Virtual Mentor

Virtual Mentor is the American Medical Association's online ethics journal. The journal is advertisement-free and open-access. 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. 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 a given medical specialty, new medical technologies, conflict of values in the clinic, and so on.

VM focuses on medical ethics and medical ethics education. This focus allows the journal to examine in detail the questions that medical students and practicing physicians confront on a daily basis and sets VM apart from the many bioethics journals that seek out rare and infrequently encountered dilemmas as topics for theoretical exploration and conjecture.

Issue Editors

Virtual Mentor is student- and resident-driven. Each September, a call goes out for US medical students and resident physicians who seek to broaden and deepen their education by taking the time to examine one of medicine\u2019s ever-increasing ethical challenges. Twelve issue editors are selected in November from among the applicants. Issue editors receive a $2,000 honorarium and meet with VM editorial staff in Chicago to discuss 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 that topic.


Virtual Mentor also accepts unsolicited manuscripts for peer review and consideration through our through our online manuscript submission and review system. To submit a manuscript for consideration, click here.

Editorial Independence

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\u2019s editor in chief has full authority over its content. Virtual Mentor's editorial board members are recognized leaders in medical education, law and medicine, philosophy and ethics, and ethics policy making at the national level.

Ethics Essay Contest

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 March issue.