David N. Bernstein, PGY-3

Elite Reviewer Spotlight: David N. Bernstein

JBJS is pleased once again to highlight our Elite Reviewers. The Elite Reviewers Program recognizes our best reviewers for their outstanding efforts. All JBJS reviewers help us maintain the highest standards for quality orthopaedic publishing. Today we introduce Elite Reviewer David N. Bernstein.


David N. Bernstein, MD, MBA, MEI


Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program (HCORP), Boston, MA

Years in practice: 


How did you begin reviewing for other journals and for JBJS in particular?

As a medical student, I began to develop my research skills and build my scholarly toolbox under the guidance of a handful of remarkable mentors. As I progressed through medical school and into residency, I began to publish more in the orthopaedic surgery literature. Ultimately, a mentor—Dr. David Ring—suggested I begin to review manuscripts and connected me with editorial board members from a number of journals, including JBJS. It has been a true privilege to review for JBJS, and the critical reading and scholarly evaluation skills I have learned in the process have certainly made me a better researcher and scientific writer early on in my career.

What is your top piece of advice for reviewers who aspire to reach Elite status?

Three pieces of advice from mentors have stuck with me:

1) Practice, practice, practice—each review is an opportunity to further build skills as a reader and evaluator of science.

2) Take a systematic approach to peer review—for every manuscript, I read the entire work once and write down core aspects—good or bad—that stood out to me before going through each section again in more detail. 

3) Take your responsibility as a peer reviewer seriously—Not only have your colleagues put in a great deal of time to conduct a study and write a manuscript, but published research will help guide clinical care and make a positive, lasting difference in the lives of patients globally.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

As a resident, much of my time is not my own, as I pay my dues and get to learn how best to care for patients with musculoskeletal concerns from exceptional attending surgeons each day. However, I make spending quality time with family and friends a priority outside of the hospital, as it re-energizes me and is the most important thing in my life. As I progress through my career, I plan to strive to optimize work-life integration.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The highlight of my career so far has been matching into orthopaedic surgery—the best specialty in medicine (unbiased opinion…)—at my dream program (HCORP).

Aside from orthopaedic manuscripts, what have you been reading lately?

Much of my time reading is spent on studying and trying to learn the “ins and outs” of musculoskeletal medicine so that I can best take care of my patients once I become an attending orthopaedic surgeon.

Learn more about the JBJS Elite Reviewers program.

OrthoBuzz profiles our current Elite Reviewers twice a year. Explore past and present profiles here.

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