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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 3 Issue 2
February, 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: AMCAS Class 2005, Docs, Taken to Art

=> Useful Links: International Mission Medicine, AMCAS 2004 Worksheet/Instructions

=>Dates and Reminders: Touro - Las Vegas, Lake Erie - Florida

=>Success Story of the Month: Holly Stone - Non-traditional Medical Student Class 2003!
and Updates on Jonathon Bloom and Patrick Linson

=> Question of the Month – Letters of Recommendation

=> Our Services

=> Contact



Welcome to Lewis Associates!

February is the month for lovers and the time for the Class of 2005 to be very serious about MCAT, DAT, GRE test preparation, writing drafts of the application essays, for AMCAS applicants setting up the 15 experiences, getting letters of recommendation/evaluation - ETC! A VERY busy time!!

We are thankful for friends and supportive professional colleagues across the US and the world. Some more of our holiday cards: Christine Gindi, UCLA graduate entering medical school this year says, "Thanks for being my medical school Santa Claus all these years, and for being a major part of making my dreams come true. The whole process for me has been long and difficult. You have coached me through MCAT's, personal statements and activities. Your skills are incomparable." TJ Dhillon, UC San Diego School of Medicine graduate's holiday card: "July 1st I will be taking over a private Ob-Gyn practice in Madera, California; moving soon and will keep in touch!" I had dinner with Cynthia Delgado (New Jersey, RWJ 2004 graduate) in early January and she caught me up on her residency match plans in Internal Medicine, possibly GI tract Fellowship as well as many other of my alumni. And, I just stayed with Joel and Eunice Mata (see June 2002 Success Story) who are in Anesthesiology and Family Medicine residencies at Stanford when I made presentations at the Stanford Medical School SUMMA annual conference last weekend

Keeping in contact with our alumni is one of the most fulfilling things that I do!

Some of you are in the Class of 2004 application season, hopefully interviewing. If you have not already interviewed, you should be sending letters of petition now as time is almost passed to remain competitive for this year!

For Class of 2005 applicants, 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 ... sooner is better!

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. Here is a quote from Nasim Rahimi who used our Application Package last year for dental school: "Dear Dr. Lewis, I am writing to thank you for your efforts on my behalf. I appreciate all the help and support you have provided me over the last several months. You made my job as an applicant much easier with your advice and encouragement. I also enjoyed working on my application under your supervision and substantial support. I really don't know how to thank you for all the hard work and kindness you've granted me during all this time. Indeed it was one of the most stressful parts of my educational life and your guidance and counseling made it rather a pleasant experience. I don't think I would have been accepted if it weren't for your help. I am enjoying school nowadays and looking forward to having some fun during summer ... I am also looking forward to seeing you in the spring (in Atlanta)."

Monika Krzyzek Class 2004 applicant wrote last week: "I was just informed that I received the Army HPSP scholarship. Yippie!! I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant today and I am going to the courthouse to record my enlistment tomorrow. Dr.Lewis, I was told that your letter of recommendation was excellent and it was probably what put me on the list. Thank you very much. 12 people were rejected this month and I was lucky enough to be chosen. Your letter, Dr. Honig's letter and my recruiter's letter were sent to the committee. I am also going to fly to Arizona next week to look for places to live. I found one roommate already who seems interested and I hope to find another one soon. I am sooo excited, everything is going really well."

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 : AMCAS 2004

AMCAS will open "early May, 2004 and you will be able to submit in 'early June 2004'". You should use the Class 2004 (AMCAS 2003) posted instruction books, FAQs and worksheets NOW; they will be "the same" as the 2005 version. I advise printing out and drafting the worksheet now. The coursework section can take several hours to input. We will continue to give updated information about this. There are a few important changes between 2004 and 2005 AMCAS applications.

Docs, Taken to Art

"Docs, Taken to Art" ... "so, what about breasts?" By Ranit Mishori, Washington Post
This is a link to email the article to yourself

L I N KS :

International Mission on Medicine (but not inexpensive) http://www.internationalmissions.com/medicine/index.cfm

AMCAS 2004 Application Worksheet (PDF, 21 pages - 79KB)
Provides you with the questions that appear on the AMCAS Application. This will allow you to begin preparing your application.

AMCAS 2004 Instruction Book (PDF, 3 pages - 18KB)
This Instruction Book provides helpful assistance in completing the 2004 AMCAS application. The Addendum provides more information about foreign course work, race and ethnicity. http://www.aamc.org/students/amcas/2004instructionbook.pdf



d a t e s   &   r e m i n d e r s

New Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUCOM) campus and medical school in Las Vegas

The mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, was quoted in a recent article in the local Times Herald as saying, "As one of the largest cities in the country without a major medical center or school of medicine, Touro would be the jewel of downtown Las Vegas and would contribute to filling a major need in a city with a burgeoning population. This is good for the community as a whole. Students may want to stay here and make Las Vegas their home." As the fastest growing community in the US each year for the last many years, Las Vegas is in desperate need of physicians. Located in the Cashman Center at 850 Las Vegas Blvd., TUCOM, Las Vegas was established largely in response to this need. Touro are currently accepting applications for the first class that will begin on the TUCOM, Las Vegas Campus in August, 2004. The AOA has given them 75 seats the first year and 125 seats for the second year. Because of the late start in the admissions process, AACOMAS has extended the deadline for submission of the primary application to March 1, 2004. And, the Admissions and Standards Committee has agreed to extend the interview period for candidates to June 1, 2004. https://aacomas.aacom.org/

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Opening Florida Campus in September 2004.


Plans for opening LECOM Bradenton, a new Florida medical school campus,are moving smoothly through the American Osteopathic Association accreditation process. The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, PA, is now accepting students and preparing to open the Florida campus in September 2004. Students interested in attending LECOM's Florida campus in September should submit an application through AACOMAS https://aacomas.aacom.org/ by February 1, 2004. The college will open a campus at Lakewood Ranch, a master-planned community near Bradenton, Florida. The entering class of 150 medical students will follow a Problem-Based Learning curriculum studying for the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree. This small-group approach to medical education offers students the opportunity to learn basic and clinical science by following medical cases of patients. LECOM is constructing a new 100,000 square foot building for the Florida Campus. Classrooms will use the latest in smart-lecture hall technology with all A/V controls at the professor's lectern. PBL study halls will sit adjacent to the Learning Resource Center with easy access to medical journals, texts and other library material. The new Florida Campus will include a wireless computer network so that anywhere on campus students can connect to lecture notes and presentations.



s u c c e s s   s t o r i e s

Holly Stone - Non-traditional Medical Student Class 2003!

Holly is completing her first year at New Jersey Medical School and has a bi-coastal marriage with her husband in California; she is in her late 30's.

Holly was born in Littlefield, Texas, a rural town, to a career Marine father and a mother who left the Navy after marriage to be a housewife. Her mother is a second generation Mexican American. Her maternal grandmother picked cotton in Texas and her grandfather was a railroad worker. Holly's mother tried to erase much of her Mexican culture from her children because she did not want them to face discrimination. Her father was in Military Intelligence, working on secret missions including the Bay of Pigs invasion into Cuba, thus her family moved often when she was young, from Texas to Hawaii to Florida to California. Holly is the youngest of three children; her older brother is a cabinetmaker and her next older brother is a programmer with a machine manufacturer; neither attended college. Her father was close to her two brothers, but she was always at odds with him and was rebellious.

At age 4, Holly had surgery for a "lazy" eye. She says, "So it's back to the operating room for me. I can remember the doctor taking the patch off my eye. The room is dimly lit and he asks if I can see anything. I said I could see him. I remember thinking he was the neatest man alive!" Holly entered school at age 4, so she was always the youngest (and shortest) in her classes. She graduated from high school at age 16 1/2. The family moved eight times while Holly attended school. Several times, they lived in Florida with her paternal grandparents. She has wonderful memories of her supportive extended family. Through fifth grade, Holly did very well in school.

Holly participated in gymnastics with the Parks and Recreation system and attended local competitions, which she enjoyed very much. In high school, she took gymnastics lessons; her best events were the balance beam and the bars. She participated on the high school varsity and a private gymnastics team, and won or placed in every meet. One year, Holly went to the California state competition with the private team. Holly says in junior high school, "I remember having friends that were Mexican, Black, Puerto Rican, and White. I figured that if you were in sports, most kids would think you were cool. I kept up gymnastics in and out of school. I played most sports at school, but next to gymnastics, my favorite was track. Both my brother and I could run! My brother set a school record in the 100-yard dash and I ran track on a private team for two years. I once tied the state record for the 220-yard dash for 12-13 year olds."

Holly particularly enjoyed reading and earned good grades in elementary school, but after 6th grade, her teachers said she didn't apply herself. In Junior High, Black and Mexican gangs created racial tension. In high school, Holly says, "My favorite class was communications, which I took in my junior year. Mr. Hansen taught it. He looked like a hobbit that had 'wise old owl' eyebrows. His eyes would twinkle when he smiled. This class turned out to be about how you communicate to yourself. There were a lot of group discussions and activities. It was in this class that I began to realize that my actions and words have effects on others." But, she was not engaged in academics and graduated in 1980 with a barely passing GPA, did not take the SAT and had no expectation to attend college.

In her sophomore year, her parents divorced. She lived with her brothers and father while completing high school. Incidents like friends getting pregnant and a best friend being killed while driving drunk kept Holly from making similar mistakes. Upon high school graduation, Holly worked part-time in fast food and accounting and lived with a boyfriend for five years. In 1985, Holly left him and lived with her brother. She worked in a sign company from 1985-1990 doing purchasing, sales and records. From 1990-1997, she worked for a bankruptcy and personal injury attorney where she learned computer skills, learned to analyze information and to prepare legal briefs, and found a "surrogate" family. She developed self-respect, discipline and confidence. In 1994, Holly married a heavy equipment mechanic who runs his own business who is very supportive of Holly's career goals.

Holly's cousin, who had a troubled past, attended USC medical school and completed an ER residency; she is Holly's role model. In 1997, Holly began taking premedical courses at Palomar College while working fulltime after a 17 year hiatus between high school and college. She, then, worked part-time and started taking classes during the day. She took a CPR class in summer 1998, volunteered at Tri City Hospital ER and with the Flying Samaritans at a dental clinic south of Ensenada, Mexico, one weekend a month. Holly transferred to SDSU and entered the CUHRE leadership program.

Holly says, "In 1998, my Dad had a heart attack. He was treated with an angioplasty. In April 2000, my favorite grandpa died. He was 90 years old and rode his bike everyday. He had a stroke and died three weeks later. In 2001, my favorite grandmother died. She was 92 years old, and had heart problems. We had discussed on many occasions her impending death."

Holly says, "Testing my commitment to becoming a doctor has taken me from the busiest ER in the country to a medical/dental clinic five hours south of the Mexican border to a town called Erendira. While attending community college, our pre-med club, where I was elected Fundraising Officer, then President, went to Erendira once a month as 'Flying Samaritans'. We left on Friday, worked the clinic all day Saturday, had the local doctor and his nurse for dinner and then we'd pack and leave on Sunday. I secured an autoclave for the clinic whose autoclave had been stolen. Often, we would take toothbrushes and toothpaste, blankets and socks that were donated. We crossed a riverbed to the farm workers and their families to distribute whatever had been donated. Being able to see how they lived was a real eye-opener. Conditions were horrible. They lived in rows of 8' by 20' rooms with families of 7-10 in each. We demonstrated how to use the toothbrushes and toothpaste every month. They were always so warm to us and we played pat-a-cake with the kids. My contact with the people of Erendira made me realize how small acts of kindness can make a significant difference."

In the summer of 1999, Holly participated in the MMEP program at the University of Virginia. She says, "it was awesome to interact with other motivated students from around the world! I made friends with people from Puerto Rico to Ghana! In one day, I observed a craniotomy, studied physics and organic chemistry, ate lunch with these awesome students, then shadowed an ER doctor for as long as I wanted. What an experience!"

In CUHRE, Holly matured into a consummate leader. She took on tasks as needed in a quietly efficient manner and was a wonderful communicator. In her first year, Holly enriched (small group teaching) calculus. The Enrichment Coordinator (Holly's peer) said, "Holly, I know I can count on you." Holly also enriched biostatistics and was a Mentor, Peer Advisor, Office Manager and Advisory Board Liaison.

Holly is an impressive woman whose fine qualities are not immediately apparent on the surface. She has a clear sense of the importance of being true to her deepest self, and an admirable courage to put everything on the line in order to honor that commitment. She has a strong commitment to this foundation of personal integrity. As a result, she is solidly placed within herself. She is confident, mature, engaging, thoughtful.

It is obvious from what Holly has given up in order to live her heart's dream and, as she puts it, "not live a lie", that her motivation and commitment are of the first order. Further, her total commitment to becoming a physician after spending one year on the absolute front lines in the Tri-City and USC Emergency/Trauma Centers is wonderful.

Holly is the first in her family to attend college; she overcame the lack of role models, a supportive family or career goals earlier in life. She is mature, focused, intelligent, and motivated, She has a supportive husband, the high level of energy it takes to accomplish many tasks simultaneously, and a vision for her future as a doctor. She has a proven track record working with people.

In 2000, Holly quit her paralegal job to devote full effort to being a premedical student. She, however, still worked in her husband's business 12 hours a week. I see Holly as a strong patient advocate. As a Mentor, she emailed this to one of her proteges who missed their meeting: "It's apparent that you need to find a way to manage your time so that you know when you're available and when you're not. Do you have a Daytimer or a PDA? If not, you should get one. I got my day planner at Office Dept for about $12. I'd be lost without it."

I leave you with Holly's words, "I believe that my life experiences have all been in preparation for my life as a physician. Formal and informal learning are, for me, a lifelong process. My education will not stop after graduation from medical school or after residency. My life experience will enhance my use of formal knowledge to heal and work as a doctor and will allow me to better serve and care for the whole patient not just the patient's symptoms. Both personal and professional growth is of great importance to me. I will strive to be better tomorrow than I am today, for myself and for my patients."

Update on Jonathon Bloom, graduating Class of 2005, U Pittsburgh Medical School (see Success Story, December 2001)

Jonathon's mother wrote on January 24, 2004:" I want you to know that I still mention you in my prayers! He's doing well, doesn't know what he wants to be yet but is narrowing the field to anesthesia, internal medicine or critical care. All the MD's in the anesthesia rotation had ADHD, so he felt like he'd found his niche but kept an open mind and is now loving IM. He's getting ready to apply for his residency match and that should be interesting. Thank you again for everything you have given to us. Want to go to Pittsburgh with us for graduation on 5/15/05? :)."

Update on Patrick Linson, MD, MPH from Harvard Medical School graduating class 1997

Patrick wrote on January 16, 2004: "Hello Cindy, Happy New Year! I hope the New Year is treating you well. I just wanted to update you on my situation. Maria (wife) and I (and baby Aiden Cruz Nakai ... with photos!) are now living in Del Mar. I took a position with a private radiation oncology group in the county (Radiation Oncology Associates of San Diego). I finished residency in July and started in the fall of 2003. I feel fortunate to work with a very sharp group that treats me well. Maria has transitioned back to Southern California quite nicely. I can't tell you how happy I am to see my son Aiden growing up with his cousins. I have attached some pictures. I can't believe it has been 10 years since we left for Boston. What a journey. You played a large role in getting me the ticket. Now that I am local, let me know if there is any way I can help." Sincerely, Patrick

If you wish to communicate about medical schools or other issues, email to Dr. Lewis to contact Holly, Jonathon, Patrick , imaclewis@lewisassoc.com



q u e s t i o n   o f   t h e   m o n t h

From a premedical student listserv, "How do you get to know a professor well? How far did you pursue a relationship with a professor before asking for a recommendation? For example, I went to my professor only for extra help and asked material from the book, but I did not develop a relationship on a 'personal' level and talk to him about career goals/concerns, etc. Thus, despite my efforts, I still feel like I don't know him at all. This scenario has occurred before and continues to occur. I don't ever feel like I have gotten to know a professor to the point where he/she knows me, so that I can ask for recommendations. Advice?"

This is a common concern of many pre-health students, not just premedical ones. The purpose of letters of evaluation/recommendation is that they are an independent, objective view from people who know you from every viewpoint that you bring to your application process -- sciences, non-sciences, clinical, community service and leadership experiences, work, research ... etc. Letters must reflect all those pieces of your life. And, your best letters will come from people "WHO KNOW YOU WELL" ... so, what does that mean?

It is your responsibility to get to know your faculty and these other people well ... not theirs. If you are shy ... it will take extra confidence to do this. And, it may take time ... do not assume that it will only take a week or a month ... the process takes many months. Yes, use office hours, but do not just ask academic questions. You must get to know these potential letter writers. And, it is harder for faculty at very large institutions with huge classes. You will need to wait until you have direct access to faculty in smaller upper division classes. Most people like to talk about themselves. Ask about THEIR interests - whether it be in research, sports, a class they teach, community activities you have in common, etc. Be creative!!

Here is what a "good" letter sounds like: "My direct interactions with Mr. X have been so very positive that I can heartily endorse his entrance into your medical school program. X was fully immersed in our ... research program in the .......... Center during the year September 2002-3. His contributions were, in my judgment, markedly superior to what can usually be expected for a student in his fourth year..."

This is just the opening ... the letter is1 and a quarter pages long and gives specific information about personal interactions and research the student did with outcomes. Do you get a sense of what you hope to achieve? It takes months (or years) to develop these relationships.

For those hoping to apply in Class of 2005, it is ALREADY LATE to be asking for letters. You should have most of your letters requested now and all into your letter holding venue by mid July latest! You do NOT want to have your entire costly application process held up by lack of one or more letters!! Faculty and others may put your request at the bottom of their priority list and never get to it. Yes, you must be an advocate for your letter. And, you need to make it as easy as possible for the writer. Provide them your transcripts, your resume, ask what THEY wish you to give them, ask if you could have a short meeting to talk -- 20-30 minutes. Indeed, how potential writers respond is based on their personality, your relationship and their availability. One student said, "some professors are so nice they even take their students to lunch to talk to their students."

There is LOTS more to know about this topic ... but this will get you started.

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.

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

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