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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 14 Issue 12
December 2014

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

This is our last Lewis Associates Newsletter.

But, do not fear, we will continue to post news and crucial advising and applications’ tips with our famous “Q&A” session on our Facebook page the first of each month.
Friend us now!

December marks the “end of the year”. But, it is also a time for holidays, seeing friends and family, and counting our blessings. What are you thankful for? A mentor’s support? Caring by relatives or friends? Tell them! And, “pay it forward” to someone else.

Watch for new videos to be posted each month on our Facebook page, including helpful hints for the application process.

After more than 12 years of publication of our Newsletter, we will be closing this successful chapter of our work with the publication of the December issue. We will continue providing the best information and advice about Pre-Medical or any other health career admissions on our Facebook page.
Don't miss it.

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: “I am collecting my letters of recommendations for medical school. Who do I ask?”Part 2.

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 2016 or 2017?
Track Record
Be Competitive

What Are Your Chances?
Getting Started

• Study: Women with more children are more productive at work
• Atul Gawande explains why the health care system should stop trying to help everyone live longer
• Mapped: The growing Congressional support for drug policy reform
• Analysis: ACA premium increases for 2015 lower than expected
• Real-time tracker puts education decisions into students’ hands
• Cleveland Clinic Announces Top 10 Medical Innovations For 2015
• Balancing the Patient Experience with Evidence-Based Medicine
• Recent Suicides Highlight Need to Address Depression in Medical Students and Residents
• 4 global health issues you've been ignoring because of Ebola
• New research outlines women academic physicians’ challenges
• How medical schools are redefining the basic sciences
• How med students handle uncertainty could predict career future
• Ways students can control residency application costs
• Ways residents have found to conquer burnout
• Doctor Shortage Looming? Maybe Not
• A doctor tried to make medicine more transparent. She got death threats instead
• The Importance of Shadowing as a Pre-med
• Sexism Is Alive and Well in Medicine
• How To Pick And Stick To Career Goals
• Harvard Medical professor and CIO on failure and massive transparency
• Tech Trends Shaping The Future Of Medicine
• 5 ways to manage student debt

Useful Links
• Career and Cluster Videos
• Physician Assistant Education Association Program Directory

Alumni Update
• Scott Flynn, PA, Entering Class of 2006, Long Island University

Success Story of the Month
• Daniel Calac, M.D., Entering Class of 1995, Harvard University Medical School, Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program at University of Southern California

Question of the Month
• Dr. Lewis' answer to this month's question: "I am collecting my letters of recommendations for medical school. Who do I ask?"Part 2.
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 2013...88% acceptance
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

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 2016 or 2017?
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 2016 or 2017 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.


Study: Women with more children are more productive at work
A word of encouragement for my working moms: You are actually more productive than your childless peers.

Atul Gawande explains why the health care system should stop trying to help everyone live longer
Atul Gawande’s current best-seller, Being Mortal, has touched a nerve regarding our medical system’s very poor handling of aging, life-altering illnesses, hospice, and palliative care.

Mapped: The growing Congressional support for drug policy reform
The 113th Congress has seen the emergence of a bipartisan majority working to reform the nation's drug laws, according to a new scorecard released by Drug Policy Action, a non-profit group in favor of overhauling federal drug policy.

Analysis: ACA premium increases for 2015 lower than expected
Premiums for ACA plans, “once predicted to skyrocket in the second year under the government’s marketplace,” have risen just 6 percent for 2015, according to analysis of preliminary state filings.

Real-time tracker puts education decisions into students’ hands
A new real-time data tracker from Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine will help medical students know exactly how well they are meeting educational objectives, and a mobile app component will allow busy students to input information on the go.

Cleveland Clinic Announces Top 10 Medical Innovations For 2015
Among this year’s innovations heralded by a panel of Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists: A vaccine for Dengue fever and the advent of the mobile stroke unit for emergency medical services.

Balancing the Patient Experience with Evidence-Based Medicine
Dr. Paul Marantz comes to the defense of evidence-based medicine, responding to a New York Times opinion piece. What is needed, he concludes, is a blend of evidence and an ear for the patient’s story.

Recent Suicides Highlight Need to Address Depression in Medical Students and Residents
Between 300 and 400 physicians commit suicide each year. For male physicians, the suicide rate is 40 percent higher than that of men in the general population. For female physicians, it’s 130 percent higher.

4 global health issues you've been ignoring because of Ebola
While our minds have been Ebola-focused, we may have been ignoring other emerging health issues. There are four you need to know about.

New research outlines women academic physicians’ challenges
Women in medicine have come a long way since the days of Elizabeth Blackwell—at least one-half of all medical school classes today are women. But significant disparities remain in academic medicine.

How medical schools are redefining the basic sciences
Part of transforming undergraduate medical school curriculum means shifting the way educators and medical students think about the basic sciences. What do tomorrow's physicians need to know to treat patients in the future?

How med students handle uncertainty could predict career future
Medical students' level of tolerance for ambiguity may be closely tied to how they deal with stress and where they will practice.

Ways students can control residency application costs
If you're a medical student in the process of applying for residency positions, you're probably discovering that the costs associated with applications, interviews and fees are adding up. Here are some ways to manage those costs.

Ways residents have found to conquer burnout
Experienced residents and fellows offer advice on what others can do to avoid burnout during training and become a more satisfied, resilient physician.

Doctor Shortage Looming? Maybe Not
After years of medical school expansion, some health economists are asking whether the U.S. is producing more physicians than it actually needs, regardless of an aging population and changes to health care coverage.

A doctor tried to make medicine more transparent. She got death threats instead.
After launching the Who’s My Doctor campaign as a patient-searchable place for physicians to post details about themselves, Dr. Leana Wen took a lot of heat from other doctors.

The Importance of Shadowing as a Pre-med
For premeds, observing a practicing physician has a number of benefits. Daniel Gomez explains, and offers tips on actually arranging to shadow a physician.

Sexism Is Alive and Well in Medicine
A physician shares her experiences with both subtle and overt sexism on the wards and even among mentors.

How To Pick And Stick To Career Goals
Though her ideas apply to all types of careers, Dr. Nadine Katz draws on her own leadership experience in academic medicine to provide useful, functional tips on career planning and visualization.

Harvard Medical professor and CIO on failure and massive transparency
As the chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. John Halamka has met technology meltdowns with openness. He explains why that’s the best approach, with specific examples from his experience.

Tech Trends Shaping The Future Of Medicine, Part 1

5 ways to manage student debt
Medical student debt can feel like a huge burden. Learn how financial planning can help you effectively manage debt after graduation.


Career and Cluster Videos
Videos showing the types of work people do in nearly 550 careers, organized by the 16 career clusters recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Physician Assistant Education Association Program Directory
Searchable menu of all PA programs in America

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

alumni updates

Scott Flynn, PA, Entering Class of 2006, Long Island University

October 30, 2014: “Hi Dr. Lewis, it's been a long time, since 02?  After a few years of extra classes, volunteering, and EMT work I made it to PA school (class of 08).  I'm very happy I chose the PA route, since I'd still be in a low-paying residency right now.  Zein and I were planning to be working in Turkey in November to provide medical/psychiatric care to few of the one million-plus Syrian refugees as an international support effort, but our medical volunteer trip has been cancelled due to safety risk reasons.   If anyone has been following the news in Turkey/Syria it is clear why now would not be a good time to be near the border. Hopefully we can return when things stabilize. I hope you are well! Best wishes, Scott.”

Dr. Bennett

Dr. Cynthia Lewis with some of her advisees at Dr. Bennett's Memorial Service.

success story

Daniel Calac
Daniel Calac, MD

Daniel Calac, M.D., Entering Class of 1995, Harvard University Medical School, Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program at University of Southern California

As a child growing up on the Pauma Indian Reservation, Daniel Calac, M.D., remembers the dirt. Literally.
“It was a small community, where everyone knew everyone and dirt was my best friend,” recalls the 2014 American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero. “Playing outside, that’s all there was—dirt, rock and sagebrush. I spent 18 years of my life there, and it was pretty rural and isolated before the big boom of the '80s.”
When not outdoors, playing with friends, Calac discovered he had a penchant for science, and would spend hours lost in scientific reading and discovery.
“Science has always been fascinating to me,” he admits. “Perhaps it’s the unknown of it that sparked my interest, but I spent a lot of time on the reservation looking up at the stars. There was a small library at my school, Pauma Valley Elementary, which is just off the reservation. I was always reading astronomy books there, checking out two or three books at a time. I was intrigued by the beauty of exploring unknown frontiers.”
His curiosity for science soon developed into pursuit of a career in medicine, buoyed by his mother, a nurse.
“The motivation for any physician stems from a desire to help the population as a whole,” he says. “For me it was probably also the exposure to the medical field through my mother and seeing her as a nurse and being surrounded by medical equipment. That coupled with my early predilection for earth and life sciences, and a very strong work ethic, led me to pursue a medical career.”
Calac credits his maternal grandfather with instilling in him a keen desire to work hard, something he carries to this day. He remembers doing chores for his grandfather, like burning trash, cutting the lawn and pulling weeds. As the oldest grandchild, he is grateful for the time he got to spend with him.
 “My grandfather lived ten miles away, and was the most influential male role model that I have because of his work ethic,” says Calac. “He taught me to apply myself and know how to work. A lot of people aren’t taught how to work. The ability to stay on task, complete a task and stay busy all the time. People who know how to work always have to give more and push themselves to do so.”
Calac earned his medical degree from Harvard University Medical School, and did his residency at the Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program at University of Southern California.
Today, he is the Chief Medical Officer for the Indian Health Council, Inc. (IHC), a consortium of nine tribes, including Inaja-Cosmit, La Jolla, Los Coyotes, Mesa Grande, Pala, Pauma, Rincon, San Pasqual, and Santa Ysabel. Offering an array of on-site and outreach services and programs to the North San Diego County reservations, it is committed to improving the health and well-being of the American Indian community. Oh, and it’s where his mother works, too.
“My mother, Esther Calac-Heller, was a role model to me,” he explains. “She is semi-retired, but still works here at the clinic,” Calac explains. “Working with her is great, and a wonderful opportunity to share time with her, from a familial sense and also, professionally.”
With an annual budget of approximately $20 million, the IHC sees 20,000 patients per year, according to Calac.
“We have 140 employees, including 34 medical staff,” Calac explains. “We try to educate as much as possible on healthy lifestyles, and we make ourselves available to our patients. There’s a big push for healthy living and fitness, not only from the government, but from clinics likes ours as well.”
Calac also lends his expertise to other organizations, such as Cal State University San Marcos, where he serves on the Foundation Board, and California Native American Research Center for Health, where he helps coordinate and mentors students conducting research for the center. He also serves on a Committee for the Native American Child Health, a group of pediatricians who perform site visits and provide advocacy for children.
Calac sees obesity as one of the biggest health issues facing American Indians today.
 “The goal of the clinic is to really look at obesity and offer preventive care,” he notes. “Historically we’re not overweight. It’s something that’s been born out of the food industry. You can definitely see the links between food, the oppression, societal trauma, and the way Native Americans are treated. We used to eat federal government subsidies sent in the form of plain-labeled, generic canned food—peaches and pears, huge blocks of Velveeta cheese and frozen food. It’s been an ongoing running joke. Growing up, my mom had a garden so we had fresh fruit and vegetables, but no one really wants to have a garden if you’re depressed and unemployed. There are definitely some struggles that led to where we are today in terms of obesity.”
Calac, who has been married 23 years to wife, Jacqueline, and has four children, thinks of a storybook character when considering his legacy and the future of the IHC.
“I’m like Willy Wonka,” says the 48 year old. “He was successful with his chocolate factory and needed to find an heir. That’s my mission, to find an heir. To have a program of good medical care, that promotes and uplifts Native American families and continues the process into the next generation. I have another 20 years to find an heir or replacement, but that’ll be the tricky part.”

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

"I am collecting my letters of recommendations for medical school. Who do I ask?" Part 2.

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 29 years of a successful track record.

Call or email today to set your first appointment!


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