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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 13 Issue 2
February 2013

Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD., Editor
Email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com with your comments. Enjoy!

Happy February!

School is underway for all attending quarter and semester systems. The best way to start a new term is to be PROACTIVE!

This means buying all textbooks in advance of the start of the term.

Read the first 3 to 5 chapters BEFORE classes start and keep 1 chapter ahead of lectures.

Always attend all lectures… Who knows when a pop quiz or an exam date or a really important piece of information will be given by your professor.

Get to know your professors inside and outside of class.

Ask questions about course material; ask probing questions that go beyond course material; talk about their research, if they do any.

Establish a caring study group with 1 or 2 others who really want to learn. Meet 1-2 hr/week, religiously. Start at the beginning of the term – not the week before your first exam. Bring problems to solve and questions to discuss.

Bottom line: You should be READY for your first exam, NOT surprised by content or format or breadth or depth and content.

Do you really want to be competitive?

1. Plan ... ahead!

2. Address your weaknesses. What are they?

  • Science GPA?
  • Test (MCAT, DAT) scores, or do you need to take the test for the first time?
  • Clinical experiences? How meaningful are they?
  • Service? What did you do to help others?
  • No close relationships with faculty?

And, how long will it take to really improve? One term? 2 years? Be realistic!

So, whatever quest you have, or issue you want to discuss, Dr. Lewis is the best person to use for personal and academic advice. She's been doing it for 27 years, and "has heard it all". Why don't you let her help you?


This month's question on Dr. Lewis' Facebook page is: "How do I ask someone to write a letter for my medical school application?" Part 3

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 staff:
"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.

What's inside:

Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!
How to Communicate With Us
Your journey to a health profession
Are You Ready for the Class of 2014 or 2015?
Track Record
Be Competitive

What Are Your Chances?
Getting Started

• NYU and other universities looking to shorten medical school to three years
• Training MED Students to Become Patient Advocates
• Medical school and a learning disability do mix
• Deaf student can sue medical school for discrimination
• Addressing shortage of minority students in medical school
• Disparities in care for blacks linked to segregation, unconscious bias
• On Choosing the “Perfect” Doctor
• House calls for homeless: Street docs find no quick fix
• Our most intriguing medical facts of 2012
• Training healthcare providers to reduce medical errors
• Continuity in clerkships important, study finds
• Study identifies strategies to help minority students in med school
• Maintaining Empathy While Mastering Medicine
• Will physician shortage raise family medicine’s profile?
• Family medicine residencies: Is one more year needed?
• Residents' Duty Hours — Toward an Empirical Narrative
• Medical Education
• New GME model strives to keep doctors in underserved areas
• Medical boards keep wary eye on doctors' social media posts

Useful Links
• The Pulse - an online magazine of personal experiences in healthcare.
• Physical Therapy Course Pre-requisites Summary (pdf)

Alumni Update
• Kimberly, Entering Class of 2009, Midwestern Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine

Success Story of the Month
• Patrick, Entering Class of 2013, Illinois College of Optometry

Question of the Month
• Dr. Lewis' answer to this month's question: "How do I ask someone to write a letter for my medical school application?" Part 3
See our Facebook page, Notes tab.

Our Services


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 Labor expects the health sector to add more than 1.4 million workers over the next ten years. Students in college and even high school can start preparing now for a rewarding health career.

Are you ready?

Our Track Record
Entering Class of 2012...100% acceptance
Entering Class of 2011...100% acceptance
Entering Class of 2010...86% acceptance
Entering Class of 2009...96% acceptance
Entering Class of 2008...96% acceptance
Entering Class of 2007...97% acceptance
Entering Class of 2006...89% acceptance
Entering Class of 2005...100% acceptance
Entering Class of 2004...100% acceptance

If you are interested in personalized advising from “The Best in the Business,” (quote by Dr. Patrick Linson, Harvard Medical School Alum who is the only Native American Radiation Oncologist on the planet!), call Lewis Associates today to schedule YOUR personal assessment. Dr. Lewis invests in you, so you may live up to your potential to be the best applicant you can be!

How to Communicate With Us

Phone: 805-226-9669
Fax: 805-226-9227

Email: imaclewis@lewisassoc.com

Mailing Address: 1885 Laguna del Campo, Templeton, CA 93465

Lewis Associates absorbs Long Distance Charges

All phone conferences are made from our office to you. Marcia, our Administrative Assistant, calls YOU at your appointment time.

Where are you in your journey to a health profession?
In high school? Yes, we advise high school students, particularly, those interested in BA-MD programs!

Just starting college?
This is a scary time.  Everything is new…how do I meet all those new expectations?

Moving into your difficult upper division sciences as a college junior? Possibly, the "dreaded organic chemistry"…

Re-entering as an "older" non-traditional student? Re-establishing academic discipline…

We help prepare those of you submitting applications for medical and dental Residency programs, too!

Whatever niche you fit, we advise students just like you.

Are you REALLY ready to apply for the Class of 2014 or 2015?
How do you know?

Use our Personal Assessment--and you will be given your individual strategy and path to your future! Then, if you use our advising, we help implement your strategy! If it were easy to do, all applicants would be accepted...and, that is not the case.

Many whom we advise may not yet be ready, and need to develop some aspect of their background to become competitive. Best to apply when you are ready, be competitive, and do it ONLY ONCE!

Let's work together to make that one-time application successful…contacting us earlier is better so we can develop your strategy and address all those difficult problems…months or years prior to application. Why not set yourself up for success, rather than toy with the proposition of failure?

Gail Ruth, mother of Todd Ruth, 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, parents of Eric Lee, 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, West Virginia 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 her team."

Ariel Chairez, Entering Class 2004, Scholarship Awardee, University of Wisconsin Medical School
"Dr. Lewis, I would like to thank you for all of your help. Without 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 a scholarship 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 you."

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, Advisee
"Dear Dr. Lewis,
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!"

Be Competitive
In order to be a competitive Class of 2014 or 2015 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.

What are your chances?
If you want to change your career, or reach your present career goal, but do not know how to begin, or how to jump over all those hurdles, Lewis Associates will advise you and implement strategies to change your life. Dr. Lewis is thorough and professional.

Getting Started

Read on our website about getting your Personal Assessment done, then phone or email us to get started!
Dr. Lewis spends, on average, 7 hours developing an effective strategy of taking you from where you are to where you want to be.

You may be like our other Lewis Associates Advisees -- highly motivated and intelligent -- but needing focus, guidance and specific technical expertise. Dr. Lewis solves problems for her Advisees and finds opportunities for them. Or, you may wish to use hourly advising to solve one specific problem.

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. Lewis can help you. We have made the difference for more than 800 alumni now training or practicing in medicine over the last 26 years.

Dr. Lewis teaches Professionalism, Leadership, and Quality, and sets high standards for her Advisees.

Lewis Associates will save you money and heartache on your preparation and application process.

Contact the Health Career experts! For more information email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com. Call 805-226-9669 to set up your first appointment.



NYU and other universities looking to shorten medical school to three years
The process of becoming a doctor typically takes four or more years for students to complete. But now some universities are looking into shortening the process by one year -- in part to minimize the burden of student debt.

Training MED Students to Become Patient Advocates
Innovative program: advocacy skills, leadership development.

Medical school and a learning disability do mix
Anthony Vo is a second-year medical student at the University of Ottawa, Canada, — a program where the applicant acceptance rate is roughly 8 percent, with 3,500 applicants annually. He explains how his learning disabilities have affected his scholastic experience.

Deaf student can sue medical school for discrimination
A Seattle man with profound hearing loss has won a key battle in his fight with Creighton University Medical School in Nebraska over accommodating his disability. The case could have ramifications for other institutions of higher education.

Addressing shortage of minority students in medical school

Disparities in care for blacks linked to segregation, unconscious bias
Black patients are less satisfied with care from doctors who show unintentional bias. Highly segregated areas have disparities in lung cancer death rates, research shows.

On Choosing the “Perfect” Doctor
With medical school admissions committees seeking to assess candidates more holistically, the December issue of Virtual Mentor, the AMA's online ethics journal, considers whether this approach helps lead to the selection of applicants who will make good doctors.

House calls for homeless: Street docs find no quick fix
One pioneering health care program, Street Medicine Detroit, takes doctors-to-be out of the clinic and into the city, treating people in shelters, parks and underpasses.

Our most intriguing medical facts of 2012
Facts drawn from the pages of American Medical News, linked back to the story.

Training healthcare providers to reduce medical errors
Every year, tens of thousands of patients die or are harmed by preventable medical errors such as pharmaceutical prescription mistakes, hospital acquired infections and surgical missteps. Breakdowns in communication among doctors, nurses and other care providers are a leading cause of these tragic errors.

Continuity in clerkships important, study finds
Medical students allowed to work with the same patients and mentors throughout their clinical clerkships are more satisfied and demonstrate better clinical competency than peers who are trained with less continuity.

Study identifies strategies to help minority students in med school
While minority populations are rising throughout the country, enrollment by minority students in the nation's medical schools has stagnated. Further, some data show that non-white students face a greater likelihood of academic withdrawal or dismissal, or graduate without passing key exams on their first try.

Maintaining Empathy While Mastering Medicine
Medical students are selected as much for their character as for their knowledge. The trait most valued (or that should be the most valued) is empathy. Ironically, studies show an erosion of empathy during medical school. Why does this happen, and what can we do about it?

Will physician shortage raise family medicine’s profile?
Medical schools are working to fill gaps in primary care as more students express interest in becoming family physicians.

Family medicine residencies: Is one more year needed?
Should Family Medicine Residents Train for Three Years or Four?

Residents' Duty Hours — Toward an Empirical Narrative
Despite many studies and academic articles on duty hours and patient safety, researchers have yet to definitively connect resident fatigue with adverse patient outcomes.

Medical Education
Each year, the Journal of the American Medical Association publishes a special theme issue on medical education. This year's edition, published on Dec. 5, includes several studies of note as well as important data on medical schools and residency/fellowship programs.

New GME model strives to keep doctors in underserved areas
Funded by the ACA, it offers medical residents the opportunity to practice primary care as part of an interprofessional team.

Medical boards keep wary eye on doctors' social media posts
A survey of board executives finds that inappropriate communication with patients is among online behavior by physicians that could lead to an investigation.


The Pulse - an online magazine of personal experiences in healthcare.

Physical Therapy Course Pre-requisites Summary (pdf)

Find these and other useful links on Lewisassoc.com's Links Page.

alumni updates


Kimberly, Entering Class of 2009, Midwestern Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine

December 18, 2012: "Hi Dr. Lewis! Hope all is well with you. Four and ½ more rotations plus 5 more interviews to go. It’s an exciting and stressful time. I will keep you informed. Take care, Kim."

Watch for Success Stories coming for some of these alumni!

success story


Patrick, Entering Class of 2013, Illinois College of Optometry

Going to college was the main goal for many students in my high school, yet I never gave it much thought beyond that; I figured that the pieces would come together later. Not surprisingly, I had difficulty finding my career path in college after a series of missteps that started when I foolishly took more courses than I could handle, receiving mediocre grades as a result. My confidence continued to drop with each quarter, the consequence of a vicious cycle: my lack of direction fed into a lack of motivation, which affected my performance regardless of which class I chose to take. It wasn't long before anxiety and depression reigned supreme. At my lowest point, I didn't even attend my final exams once I realized that I wasn't earning the grade I aimed for. Soon, I was doing the bare minimum to stay under the radar of the academic counselors, let alone my parents, who I had not told about my struggle. My goals steadily whittled down to simply graduating, and my undergraduate years ended with a whimper.

My journey to optometry began with a casual chat with a friend in optometry school, who invited me to visit his campus a few months after I graduated from college. I had a strong interest in a health career for the technical and intellectual challenges, and the personal fulfillment of improving lives. This encounter stirred my interest in the optometric profession. I wanted to learn more, so I shadowed a local optometrist and gained a better understanding of private practice optometry. By including me in exams and discussing the profession during breaks, she showed how an optometrist maintains the ocular health of patients and educates them about proper eye care. When a patient came in with a unique eye condition, I wanted to learn more about its diagnosis and treatment.

The following summer, I interviewed an optometrist in retail. I saw that patient interactions were succinct; most exams were for healthy patients seeking new glasses or contacts and emphasis was placed on product sales more than eye care. I observed an optometrist at a local college clinic who rotated at 2 other locations, including an ophthalmology clinic. Through this, I learned how optometrists work alongside ophthalmologists in diagnosing and treating ocular conditions.

With a private practice optometrist, I observed doctor-patient interactions, eye conditions, and front office work. I later volunteered to work with her front office manager, and was trained to perform pre-test exams with the Humphrey visual field analyzer, non-contact tonometer, and auto-refractor keratometer. After several months as a volunteer gaining patient and private practice operations experience, I was hired as an optometry intern. I worked with all 3 doctors at this practice, and learned their different perspectives, from observing interesting eye conditions, to the challenges of owning a private practice business. One of the doctors also worked at a retail location, and I learned about monthly exam quotas that management imposes on doctors, and her efforts to provide quality care despite such constraints.

My experiences taught me a great deal about how an optometrist balances the doctor-patient relationship with his or her professional and technical skills. Performing an accurate diagnosis efficiently is paramount, but interacting effectively with patients is equally important for proper care. I was impressed by my doctor's ability to engage patients in casual talk while maintaining an authoritative atmosphere in the exam room. I realized that new, unique clinical learning opportunities are ever-present throughout one's time in practice; you continually adapt and improve while gaining confidence in your abilities. It is lifelong learning. The human eye is a marvel; its intricate anatomy and dynamic physiology fascinate me. Vision is crucial to the human experience, yet most take it for granted until it becomes impaired. The importance of eye health is one of the reasons I chose the profession of optometry: seeing the happy reactions from patients as their world comes into focus inspires me. To be the caretaker of another’s sight is an important responsibility.

As a non-traditional applicant, my decision to seek guidance from Dr. Lewis was a pivotal moment. Having finally discovered my path to a career in optometry after a long slog through undergraduate school, I knew I could not afford to lose any time by trial and error. My undergraduate GPA as it stood, was too low for consideration, so I knew I had to rebuild myself into a stronger applicant. Dr. Lewis was instrumental in formulating effective strategies for my post-baccalaureate studies and optometry school application, providing clear, straightforward advice each step of the way. The application process was tedious and sometimes trying, but over the three years I worked with her, Dr. Lewis' calm, steady guidance helped ensure that I stayed on my path. At the beginning of my journey, I was fraught with uncertainty, merely hoping for one school to accept me. I ended in the favorable position of being able to choose among three schools where I interviewed and gained acceptance, brimming with confidence and motivation for starting at Illinois College of Optometry next fall. Dr. Lewis, thank you for lending your wisdom and experience in helping me achieve my goals.

Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to communicate about medical schools or other issues or to contact those profiled in Success Stories: imaclewis@lewisassoc.com

question of the month... see Facebook, Notes tab
By Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD

"How do I ask someone to write a letter for my medical school application?" Part 3

We will feature an important question each month. Please submit one that interests you for Dr. Lewis to answer. Send your questions to imaclewis@lewisassoc.com with 'Newsletter Question' in the subject line.

lewis associates advising services

Lewis Associates specializes in personal, effective and professional premedical advising and placement for traditional and non-traditional applicants. Often, non-traditional students are older than 21 years of age, career changers, international applicants or second-round applicants for admission to health professions school.

Lewis Associates' services meet the needs of all types of students from pre-applicants to applicants, including hourly advising support for specific needs. Click here.


"It's never too late to be who you might have been."

If this is how YOU feel, then, maybe Lewis Associates is the place for you. Lewis Associates provides Mentoring and Coaching through the rigorous and often circuitous pre-health preparation and application process. Other consultants may support programs like Law and Business or graduate school -- not Lewis Associates. We are the experts in Health Professions based on 26 years of a successful track record.

Call or email today to set your first appointment!

805.226.9669 imaclewis@lewisassoc.com

Copyright 2009, Lewis Associates. All rights reserved. Please do not repost on any website without direct permission from Lewis Associates.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any friends, classmates, or colleagues you feel would find its contents beneficial.

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