Established in 1980, the Association for Surgical Education (ASE) was founded to support surgical education research and training. The organization comprises roughly 850 members hailing from more than 190 medical institutions across the continent. In addition to providing teaching awards, educational materials, and grants for clinicians and educators, ASE also offers several programs for qualified surgical trainees.


The Surgical Education Research Fellowship, or SERF, is one of the better-known educational initiatives at ASE. Emphasizing knowledge and the advancement of surgical education studies, the year-long SERF program is completed through the home institution of accepted fellows.


The SERF program, available to ASE members interested in surgical education research, accepts no more than 16 candidates each year. Program faculty members pair each fellow with an experienced researcher who mentors, advises, and consults with the fellow throughout the duration of the course. SERF program curricula include educational research design protocol, literature review strategies, research project management, presentation and article preparation, and networking opportunities with other surgical education researchers. The SERF program is funded by the ASE, the ASE Foundation, and tuition fees.


Other initiatives at the ASE include educational intervention strategies, the creation of new teaching aids and modules, and the maintenance of the ASE’s Educational Clearinghouse. Housed at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, the clearinghouse collects surgical education materials for the benefit of students and instructors. The Educational Clearinghouse also distributes surgery clerkship curriculum, evaluation materials, and faculty development aids, along with other resources.



About the Author: Dr. Gustavo Stringel serves as Surgeon in Chief and Director of Pediatric Surgery and Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York. A member of the Association for Surgical Education, Dr. Gustavo Stringel maintains the title of Fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Surgeons, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.