Dr. Gardner is an Assistant Professor, Associate Director of Education, and Director of Surgical Education Research for the Department of Surgery. She helps provide guidance on the educational mission for the department as it relates to curriculum and assessment for students, residents, fellows, and faculty. She also helps lead simulation and research activities through the Southwestern Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery (SCMIS)

Prior to joining the University of Texas Southwestern, Dr. Gardner served as a Training and Research Consultant in the Center for Simulation and Integrated Healthcare Education (CSIHE) at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, OH. She received her MA and PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Akron in Akron, OH, one of the highest rated and most respected I-O programs in the nation.  

Dr. Gardner is the Vice Chair of the Curriculum Committee for the American College of Surgeons – Accredited Educational Institutes, Vice Chair of the Simulation Committee for the Association for Surgical Education, and serves on various committees for the Society of Simulation in Healthcare, Association for Surgical Education, and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. Dr. Gardner is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications in leading medical education and surgery journals, covering topics of simulation, educational interventions, faculty development, and other practices in learning and development.  


University of Arkansas-Fayette (2008), Psychology
Graduate School
University of Akron (2010), Psychology
Graduate School
University of Akron (2013), Psychology

Research Interest

  • Design and evaluation of residency program curricula
  • Error management in health professions education
  • Residency recruitment & selection
  • Simulation-based training to enhance teamwork and communication
  • Team learning and decision-making


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Setting goals, not just roles: Improving teamwork through goal-focused debriefing.
Gardner AK, Kosemund M, Hogg D, Heymann A, Martinez J Am. J. Surg. 2016 Oct
Examining the Feasibility and Predictive Validity of the SAGAT Tool to Assess Situation Awareness Among Medical Trainees.
Gardner AK, Kosemund M, Martinez J Simul Healthc 2016 Aug
Are General Surgery Residents Accurate Assessors of Their Own Flexible Endoscopy Skills?
Vyasa P, Willis RE, Dunkin BJ, Gardner AK J Surg Educ 2016 Aug
Impact of seductive details on the acquisition and transfer of laparoscopic suturing skills: Emotionally interesting or cognitively taxing?
Gardner AK, Clanton J, Jabbour II, Scott L, Scott DJ, Russo MA Surgery 2016 Jul
Coaching From the Sidelines: Examining the Impact of Teledebriefing in Simulation-Based Training.
Ahmed RA, Atkinson SS, Gable B, Yee J, Gardner AK Simul Healthc 2016 Jul
Predicting Success of Preliminary Surgical Residents: A Multi-Institutional Study.
Al Fayyadh MJ, Heller SF, Rajab TK, Gardner AK, Bloom JP, Rawlings JA, Mullen JT, Smink DS, Farley DR, Willis RE, Dent DL J Surg Educ 2016 Jul
Is current surgery resident and GI fellow training adequate to pass FES?
Gardner AK, Scott DJ, Willis RE, Van Sickle K, Truitt MS, Uecker J, Brown KM, Marks JM, Dunkin BJ Surg Endosc 2016 Jun
Simulation-based Selection of Surgical Trainees: Considerations, Challenges, and Opportunities.
Gardner AK, Ritter EM, Paige JT, Ahmed RA, Fernandez G, Dunkin BJ J. Am. Coll. Surg. 2016 Jun
Repaying in Kind: Examination of the Reciprocity Effect in Faculty and Resident Evaluations.
Gardner AK, Scott DJ J Surg Educ 2016 May
Using simulation for disaster preparedness.
Gardner AK, DeMoya MA, Tinkoff GH, Brown KM, Garcia GD, Miller GT, Zaidel BW, Korndorffer JR, Scott DJ, Sachdeva AK Surgery 2016 May

Honors & Awards

  • American College of Surgeons (ACS) and Association for Surgical Education (ASE) Medical Student Curriculum Best Paper Award
  • Association for Surgical Education (ASE) Paper of Distinction Award
  • Association for Surgical Education (ASE) Recognition of Excellence Award
  • Association for Surgical Education (ASE) Paper of Distinction Award
  • Association for Surgical Education (ASE) Recognition of Excellence Award
  • American Psychological Association (APA) Student Travel Award
  • Academy of Management (AOM) Best Paper Award
  • Marie Wilson Howells Outstanding Psychology Student Award

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • International Anesthesia Research Society (2014)
  • American College of Surgeons (2013)
  • Association for Surgical Education (2013)
  • Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (2013)
  • Society for Simulation in Healthcare (2011)
  • Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (2008)