • SEA/Duke Award for Innovation in Anesthesia Education, Society for Education in Anesthesia (2003)
  • David M. Worthen Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs (2003)
  • IARS Teaching Achievement Recognition Award from the International Anesthesia Research Society (2007)
  • Kaiser Award for Innovative and Outstanding Contributions to Medical Education, Stanford University School of Medicine (2010)
  • J.S. Gravenstein Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Society for Technology in Anesthesia, (2011)
  • Under Secretary for Health Award for Excellence in Clinical Simulation Training, Education and Research, United States Department of Veterans Affairs (2011)
  • Bernard H. Eliasberg Award from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City (2015)
  • Pioneer in Simulation Award from The Society for Simulation in Healthcare (2016)
  • Dr. Larry Zaroff Man of Good Conscience Award from the American Medical Women’s Association (2017)
  • John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award in the Individual Achievement Category (2021)