Until 2015, ASSA existed as a sub-committee of the Australian Medical Student Association (AMSA) and was known as the Surgical Interest Network (SurgIN). During the last few years of SurgIN there was a rapid growth in the surgical societies across Australia and New Zealand at both universities and clinical schools, and the need for a strong representative body became critical for their progress.

In March of 2015, with the support of the (then) 27 surgical societies, the elected Chair of SurgIN put forward the motion to remove SurgIN as a subcommittee of AMSA, in order to enable the formation of a new surgical network covering Australia and New Zealand. This motion was approved unanimously by the AMSA representative council and the decision has since been ratified by the AMSA Board and a Memorandum of Understanding drafted to promote ongoing collegiality between the groups.

The 2019/2020 ASSA Executive has a strong focus on maintaining – and building upon – the mission, vision and objectives of the organisation. This executive now comprises of a strong corporate structure that has established itself as a public company limited by guarantee with ASIC. With the success of the Australasian Students’ Surgical Conference (ASSC), ASSA Leadership Day, Australasian Golden Scalpel GamesⓇ, among other initiatives, ASSA aims to further make surgical opportunities accessible for medical students across the continent.


  1. Foster interest in the surgical profession and its required foundation in anatomy and basic surgical skills.
  2. Act as an information resource for members who are interested in surgery.
  3. Provide awareness of entry requirements, including the expected competencies, which are required in order to be selected for the Surgical Education and Training program.
  4. Link members with the surgical profession, through hospital exposure and networking opportunities with surgeons.
  5. Provide information and networking opportunities for related career paths, including obstetrics and gynaecology, anaesthetics, global surgery and academic surgery.
  6. Facilitate access into the surgical profession for under-represented groups, such as female and indigenous students.
  7. Promote participation in research in the context of a core requirement of entry into surgical training as well as more macroscopic issues such as access to safe surgery and anaesthesia in low & middle income countries.
  8. Foster student participation in research and provide opportunities for members to further develop these skills.
  9. Develop extra-surgical skills in members, such as in professionalism and leadership.
  10. Function as a health advocate in the local and global community, by fostering strong public support and health literacy, as well as supporting surgically orientated charities.