Virtual Mentor

Virtual Mentor is the American Medical Association's online ethics journal. The MEDLINE-indexed journal is nonsubscription-based and advertisement-free—we strongly believe that ethics education for physicians and physicians-to-be is in the public's interest and should be made available without charge. Founded in 1999, Virtual Mentor (VM) explores the ethical issues and challenges that students, residents, and other physicians are likely to confront in their training and daily practice. For this reason, the journal is a valuable teaching resource for medical educators at all levels as well as for doctors and doctors-to-be. Each monthly issue of VM contains original articles and commentary on a given theme-e.g., access to care; quality-of-life considerations in clinical decision making, public roles of physicians, ethical issues in endocrinology, conflict of values in the clinic.

Virtual Mentor is student- and resident-driven. Theme issue editors are selected in November of each year through a competitive process from among medical students and resident physicians who seek to broaden and deepen their education by taking the time to examine medicine's ever-increasing ethical challenges. The issue editors meet annually with VM editorial staff in Chicago, where we discuss potential topics for the upcoming year. Each editor identifies a theme and month of publication for his or her issue and then solicits articles and case commentary from experienced physicians and other experts in the field who can help VM readers think productively about the topic under discussion. The application process for theme issue editors is announced in VM each September.

Published by the Ethics unit of the American Medical Association, Virtual Mentor maintains editorial independence as defined by the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). This means that the journal's editor-in-chief has full authority over its editorial content. Virtual Mentor 's editorial board members are recognized leaders in medical education; law and medicine; philosophy and ethics; journal publication; and ethics policymaking at the national level.

Virtual Mentor is home to the John Conley Ethics Essay Contest for medical students. The winning author receives a $5,000 prize, and the winning essay is published in an appropriately themed issue of VM. Announcement of the annual Conley Contest topic and instructions for entering appear in the February VM.

Themes for upcoming issues of VM are listed on the journal's home page. If you have expertise in a field or topic that will be a VM focus in the near future and you would like to contribute to the journal, please let us know of your interest by writing to the VM mailbox,

About the Site

Virtual Mentor has adopted many Web publishing standards to enhance the journal's value as an ethics resource for medical students, physicians, and medical educators. Virtual Mentor:

  • has a domain designation that persists as you navigate the site.
  • has standardized, predictable article URLs.
  • conforms to editorial conventions for scholarly journals.
  • has a robust, consistent metadata set at the article level conforming to standards for journals included in Medline ( ) and the ISI databases ( ).
  • uses metadata consistent with that of other journals published by the American Medical Association ( and with international standards developed to facilitate information sharing and management.
  • uses standards-compliant content markup ( and style sheets ( ).
  • has digital object identifiers (DOI) at the article level.
  • has a foundation for adding new features and services as time goes on.

These functions and practices not only add to Virtual Mentor's value and usability as a resource, they improve the visibility and accessibility of each VM author's contribution.

If you have comments or questions about the new site, please contact us .