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.