Volume 8 Issue 12
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD., Editor
with your comments. Enjoy!
I attended the annual Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) meeting in Boston in early November. Highlights included a session about the holistic admissions review project whose goal is to achieve greater medical student diversity. So, what is "Diversity"? AAMC's definition is:
1. Diversity is a multi-dimensional concept. It not only includes race, ethnicity, and gender, but other dimensions like socioeconomic status, life experiences, languages spoken, etc.
2. Diversity is also an inherently institution-specific concept. The diversity interests of 1 school are likely to be different from another based on differences in institutional mission, educational goals, the kind of students a medical school wants to educate, and the kinds of physicians it wants to graduate. See the Q&A for more about how this may work in practice.
I also attended sessions about using the MCAT data in 2010 student selection, and the MCAT comprehensive review for 2014 change. The average scores from almost 76,000 examinees in 2009 are PS 8.3, VR 8.1, BS 8.1 and writing sample O; total 25.1. AAMC advises schools to rely on the total score.
See this month's Q&A for how well MCAT scores predict performance in medical school. What is new with the MCAT? What do you need to know about how MCAT scores are interpreted?
As a pre- health student, you MUST engage yourself in understanding
what is happening in health policy as it unfolds in 2009. Read a daily or weekly
online or print national news source. Have an opinion and be ready to back
it up with facts! "I am too busy" is not an option for serious pre-
Weekly - American Medical News
Daily - The Washington Post
Daily - The New York Times
Health reform and AACOM public policy issues
American Osteopathic Association
Engleberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings
Kaiser Health News
Medical Education Futures Study
New England Journal of Medicine: Health Care Reform 2009
Reuters - Health and Fitness News
RWJF - Health and Health Care Improvement
Politico - Politics, Political News
Getting into medical, dental, pharmacy and the other health professions schools
is getting HARDER!
As usually happens in an economic downturn, more people are attracted to stable
careers like the health professions…competition is fierce!
How are YOU going to stand out from thousands of applicants?
Warning about student-run websites from Cornell Medical School Admissions
"PLEASE do not encourage students to get information from web sites administered
by other students. From time to time, I look up the studentdoctor.net site
(for interview ratings) and I am appalled at the amount of misinformation there.
Most of the information given there will hurt students more than help them."
Sick of rumors and false reports? Lewis Associates website has factual information
that you can trust.
Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!
to Communicate With Us
Your journey to a health profession
Are You Ready for the Class of 2010?
• Where two contentious issues intersect
• The Winnowing Fork of Premedical Education: Are We Really Separating the Wheat from the Chaff?
• AMA looks for ways to trim rising student debt
• Are doctors responsible for controlling health care costs?
• Med school enrollment up, but residency slots remain flat
• Disruptive behavior by doctors, nurses persists a year after crackdown
• Some specialists will see extra cuts in Medicare pay
• Physicians give hospital chaplains high approval rating
• Liability reform demos must have patient safety element
• California licensing backlog keeping doctors from starting jobs
• Ethics Forum - CME must be untainted -- no matter who's paying
• What commentators are saying about the Senate's public plan option
• Health care spending for middle-age Americans booming
• House bill would end antitrust exemption for health insurance plans
• University of Central Florida Med School Welcomes First Class With White Coats
• NHSC Loan Repayment Program-Spread the Word!
• National Area Health Education Center Organization (NAO)
• Courier Program of the Frontier Nursing Service
• Health Professions Advanced Summer Scholars Program
Advisees & Alumni
• Dr. Lewis has dinner with Boston area Advisees
• Dr. Lewis' Alumni from Pt. Loma Nazarene University Homecoming
Story of the Month
• Christopher L. Sherman, D.O., Entering Class of 2001, Midwestern University, Orthopedic Surgery Residency at Riverside County Regional Medical Center
of the Month
• What is new with the MCAT? What do you need to know about how MCAT scores are interpreted?
Welcome to Lewis Associates!
Nearly one in ten Americans ages 20 to 24 is unemployed. But, health
care jobs remain an economic bright spot. The U.S. Department of
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Our Track Record
Entering Class of 2009...96%
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Why not set yourself up for success, rather than toy with the proposition
Gail Ruth, Todd Ruth's mother, Entering Class of 2010, Jefferson University Medical School
Just a short note here to let you know how appreciative we are of all the wonderful help you gave to our son, Todd. He just received his first 2 acceptances from his top choices, so we couldn't be more pleased.! You were instrumental in guiding him as to which courses to take and gave him invaluable help with his essays. Thanks once again for all your help and guidance.
David and Maureen Lee, Eric Lee's parents, Entering Class of 2009, Saint Louis University School of Medicine
June, 2009: "Dr. Lewis, We just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you for all of your strategic guidance, wise counsel, encouragement, and mentoring to our son Eric on his journey to get into medical school. That is quite a process!! Eric definitely took the "road less traveled", majoring in philosophy, but he worked really hard to get his science prerequisites under his belt. He benefited so much from your experience, insight, and when needed, "tough love". You kept him on track, and we thank you. We think he will be an excellent physician. Perhaps some day we will meet. Again with gratitude, David and Maureen Lee."
Michael Nevarez, Entering Class of 2006, Harvard University
School of Medicine, his first choice school
"Dr. Lewis was a wonderful guide and mentor as I embarked on a
medical career a number of years after graduating from Cal Poly (graduated
2001, applied to med school in 2006). She gave an honest assessment of
the strengths and weaknesses of my profile, and more importantly provided specific
and personalized ways
in which I could address my application and the process going forward. Her advice
and experience was invaluable and I am very happy to have worked with her."
Margaret Jolley, Entering Class of 2008,
UC San Diego School of Medicine, her first choice school
"I never would've made it without my weekly conference
with the calm, experienced Dr. Lewis. She kept me sane. I am so grateful
for her guidance, for her editing help, and for the confidence she instilled
in me. She is a genuinely caring committed Mentor who takes pride in
helping our dreams happen. I have urged every fellow student I know to
call her. Let her help you, too!"
Austin Yoder, Entering Class of 2009, Accepted to Uniformed
Services University for Health Sciences, Philadelphia Osteopathic-GA,
Osteopathic, Tennessee Osteopathic, and Kansas City Osteopathic
"I am utterly grateful to Dr. Lewis for all her help, guidance and mentorship
through the application process. I owe a great deal of my success to date to
Entering Class 2004, Scholarship Awardee, University of Wisconsin Medical
"Dr. Lewis, I would like to thank you for all of your help.
your guidance, I would not have been accepted
into medical school this year. I am extremely happy to have been accepted
to one of the top medical schools in the country, and to have received
of $130,000. For any student who questions the value of your services,
I can say that you have saved me $130,000 in tuition! Thank
John Fiszer (Lawyer), Entering Class of 2005, University
Of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Dr. Lewis' note: John was an Assistant State's Prosecuting Attorney in Chicago,
Illinois, when he contacted me in 2004. Finishing his 4th year of medical
school, he said: "I am really enjoying med school, and I am thankful to
Dr. Lewis for her help. Her methodical, disciplined approach to the med school
application process, as well as her insight into the transition to med school
were right on target."
Ali Warrick, Entering Class 2011 Advisee
I appreciate your help in
my transfer process to UC Berkeley. You have been an integral part
of the transition, and I would like to thank you for your time and
efforts. I know that your work is very thorough and well thought
out. In addition, I believe that you really care about your students,
and believe in each student's "right fit" in a school.
You lead many people toward a brighter future, and I would like to
say, 'Thank You!' for your contribution toward my academic goals.
This process has been much more enjoyable with your
guidance. Thank you for being so good at what you do."
S, Entering Class 2008, accepted with full scholarship
to Mayo Medical School
"I cannot thank Dr. Lewis enough for her support and
invaluable advice. When I came to her, I was apprehensive
about the formidable task of applying to medical school especially with
my past academic and personal hardships. She helped me see that overcoming
these difficulties was a testament to my strength, dedication, and diligence.
One of the most surprising outcomes of our relationship was that she
was effective in helping me develop a more positive self-image
and conquer many of my insecurities. Without her guidance and letter
of evaluation, I would not have been able to earn an acceptance to Mayo
Medical School, which granted me a merit scholarship that covers
almost all of my tuition. I truly appreciate all of her help. She went
above and beyond her role as an Advisor by becoming a Mentor to me. She
is absolutely the best in the business!"
In order to be a competitive Class of 2011 or 2012 applicant, you need to submit a quality
application as evaluated by your clinical, service and other experiences
and your GPA-MCAT/DAT/GRE, etc. profile in a timely fashion. This
requires a well thought-out strategy to carry you through the difficult
year-long application process. If you use Dr. Lewis' advising, we
begin preparation early in the year BEFORE submission of your application!
EARLY is always better, removes much of the pressure, and allows
time to solve unforeseen problems and challenges.
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Dr. Lewis is a trained Biologist, having taught and directed her own
research programs for many years at two universities. She earned two
postdoctoral fellowships (one at NIH), received the 1990 NACADA
Outstanding Institutional Advising Program in the U.S. and directed
her own Health Careers Opportunity Program grant for 6 years,
bringing $1 million to her university while
helping hundreds of disadvantaged students enter health professions.
If you are serious about making your dreams to become a
physician, dentist, physician assistant, veterinarian, optometrist,
podiatrist, naturopathic physician, or pharmacist a reality--Dr.
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Dr. Lewis teaches Professionalism, Leadership, and Quality,
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Lewis Associates will save you money and heartache on your
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Contact the Health Career experts! For
more information email email@example.com.
Call 805-226-9669 to set up your first appointment.
Where two contentious issues intersect
Immigration and health House measure omits Senate panel's legal test.
The Winnowing Fork of Premedical Education: Are We Really Separating the Wheat from the Chaff?
AMA looks for ways to trim rising student debt
The Association will work to increase medical school funding, reduce tuition costs and ease students' loan repayment obligations.
Are doctors responsible for controlling health care costs?
A CEJA open forum explored the role of physicians in an age of ever-rising medical spending.
Med school enrollment up, but residency slots remain flat
A lack of growth in residencies could help fuel a physician shortage, AAMC officials say.
Disruptive behavior by doctors, nurses persists a year after crackdown
A survey of physician and nurse executives raises questions on how to implement zero-tolerance policies required by the Joint Commission.
Some specialists will see extra cuts in Medicare pay
Specialties involving heavy use of MRI and CT imaging will see particularly large reductions, prompting worry that some practices will close.
Physicians give hospital chaplains high approval rating
These clerics can help meet patients' spiritual needs and advise families about end-of-life care decisions.
Liability reform demos must have patient safety element
It's not clear how closely projects must focus on medical errors in order to qualify for some of the $25 million in federal grants.
California licensing backlog keeping doctors from starting jobs
The state medical society has sued, saying three-day furloughs each month are causing the medical board's delays in issuing licenses.
Ethics Forum - CME must be untainted -- no matter who's paying
Should physicians pay for their own continuing medical education to avoid ethical entanglements?
What commentators are saying about the Senate's public plan option
Even before the House bill was introduced, the Senate was asserting that the public insurance option was not dead.
Health care spending for middle-age Americans booming
Experts say increased use of services, expanded screening, technical advances and more in-office procedures are driving costs.
House bill would end antitrust exemption for health plans
But at least one Republican said the law would unfairly put small health insurance companies at a disadvantage by ending collaboration.
University of Central Florida Med School Welcomes First Class With White Coats
The students will receive full scholarships for all four years of their medical education.
NHSC Loan Repayment Program-Spread the Word!
Having doubled in size, the National Health Service Corps' (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program is now available to far more health care professional applicants.
National Area Health Education Center Organization (NAO)
Supports and advances the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) network in improving the health of individuals and communities by transforming health care through education.
Courier Program of the Frontier Nursing Service
Provides an opportunity to volunteering in a rural community in eastern Kentucky.
Health Professions Advanced Summer Scholars Program
Enhance your chances of getting into medical school and other health professions programs.
Find these and other useful links on Lewisassoc.com's
advisees & alumni updates
From left: Mark Mayeda, Dr. Lewis, Odelya Hartung, Eric Oh and Apryle Seeley
Dr. Lewis had dinner with some Boston area Advisees
Dr. Kirk Milhoan, MD, PhD
Pt. Loma Nazarene University Homecoming 2009
Before I started doing premedical advising, I was an Associate Professor of Biology at Pt. Loma Nazarene College (now University) in San Diego, CA, from 1981-85, which had a reunion last weekend for faculty and students in math and sciences. It was a lovely opportunity to reconnect with many of my prior students (now alumni). So, here are some I spoke with:
Dr. Kirk Milhoan, MD, PhD. Kirk worked in my research lab on abalone gametes, then graduated and entered the UC San Diego doctoral program in cell/molecular biology, after which he attended Jefferson Medical School. He now administers Third World Medical clinics all over the world, only briefly stopping in the US.
Dr. Edward Guitierrez, MD, who now practices cardiology in Tuscon, AZ, after completing his MD at UC San Diego SOM (entering Class 1986). He did his residency in Internal Medicine at UC Davis and was a Cardiology Fellows at Kaiser Permanente LA. Here are a couple of photos of Ed playing ping pong in my backyard and on a marine biology field trip I taught when he was a student; then a photo of Dr. Gutierrez, the Cardiologist.
Dr. Robert Wiese, PhD, was presented with a prestigious Alumnus Award by PLNU. He oversees the care, sustainability, and development of every living thing in the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, plants and animals alike. He is currently working on a new tiger exhibit for the Wild Animal Park and is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for North America. I suspect I taught him embryology or histology.
Drs. Robert Patton and Brian Foster (PhD) both worked on bird ecology on San Clemente Island as students and now work together on similar projects in their own environmental impact company. I suspect I taught them several biology classes.
Drs. Todd and Chris Gary (both PhD's). Todd is an astrobiologist and educator. Well, what is an astrobiologist? Todd did his doctorate at Vanderbilt with Dr. Gisela Mosig who helped Dr. Al Hershey get the Nobel Prize. Todd was the first scientist to study new strains of viruses evolve at the DNA level, then he did clinical research at Vanderbilt's medical center, then taught in chemistry and molecular biology at Vanderbilt. He now directs student outreach programs and teaches at Tennessee State University. Chris is a clinical psychologist with a marriage, family and child practice in San Diego. His comment to me was, "I want my general biology grade recalculated!" (from 1983?).
Watch for Success Stories coming for some of these alumni!
Christopher L. Sherman, DO, Entering Class of 2001, Midwestern University, Orthopedic Surgery Residency at Riverside County Regional Medical Center.
It has been said that Michael Jordan’s basketball career was as prosperous as it was because he never sustained a career-threatening or season-ending injury. Tom Brady’s Hall of Fame expectations were jeopardized last year with an anterior cruciate ligament tear. Tommy John’s elbow surgery, in which the ulnar collateral ligament is reconstructed using a tendonous autograft from contralateral elbow, wrist, or hamstring, has been credited with the performance maintenance of pitchers John Smoltz and Kerry Wood.
The roots of my desire to be an orthopaedic surgeon were not fed by a particular doctor’s heroic efforts, but rather by a combination of my fascination with sports and my family. Sports, both as a participant and observer, have been a large part of my life. As a high school student, the improbability of participation at the professional level hit home, thus altering my future focus to academics. As I followed my favorite athletic teams, I saw that players were on the “disabled list” for various injuries. I consulted encyclopedias and textbooks to determine the nature of a torn ACL or a rotator cuff strain.
Furthermore, my desire to be a physician also stems from my family background. My father, an accountant, trained me to think analytically, while my mother’s teaching career has contributed to my strong communication skills. The virtues of hard work, initiative, and a sense of community responsibility were instilled in me at an early age. These advantages, in addition to my enthusiasm for physiology and interest in sports injuries, focused my efforts to become a doctor.
My desire to issue reliable diagnoses for such injuries began with my undergraduate education at the University of Arizona. I then attended San Diego State University to earn a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology. My program prepared me for medical school by continuing to help develop a professional demeanor and baseline understanding of pathology, statistics, and research methods. Through guidance from Dr. Cynthia Lewis and CUHRE, I was introduced to osteopathy and I was able to successfully gain entry into medical school.
After completing my Master’s degree at SDSU, I matriculated to Midwestern University (AZCOM), an Osteopathic medical school in Arizona. I was attracted to Osteopathic medicine because of its focus on the musculoskeletal system that is often skimmed over at allopathic medical schools. As a result, I felt Osteopathy and Orthopedic Surgery were a perfect marriage that would help me become the best Orthopaedic surgeon possible. Upon completion of the classroom portion of medical school, I entered the clinical setting and excelled. The leadership, communication, and teamwork skills learned from years of lifeguarding, my undergraduate education, and guidance from Dr. Lewis, were beneficial for my patient interactions and work with colleagues.
My orthopaedic rotations exceeded my expectations. I love the mechanical nature of orthopaedics and the direct physical contribution to a patient’s health. I found this to be very cohesive with the osteopathic philosophy instilled into me early in medical school. Although my experience in the surgical realm was limited to more simple tasks at that time, I felt confident I could acquire the technical skills to become a successful surgeon.
I currently am finishing my residency in orthopaedic surgery at Riverside County Regional Medical Center and will be starting my fellowship in orthopaedic trauma surgery with the University of California, San Diego Medical Center in August of 2010. At present, I am also attempting to secure a fellowship position in adult reconstructive surgery and develop the skills necessary to provide those services. My intent is to use these skills to develop a practice catering to the trauma and post- traumatic patient that is centered on sound principle, committed to achieving exceptional results, and focused on emerging trends and technologies that may lead to these ends. On a more personal level, my greatest aspirations for the future are simply to excel, teach, and inspire.
I will likely never have the opportunity to be the team doctor to the Philadelphia Eagles, perform an arthroscopic procedure on LeBron James, or resurrect Bo Jackson’s career. However, with the aging of the “baby boomers” and as more violent accidents become increasingly prevalent, the need for well-rounded orthopaedic trauma and adult reconstructive surgeons to repair all of those broken parts cannot be overemphasized. My professional education has given me a solid base on which to build. I am optimistic about gaining acceptance to a strong Adult Reconstruction Fellowship program to train and become the surgeon I aspire to be. Without the help of Dr. Lewis, I may have never looked at Osteopathic Medical Schools, and thus, not been able to achieve my dream of being an Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to
communicate about medical schools or other issues or to contact those
profiled in Success Stories: firstname.lastname@example.org
question of the month
Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD
1. What is new with the MCAT?
Fees will stay the same in 2010. AAMC Predict an increase of 5% examinees in the US and of 15% in Canada in 2010 2014 is first year the MCAT could change; the question remains how to test for professionalism and altruism?
2. What do you need to know about how MCAT scores are interpreted?
First, note Table 3 from "Using MCAT Data in 2010 Student Selection" presented by Michelle Sparacino at the Boston AAMC meeting.
You can see that some trong academic-credentialed students are turned down by medical schools, while others with moderate grades/MCAT scores are accepted. Perhaps, most instructive for medical admissions committees are Figures 4 and 5, which indicate the relationships between MCAT total scores with Board Pass rates, and MCAT total scores with 4 and 5 year graduation rates.
The most important point is that in Figure 4, both curves level off at the MCAT total score range of 26-27, where the liklihood of passing each exam exceeds 90%.
Figure 5 shows the time to graduation for the same group. They show 90% of these students graduated in 4 years and for students who entered school with MCAT scores at or above the 27-9 range, 4-year graduation rates are similar, i.e., higher MCAT scores do not translate into better graduation rates.
Take home messages:
- MCAT total of 27+ means a student will do about as well on USMLE Boards I and II, and graduate at the same rate in 4 or 5 years as students with higher MCAT scores.
- All those non-cognitive (other than GPA/MCAT) characteristics count, too (e.g. clinical-professional understanding, distance traveled, service-orientation, leadership, etc.).
But, beware! ALL specific medical schools with their mission, state mandates, and personalities of admissions committees vary. No guarantee that they will apply the Holistic Admissions Review in this way.
We will feature an important question
each month. Please submit one that interests you for Dr. Lewis to
answer. Send your questions to email@example.com with 'Newsletter Question' in the subject line.
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