Program Overview

The Surgical Undergraduate Research Fluency Plus (SURF+) Program is a 10-hour per week summer research commitment designated for undergraduate university students with an interest in pursuing a career in the healthcare field. The goal of this program is to provide biomedical and clinical research training for future professionals that will lead to improvements in health care outcomes.

The SURF+ students are paired with a mentor and introduced to many of the complexities of research, including the management of academic research, clinical trials and the federal regulations, policies, and ethical concerns pertaining to the treatment of human subjects.

Projects differ from year to year, and duties assigned to the students are dependent on the student’s specific project and level of research fluency. In the past, responsibilities have primarily included data collection, data entry, data analysis, and research paper drafting under the direction of a Valleywise Health mentor.

Mentors at Valleywise Health are eager to teach the SURF+ students, enabling them to get the most of their experience here. The Department of Surgery at Valleywise Health oversees many ongoing research initiatives and includes the Arizona Burn Center and the Trauma Center. In previous years, the program has successfully expanded beyond the Department of Surgery to include projects within other departments.

In addition to research, SURF+ students are given the unique opportunity to supplement their research projects with professional development by:

  • Networking
  • Observing surgeries
  • Shadowing residents and surgeons on trauma call
  • Attending lectures

By gaining this first-hand exposure, students are engaged in multiple activities that are designed to enhance their knowledge of various fields of medicine and research. Students demonstrate this knowledge at the end of the summer with a presentation on the progress they have made on their individual projects. In the past, student’s findings have even resulted in research publications. This phenomenal experience prepares students to competitively pursue a career as a physician, physician’s assistant, public health worker, or other health care professional.

Important Dates:

  • February 18, 2022: Applications become available online
  • April 17, 2022: Application submission deadline
  • April 29, 2022: Acceptance offers sent out via e-mail
  • May 6, 2022: Deadline to accept internship offer
  • May 20, 2022: Deadline to submit onboarding documents to Valleywise Health
  • June 2, 2022: Orientation day
  • August 4, 2022: Research Symposium and end of SURF+ Program


To participate in this program, you must be a currently enrolled undergraduate university student with a desire to pursue a career in the healthcare field and the ability to dedicate at least 10 hours per week to your research project. No previous experience is necessary, but positions are limited and thus competitive. Applicants should have a minimum of 2.75 GPA, but priority is given to students who have demonstrated academic excellence and obtained previous experience within the healthcare field.


This internship is unpaid; however, the student is provided with an extraordinary opportunity to gain valuable, shadowing experience in a hospital setting. We require that students devote at least ten hours to their research per week, therefore they have the ability and time to seek employment elsewhere while enrolled in this program.


SURF+ Application

The link below will take you to the SURF+ application. Once you have created your application account, you will be asked to complete and upload the required documentation.

SURF+ Application

SURF+ and ARA Program

There are several ways to get involved with the Research Department at Valleywise Health. Read more about the opportunities below:

Surgical Undergraduate Research Fluency Plus (SURF+) Program

The SURF+ Program is a summer internship designated for undergraduate university students with an interest in pursuing a career in health care. The students are paired with a mentor and introduced to the complexities of clinical research. In addition, they are given the unique opportunity to supplement their research projects with professional development by networking, observing surgeries, shadowing residents and surgeons on trauma calls and attending lectures.

Adjunct Research Associate (ARA) Program

The ARA program allows collaborating physicians, academic investigators, medical students and undergraduate students to obtain Valleywise Health system access to assist with specific research studies. The availability of ARA participation is dependent on current research projects and the need for assistance determined by the Principal Investigator. We will try our best to find a study that fits your interests, but we are unable to guarantee availability.


Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the current internship opportunities with Research, please fill out the contact form below.

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