Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 3 Issue 1
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
with your comments. Enjoy!
=> Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!
=> Important News: January is National Mentoring
Month; Medicare Drug Benefit; Tracking Resident Hours; Doctor's Toxic
Shock; Detroit the Fattest City; Newsweek's 2003 Top Ten; Stanford MedicalStudents
=> Useful Links: St George's Programs
=>Dates and Reminder: Gateways Laboratory Program's
Deadline February 1st; LECOM New Campus
=>Success Story of the Month: Shaun Austin - Against
All Odds, Medical School Class 2004
=> Question of the Month How do you Manage
Interviews and Acceptances?
=> Our Services
Welcome to Lewis Associates!
January is the time of new beginnings - a new year, with resolutions
and new focus. We are also thankful for friends and supportive professional
colleagues across the US and the world. Some of our holiday cards this
year: A photo montage from Dr. John Chaffee, 1993 graduate of Harvard
medical school with his wife and four darling children; he and I published
together in marine biology! He is an internal medicine doc in the state
of Washington. Sue Wiepert announced her engagement; she is in 3rd year
at the University of Buffalo Medical School; see Sue in our very FIRST
success story 11/01!! Steve Williams, in 2nd year at George Washington
University Medical School, says, "Thank you for getting me to where
I am today." Keeping in contact with our alumni is one of the most
fulfilling things that we do!
Many of you are in the Class of 2004 application season, hopefully
finishing your secondary applications and interviewing. If you have
not already done so, get your secondary applications submitted immediately,
because you are headed for missed deadlines! You need to establish a
well-thought out strategy to carry you through the difficult times coming
up. This is the most intense time you will experience as a pre-health
student. It is a roller coaster ride. Let us know how we can assist
Congratulations to Julia Endrizzi, our Advisee for over 3 years! Her
first acceptance is to Harvard Dental School...and, that is where she
is headed. Julia interviewed at 9 dental schools and, to date, has been
accepted by 6 of them, being offered a $25,000 annual scholarship by
You may be doing research or in an interesting program, completing coursework,
studying for the MCAT, DAT, or GRE or traveling or working to earn the
funds to pay for application. If you are serious about making your dreams
to become a physician, dentist, PA, veterinarian, optometrist or pharmacist
a reality --- Lewis Associates can help you. We have made the difference
for hundreds of students over almost 20 years.
From Thomas Blomquist's recollection of an interviewer's comments at
UCLA:" 'Tom, you show an immense amount of humility, humbleness
and maturity. You seem to be extremely self-motivated, yet are still
open to what areas of medicine you will eventually focus on. You are
not like the other interviewees. Your excellence in academia is coupled
by a sincere interest in introspection. I see a lot of myself in you.
You will go far in medicine as a balanced and thoughtful person. If
I had to make a decision right now on your candidacy, you would be accepted!'
Thank you so much for all the help both of you have provided for me,
Truly indebted to you, Thomas Blomquist"
What are your chances?
If you want to change your career or reach your career goal, but do
not know how to begin or how to jump over all those hurdles, Lewis Associates
will implement strategies to change your life. Read about it in our
newsletter and website, then phone or email us directly to get started!
You may be like our Lewis Associates Advisees---highly motivated and
intelligent, but needing focus, guidance and specific technical expertise.
She solves problems for her Advisees and finds opportunities for them.
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) and received the 1990 NACADA Outstanding
Institutional Advising Program in the U.S. She teaches Professionalism,
Leadership, and Quality, and sets high standards for her Advisees.
Lewis Associates will save you money and heartache on your application
process. Contact us for more information firstname.lastname@example.org
n e w s & l i n k s
N E W S : Class 2004 Update
Our Class of 2004 Progress Report is posted in our website Class
of 2004 Progress Report
January is National Mentoring Month
Be a Mentor to someone... it can make a difference in their
(and your!) life.
State Officals Cautious on Medicare Drug Benefit (New York Times)
Legislators soon convening in state capitals are looking for ways to
make sure residents are not worse off as a result of the federal Medicare
Tracking Resident Hours
Six months after nationwide rules limiting the number of hours medical
residents work went into effect, University Hospitals began tracking
residents' work hours more closely last week.
It's Sweet Sorrow for Local Medical Stuents in US
There is good and bad news for Indian medical students in the United
States. The US Department of Health and Human Services has reopened
its J-1 waiver program for physicians working in underserved areas.
A Doctor's Toxic Shock
A psychiatrist discusses her personal story of anxiety.
Survey Names Detroit Fattest City in U.S.
Men's Fitness magazine named Detroit the "fattest city in the U.S."
Newsweek December 8, 2003 Issue
It was a year that saw major advances in medicine and health-fields
that are ever more complicated and confusing. Cutting-edge technology
and new (often contradictory) studies seemed to appear every day, making
it hard for readers concerned about their own and their families' health
to sort out what was accurate and important. In this special Health
for Life section, we report on the year's 10 most important health stories
(they're not ranked in any particular order) and offer insights from
Harvard Medical School.
Health 2003: the Top Ten:
1. Obesity - getting Rid of extra Pounds
2. Hormones - relief that may be too risky
3. Depression - 10 million American adults suffer from a major depressive
4. Cancer - The 5 year survival rate for all cancers is 62%
5. SARS - infected 8,098 people in 2003; 774 died.
6. Autoimmunity - Rates of immune disorders like Crohn's and MS more
than doubled in 40 years.
7. The Polypill - Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 40% of all
deaths in the US
8. AIDS - About 1 in 5 adults in southern Africa is now living with
9. Stroke - 50% of US stroke deaths happen before the patient reaches
10. Alzheimer's - The disease cost US businesses about $61 billion last
(Please note, this is not the full article, refer to magazine for the
Stanford Medical Major Rule Says Students Must Pick Path Early
Critics say asking first-year students to choose a scholarly concentration
points them toward specialties too soon. By Myrle Croasdale, Dec. 15,
Steve Ortiz, a first-year medical student at California's Stanford University
School of Medicine, is already thinking seriously about a career in
organ transplantation. While most med students spend their first year
deep in basic science, Ortiz is also working in a transplant surgeon's
lab, and he'll be picking a major. Immunology is his first choice, since
the immune system's response is crucial to the success of transplants.
"If all goes well, I'm well on my way to getting into a surgical residency
when the time comes," Ortiz said. Stanford is the first U.S. medical
school to require that all of its students choose a scholarly concentration
by the spring of their first year.
L I N KS: Programs in Place at St George's University Medical
and Veterinary Schools www.sgu.edu/nhome.nsf/webcontent/464B03E95E099F7F85256B4B0056D191
Programs in place at St. Georges University Medical and Veterinary schools:
Ph.D. and , MSc in anatomical Sciences and Education and Microbiology,
MPH, MD/PhD, MD/MSc, MD/MPH, DVM/MPH
Programs under consideration include:
PhD in bioethics and Veterinary sciences, DrPH and MSPH, MSc in microbiology
(thesis and non-thesis options), MBA, Med, DVM/PhD in veterinary Sciences,
DVM/MSc in Wildlife Medicine, marine Medicine, Anatomical sciences and
Microbiology, DVM/MBA and MD/MBA.
d a t e s & r e m i n d
e r s
Gateways to the Laboratory Program sponsored by the
Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program
in New York City. This ten week program allows freshman and sophomore
underrepresented minority and/or disadvantaged students to experience
life as a MD-PhD student.
Application deadline is February 1st
While conducting their independent research projects, the Gateways students
participate in a number of clinical activities including rounding with
the Department of Medicine at the New York Presbyterian Hospital and
an anatomy lab. In addition, the Gateways students participate in a
weekly journal club, mock MCAT exam and mock MD-PhD interview, lab techniques
workshop, clinical skills workshop, as well as numerous educational,
social and cultural activities, such as a trip to see the New York Yankees
and the Apollo Theatre.
Gateways students are invited guests to The Leadership Alliance Symposium
held every July. At the end of the summer, the Gateways students give
oral, written and poster presentation of their research.
The Gateways to the Laboratory Program awards a stipend of $3900 and
reimburses the students for their travel expenses. On campus housing
The application is available on line at:
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine has opend
a new campus in Florida - LECOM Brandenton. They are accepting applicants
for the 2004 entering class. Applications can be filed through AACOMAS
and secondary application is on the LECOM website:
s u c c e s s s t o r i e s
Shaun Austin - Against All Odds, Medical School Class 2004
In 1998, Shaun was referred to us from a chemistry faculty
friend. Shaun's Jewish Czech father attended a poor San Diego public
school and his mother, the eldest daughter of 18 children, attended
a Catholic School. His parents lived across the street from each other
and married directly from high school. His paternal grandmother became
his strongest supporter to find a "better life" as he grew up and when
Shaun occasionally lived with her as a child, he was sent to locate
his grandfather in bars. Shaun's mother has several serious mental disorders
and was abused at home. Shaun's parents divorced when he was under age
Shaun is the ultimate survivor and certainly the strength of his family.
He was the primary caregiver for his two younger brothers as they all
grew up on the streets, in foster homes and on welfare. Shaun fed, diapered,
clothed and otherwise took care of his brothers. Shaun's mother was
a single parent with no job skills who did not want to live at home.
Thus, she spent most of Shaun's youth wandering from town to town across
the U.S. Shaunęs mother was always honest with him, and he was treated
as the "man in charge of the family" from probably age 6 on. Shaun's
odyssey of a childhood included several remarriages of his mother and
attending an estimated 40, schools in many states until Shaun graduated
at age 17 from a high school. When Shaun was age 10, his mother married
a drug dealer and at age 12, he lived in a hotel. He says, "my mother
taught herself computer programming, to play the piano, how to paint,
etc." The pattern became that once the bills piled up, his mother moved
the boys to another place. He lived in a car when his family was in
a half-way house. He worked at odd jobs including multiple paper routes
beginning about age 7 to help support his family.
Shaun was put into a self-learning program at one school where he taught
himself the subjects from handouts. For two years, his family lived
in Alaska where, Shaun walked the proverbial 4 miles one way to work.
This was the only time he "left home". He did not stay away long as
he realized that his mother could not care for his brothers by herself.
During high school, Shaun worked fulltime evenings plus weekends.
When Shaun turned 18, he enlisted in the Army. He was responsible for
maintaining NATO 20-minute response for monitoring Eastern European
airspace, and directed as many as 300 soldiers in achieving secure group
communications to all air-defense systems within the region. The Army
is where Shaun learned that he is good at leadership, (becoming an acting
Sergeant in 2.5 years), that his K-12 education had left him sorely
"uneducated", and that he thirsted to see the world. During 3 years
in Germany, Shaun learned some German and French language and traveled
throughout Europe. There was a university near his base and he met many
university students who encouraged him. Shaun also learned for the first
time, that "hard work can pay off and he could reach personal goals."
In 1986, Shaun returned to San Diego, to care for his grandmother who
was ill. He worked graveyard shifts at a grocery store so he could care
for her during the day over 3-years until she died. Shaun worked fulltime
while taking part-time classes at a community college for 4 years; his
goal was to "get a college education". Shaun found that his poor primary
and secondary education put him in the position of learning algebra,
English, etc. from "scratch." During Shaun's adult life, he has also
supported (financially, physically and emotionally) his brothers, mother
and many of his extensive family. Many of them have lived with him for
extended periods and he married a few years ago.
At San Diego State University, Shaun first considered a degree in business,
then due to an interest in human behavior, selected psychology. He was
recruited (as a top student) into a clinical research lab to work on
an HIV-AIDS project for 2 years. During that time, Shaun worked directly
with infected patients, testing them for dementia and sinus problems
at the hospital, did data analysis and managed the project up to 30
hr/wk while working at the grocery store full-time and taking college
classes fulltime. Shaun used his leadership skills to train technicians.
This clinical experience solidified Shaun's interest in becoming a doctor
and he continued to take the pre-requisite science courses. He wanted
to major in chemistry, but was a 32 year old senior by this time. He
was Valedictorian for the second largest major at SDSU.
Shaun has amazing academic and personal achievements in the face of
overwhelming odds (educational, social, financial disadvantage) against
him. He feels that he was not "expected to amount to anything." Last
year, Shaun shadowed a family practice doctor and a physician who works
with the elderly and the homeless. Perhaps, Shaun's greatest gifts are
his warmth, empathy, self-effacing honesty, and caring about the health
of the disadvantaged, including the homeless (like he has been). He
is a committed husband, supportive family member and productive member
of society, but thirsts to do much more. We predict that Shaun will
be an Outstanding physician. As of today, Shaun has been invited to
6 interviews and is accepted at George Washington University and University
of Vermont Medical Schools. We will see where Shaun goes at the end
of this application season.
And, Iain Black, accepted to PA program after 2 unsuccessful
attempts says, "Hi just wanted to let you all know I got into PA
school (Midwestern University at Arizona)!! Class of 2006 starts in
June. I hope everyone has a great holiday season." Iain is an older
student with an uneven academic history, who has been working as a respiratory
therapist for 10 years. He contacted us last year and we have worked
on his interview skills, particularly in the area of confidence. Iain
says, "this time, your help made the difference. Thanks for all your
If you wish to communicate about medical schools, other issue,s or
to contact Shaun or Iain, email to Dr. Lewis email email@example.com
q u e s t i o n o f t h e m o n t h
"How Do You Manage Interviews and Acceptances?"
This is a rather big question with many parts to it. We will explore
some of this topic.
We advise all of our applicants to use our application tracking spreadsheet
system which they are supposed to share weekly so we are on the same
wavelength about requested secondaries, secondary submission, file completion,
petition for interview, dates of interview and final outcomes, etc.
We also advise ranking schools as your first, second, etc. choices and
continually reassessing this ranking during the application process.
Perhaps, you would be surprised to learn that MOST of our advisees change
their minds about what criteria are most important or their opinions
of schools after visiting or interviewing. Problems and ethical issues
seem to arise frequently. Make sure you read the "traffic Rules"
written by the Association of American Medical Colleges: www.aamc.org/students/applying/policies/recommendations.htm
Here is an example of one ethical issue which had consequences: This
was written by a Director of Admissions this year: "Student X withdrew
his application officially on November 3. He was scheduled to interview
on October 27 and canceled. The sad part is that he didn't call to cancel
his interview until 8:52 am of the morning he was scheduled to interview
so he denied an opportunity to someone who really wanted to interview.
I'm never impressed with that kind of disregard for other candidates.
Given such disregard, I am pleased that (if he is going to medical school)
that it isn't our school."
Can you accept many schools?
Yes, but, you are supposed to withdraw by May 15th from all but the
ONE program that you plan to enter for Allopathic and Osteopathic programs.
International programs are each independent.
We will feature an important question each month. Please
submit one that interests you for Dr. Lewis to answer. Send your questions
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
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any friends, classmates,
or colleagues you feel would find its contents beneficial.