The SELF Symposium is a gathering of leaders aimed at accelerating progress towards a future where high-quality procedural skills training is universal.

The SELF Symposium will take place during International Surgical Week (ISW) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on August 29 and 30, 2024. During the event, participants will review progress since 2023, adjust priorities, and further plan how to operationalize SELF’s potential.

This event is by invitation only and will include educators, technologists, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and learners. Together, participants share a vision for scaling procedural skills training, education, and research in low-resource settings.

The Surgical Education Learners Forum (SELF) is a global community of practice that develops, evaluates, and scales procedural skills training for clinicians in low-resource settings. SELF training modules are designed to enable independent, effective skill acquisition. Through self-directed learning, clinicians can train wherever they are and without the need for a constant instructor. In turn, skill acquisition occurs more equitably and at a scale that is needed to address the global burden of disease.


The SELF Symposium takes place during ISW. SELF Symposium participants are welcome to participate in ISW from August 25 – 28, and participants are expected to attend both days of the SELF Symposium on August 29 and 30.

Wednesday, August 28

Welcome Reception
This informal reception allows participants to reconnect with the SELF community.

Thursday, August 29

Opening for Day One
Participants will engage in a high-level review of SELF’s purpose and also set objectives for the next two days of the Symposium.

Roadmap for SELF
Participants will reflect on what the SELF community set out to accomplish since the previous Symposium in August 2023 and review how that work is going. Discussion topics will include new tools and programs that have come to light, where SELF is headed over time, and the work that needs to happen next.

Evidence and Quality
Participants will revisit the standards of both evidence and quality that are prerequisites for scaling SELF training modules, and they will also discuss methods for continuing to generate evidence relating to effectiveness and safety. Newer tools and approaches, such as ENTRUST, the simulation materials database, and evidence protocols will be part of this conversation.

Participants will reanalyze the priority areas identified for SELF in 2023, especially relating to priority procedures and training modules. Participants will revisit these priorities based on new tools, learnings, and perspectives. 

Salon Dinners
Participants will attend a facilitated dinner on topics of interest to the SELF community.

Friday, August 30

Opening for Day Two
In this introduction to the second day, participants will look towards the future to plan concrete actions that the SELF community can take to make high-quality procedural skills training universal. Participants will preview the day’s goals and agenda, which includes starting with flexible spaces for discussion and planning.

Working Groups
Participants will break into working groups formed around specific topics, such as developing various standards for training modules. These groups provide semi-structured space to discuss more specialized actions that participants want to take together. 

Participants will envision how SELF continues to grow at a scale that is needed to address the global burden of disease. Participants will anticipate and plan for rapid adoption of the SELF model for procedural skill acquisition and then consider specific tools and methods that can enable scale.

Working Groups
Participants will break into working groups to discuss how they might partner together to prepare for scale. Some groups may center on concrete ideas for collaboration among the current SELF community, while others may consider how to bring SELF to existing groups doing aligned work. 

Participants will consider who could join the SELF community or support SELF as partners to realize SELF’s potential. Participants will discuss partnership opportunities, responsibilities, and strategies for further developing SELF.

Participants will commit to action on a set of recommendations and coordinated efforts to guide the SELF community’s work for the next year and beyond.

Closing Reception
Participants will attend a closing reception prior to departure.

The 2023 SELF Symposium

For reference, you can review the SELF Symposium 2023 Participant Booklet (PDF), which includes information about the goals, attendees, and agenda of the first SELF Symposium.