Our History

YJBM-historical

The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (YJBM) is the oldest medical student publication still in print.

Founding

The YJBM was founded in 1928 and has been in continuous publication since its launch.

Milton C. Winternitz, dean of the Yale School of Medicine from 1920-1935, founded YJBM for the educational and professional betterment of his students. The son of a Czechoslovakian Jewish immigrant doctor, Winternitz was a Baltimore native who obtained his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1907.

Of Winternitz’s many legacies as dean, one of the most prominent was his integration of medical education with a particular theory of writing and educational freedom found in the broader-based ideology of graduate education. Such an innovative approach was a significant challenge to formal medical education.

The history of YJBM is thus intimately intertwined with this early (and current) philosophy of the Yale School of Medicine. During his tenure, Winternitz instituted what became known as “The Yale System of Medical Education,” which eliminated required course examinations and comparative grading, allowed for flexibility of course requirements in students’ schedules, and created space in the curriculum for students to carry out original thesis research. Pushing forward this philosophy was YJBM. It served as a vehicle to publish students’ original thesis research as well as a tool for students to learn the minutiae of scientific writing and the mechanics of publication as mature scientists and medical researchers.

YJBM Today

The medical students of Yale University published The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Volume 1, No. 1, in October 1928. Since then, YJBM has been the only internationally recognized medical journal edited and published by students.

In its first year of publication, YJBM presented papers on infectious diseases, embryology, nutritional deficiency diseases, community health, trauma, medical history, and cancer. Today, YJBM continues to cover the breadth of medical science, including the publication of proceedings of international symposia and festschrifts honoring notable Yale medical faculty.

Winternitz's educational mission continues as student members of the Board of Editors participate directly in the peer review process. Every manuscript reviewed at YJBM is analyzed and scrutinized by a faculty-student team. The faculty is recruited from across the University and other institutions on a case-by-case basis to provide an opportunity to work with the best available expert in the field of the manuscript under review. Hypotheses, methods, results, and conclusions are reviewed, questioned, and examined for validity and logical soundness. Each student reports the results of this joint review to the Board of Editors and thus gains experience in the scientific process from peer review while maturing into a more confident physician-scientist through his or her interaction with distinguished faculty.

YBM is and has been an internationally distributed journal with a long history of landmark articles. Our contributors also feature a notable list of philosophers, statesmen, scientists, and physicians, including Ernst Cassirer, Harvey Cushing, Rene Dubos, Edward Kennedy, Donald Seldin, and Jack Strominger. Our Editorial Board consists of students and faculty members from the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

The Publication

YJBM has been divided into a number of sections over time so as to cover a wide range of functions and topics, which include original articles, medical reviews, scientific reviews, book and software reviews, case reports, and a section for focus on Yale medicine. Yale M.D. thesis abstracts continue to be published annually, documenting student research in the medical literature. Each year, an average of 15 students joins the Board of Editors. A permanent board of medical faculty joins the students in an advisory capacity. The Board meets monthly throughout the year to consider manuscript reviews and other matters of academic publishing.

YJBM has been indexed at the National Library of Medicine since 1949 and has been available on PubMed and its precursors for 56 years. YJBM is currently an open-access publication through PubMed Central.