Skip to Main Content

Our History

Poster for the YJBM's 90th celebration exhibit, on display in the Rotunda, 333 Cedar St., May 31 to Aug 16, 2019

Special Exhibit -- Celebrating 90 years of the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

From May 31st to August 16th, 2019, YJBM had a special exhibit in the Rotunda of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library.


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.

YJBM 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.

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.

The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine has been selected for coverage in Clarivate Analytics products and services. Beginning with V. 90 2017, YJBM will be indexed and abstracted in:
♦ Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch®)
♦ Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition
♦ Current Contents®/Life Sciences
♦ Biological Abstracts

The Colloquium Series

In 2013, YJBM launched a quarterly colloquium series that celebrates the publication of each issue. All colloquia are free,open to the public and have featured distinguished physicians and scientists whose work directly relates to the focus topic that cycle. Each colloquium is held on the Yale campus and is funded with generous support from the Dean’s Fund.

The Podcast Series

In September of 2016, the YJBM launched the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine Podcast. The episodes discuss topics related to the most recent issue focus topic and are released throughout the year in parallel with the publication of each issue. Through two episodes released after the publication, our podcast team takes listeners through the past, present, and future of the issue’s focus topic. For more information, please visit the Podcast Series section.

YJBM Vol. 21 Issue 4 - June 1949