Businesswoman 'thrilled' to partner with Italian spinal surgery project

Susan Heaton-Wright from Digswell is offering her consultancy expertise to Italian spinal surgery training

Susan Heaton-Wright from Digswell is offering her consultancy expertise to Italian spinal surgery training - Credit: Supplied

A Digswell-based businesswoman is partnering with an Italian hospital team to help offer virtual reality training to spinal surgeons.

Susan Heaton-Wright, who has been a teacher and trainer for many years, will work as a leading consultant on the project, bringing her expertise as well as offering an opinion on the learning process and outcomes.

She was approached by the CEO of the project, spinal surgeon Dr Andrea Luca, who is based at San Donato Hospital in Milan. He identified that training in this area is expensive and time-consuming, meaning some surgeons are unable to afford or access it.

Italian spinal surgeon Dr Andrea Luca

Italian spinal surgeon Dr Andrea Luca - Credit: San Donato Hospital

His vision is for surgeons throughout the world to be trained on a virtual reality (VR) platform, to increase treatment of spinal injuries and damage.

Susan said: "I am thrilled and honoured to be involved in such an incredible pioneering project, which has the potential to support so many surgeons around the world, and to increase the treatment of patients requiring spinal surgery."

The virtual spinal surgery training

The virtual spinal surgery training - Credit: San Donato Hospital

The training uses the latest VR technology, in which students are taught and practise increasingly difficult simulated surgery techniques. Their progress in this specialist area of surgery is then measured by a combination of the machine and self-evaluation.

Susan is a global virtual trainer, working with businesses and clients all over the world, and owns training consultancy business Superstar Communicator, which specialises in speaking and communication.

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She created the Superstar Communicator philosophy in 2015, which identifies the five key areas professionals need to make an impact in business. She draws on her experience going from being nervous speaking in front of people at school and university, to becoming an international opera singer and performing in front of hundreds of people.

In 2020 Susan was named one of the top 100 inspiring female entrepreneurs with F:Entrepreneur, a campaign which highlights female business leaders across the UK.

Dr Luca said: "We are finding Susan's perspective on learning and training invaluable in the development of the VR training platform and are loving working with her."