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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 3 Issue 1
January, 2004

Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
Email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com 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 Choose Early

=> 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

=> Contact



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 you.

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 one.

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 imaclewis@lewisassoc.com 805-226-9669.



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 benefit.

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.
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/38 03/
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 disorder
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 HIV/AIDS
9. Stroke - 50% of US stroke deaths happen before the patient reaches the hospital
10. Alzheimer's - The disease cost US businesses about $61 billion last year
(Please note, this is not the full article, refer to magazine for the full report.)

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, 2003.

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 is available.


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 5.

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 help."

If you wish to communicate about medical schools, other issue,s or to contact Shaun or Iain, email to Dr. Lewis email imaclewis@lewisassoc.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 to imaclewis@lewisassoc.com

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 23 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.

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