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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 3 Issue 3
March, 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: Computer based MCAT; Temple University Probabtion; Malpractice Insurance; Medical Records; Medicare Drug Law

=> Useful Links: John Hopkins Summer Institute; Midwifery Programs; Drexel's Pathologist' Assistant; Unite for Sight; Medical School Debt

=>Dates and Reminders: AMCAS Class 2005

=>Success Story of the Month: Lila Granda - Married with Baby Medical Student Class 2004

=> Question of the Month – How do I select which School to Attend?

=> Our Services

=> Contact



Welcome to Lewis Associates!

March is the month when April MCAT takers start getting nervous. It is time for Class of 2005 applicants to be serious about test preparation, about writing drafts of your application essays, for AMCAS applicants to establish your 15 experiences, to gather letters of recommendation/evaluation - ETC! A VERY busy time!

We are thankful for our alumni, friends and supportive professional colleagues across the US and the world. A note from Lindsey Hansen who is moving this week to Florida in preparation to enter the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine's new Bradenton campus: "Thank you for always believing in me! I am truly blessed to have been able to work with you. You have done so much for me and I am so grateful. I cannot express my gratitude enough. Without you, I would not have achieved so much. I appreciate all the hard work and hours you dedicated toward helping me reach my goal. I could not have asked for a more caring, supportive professional and committed advisor. I have learned so much from you and am glad I had you to help me through the process! Thanks for being you! I will miss you and keep in touch."

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

For Entering Class of 2005 applicants, this is your application year. I hope you survive the April 04 MCAT... if not, you must develop a very effective strategy to use the August MCAT to your benefit and get your application submitted soon! 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!

Some of you are in the Class of 2004 application season, hopefully accepted! 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! And, if you are wait-listed, there are things we can do to help move you into the accepted column - but time is not your friend here.

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 ... "

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. Dr. Lewis solves problems for her Advisees and finds opportunities for them. She 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 : MCAT in a Computer Based Format

The AAMC is pleased to announce an opportunity for a small number of examinees to take the MCAT in a computer-based format (same test, same time limits, same day, same score-report date). For the April 2004 administration, there are a limited number of computer-seats available at Prometric testing sites in four cities where historically there have been difficulties in finding enough seats for those who wish to test: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, and Washington DC.
Details at MCAT homepage, http://www.aamc.org/mcat

Temple University School of Medicine Accreditation
The LCME has removed probationary status from Temple University School of Medicine accreditation. The school will construct a new main medical school education and research building, class size has been reduced, and more scholarships are available.

Medical Students Dread Malpractice Insurance Mess (KFVS, MO)

The state of Illinois has one of the highest rates of malpractice lawsuits in the country. It has already forced two neurosurgeons to move out of Southern Illinois, but the problem is not just an issue to practicing doctors. Medical students and residents are also concerned about the high cost of malpractice insurance.

U.S. Justice Dept. Seeks Hundreds of Medical Records (Reuters)

The U.S. Justice Department has subpoenaed Planned Parenthood for the confidential medical records of hundreds of women as part of its defense against challenges to a federal law that bans a type of late-term abortion, the family planning organization said on Thursday.

Survey finds confustion on Medicare Drug Law (LA Times)

Only a fraction of the nation's seniors understand the new Medicare prescription drug law, and the more they learn about it, the less they like it, according to a survey.
(You will need to register to view article - Free)

L I N K S :

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will offer the fourth annual Summer Institute in Anatomy this June in Baltimore. The course is prosection-based and regional in approach, giving students more of a "medical school" experience than is typical in most undergraduate anatomy/physiology courses. The course is limited in size allowing personal interactions with faculty. Accomodation is provided on the main undergraduate campus and free transportation between the two campuses is also provided. Not inexpensive. Information and an application form:

Information about midwifery programs:

Master of science in Pathologists' Assistant, Drexel University. A 2 year program

Unite for Sight is a global humanitarian organization with several international summer opportunities to medical and college students. Email also:
For an application and information
http:// www.uniteforsight.org

Medical student Debt Class of 2003

Mean all schools ------------- $109,457 ---- up 5.4%
Mean public school ------------ $97,275 ---- up 6.4%
Mean private schools -------- $129,392 ---- up 4.5%




s u c c e s s s t o r i e s

Lila Granda - Married with Baby --- Medical Student Class 2004!

Note: Lila is a wife, mother and soon-to-be medical student entering into the Class of 2004. She has been a political risk underwriter for the US government, and currently for a private corporation. Read below to understand her motivation and Lila's "story".

Lila wrote this week, "Thank you so much for writing me a recommendation. I really feel that in the ... time that you have worked with me, you have come to know me well. I cannot yet believe that I am in a position to consider how to finance my medical education. I was never quite sure I would be able to get in anywhere. Your advice and work on my behalf have been invaluable. Without your help, I do not think I would have been able to put forward as favorable a presentation of myself. You may well have made the difference for me in getting a few fat envelopes amidst some thin ones. I would strongly encourage anyone working toward gaining acceptance to medical school to sign up with you. And, I would be remiss if I did not mention how wonderful Alice is - extremely reliable, efficient and personable. She really keeps things humming. Thanks again for everything."

Lila was born in Chicago and her family moved to New York City, then to Detroit when she was age 11. Lila's mother, a civil engineer, died when she was age 5; her father earned his MD in Spain when Franco was in power and came to the US to earn a doctorate in biochemistry. He is a practicing rheumatologist in Detroit, nearing retirement. He married Lila's stepmother who teaches anatomy at Wayne State University. She has two younger half sisters who are engineers and her husband works in computer data analysis.

Lila attended a private girls' school in Manhattan, took piano lessons for 10 years and was in the school choir. She loved math, science, writing, poetry and art. Lila spent much time with her Spanish speaking paternal grandmother growing up, her primary caregiver. Lila translated for her grandmother in all commercial dealings. She transferred to a public Detroit middle school when her father remarried; Lila was a good student. She was on the 8th grade swim team and JV track team in 9th grade for 1 and 2 mile distances. She took 4 years of French language and earned AP credit for calculus and chemistry. She graduated in 1983 with strong grades and SAT scores. At this time, her father was her primary role model for a career. She enjoyed science and liked working with people and says, "Medicine was a longstanding interest and appealed to me for a number of reasons. Growing up, I saw firsthand the satisfaction that my father felt in his career as a physician. It is a noble profession, where every day a doctor can make a positive difference in the lives of his or her patients. And, it is a dynamic and challenging profession, as ongoing scientific research constantly reveals new insight into the workings and responses of the human body, and provides growing possibilities for treatment of disease. It seemed then, as it does now, like the best possible career choice for me."

Lila entered the University of Michigan, with classes topping 500 students. It was a hard adjustment away from home and the campus seemed impersonal. She turned to a social focus in her spring term that first year, had no advisor and lost confidence and motivation to stay premedical. Lila had not had to study much in high school due to being so bright, so did not have strong study skills her first year of college. In addition, some students sabotaged each other's lab projects, which was disheartening. By her second summer, she considered other careers, and selected an economics major because it applied math to an area of interest. She left science with a lack of confidence, and put all her energy into economics.

Lila says, "Economics proved to be an interesting field of study. I was particularly drawn to the subject of economic development in less developed countries, as well as international business and finance. I was excited by the idea of working where I might make a positive difference in the lives of individual people, as I had hoped to do in medicine. I graduated and after a few years of working in the insurance industry and as a research assistant for an economics professor, I entered the University of Michigan Business School for an MBA. I still lamented my movement away from health care, but knew that I was pursuing an interesting and valuable career nonetheless."

Upon graduation, Lila entered International Relations economics. She says, "Upon receiving my MBA, I moved to Washington, D.C. with the hope of working for a U.S. government agency involved in economic development. After several months of searching, I accepted a position at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as an international economist, and later as an insurance officer. OPIC is an agency that seeks to support economic development in less developed countries by encouraging U.S. private sector investment abroad. It is meant to complement more traditional and basic forms of foreign assistance such as food aid and subsidized government-to-government loans. It accomplishes its mission by encouraging for-profit companies to go to developing countries, to build power plants and water treatment facilities, to lay telephone infrastructure, and to train local workers in engineering and management. It does this in large part by mitigating the risks that U.S. companies perceive overseas, the risks that keep them from entering markets like Ecuador, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe. As an insurance officer at OPIC, I structured insurance policies that provided protection for the investments of U.S. companies against risks such as collapse of the currency, interference by local governments, terrorism and other forms of political violence. Today, while no longer in the government, I continue to do the same work at a private insurance company. It continues to be a challenging and interesting career. But, it continues to be second-best for me."

Lila's travel's have taken her to Brazil where she has learned some Portuguese, and to Argentina, Peru, Chile, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary, Israel, Turkey, China and Spain. She has learned to work in high power stakes situations with bankers, politicians and economists.

In 1998, Lila's husband developed a melanoma, which left them feeling vulnerable. She had a "nagging" feeling that she always wanted to be a doctor and says, "As the years have passed, I have been unable to forget my dream of becoming a physician. While I do believe that my current work benefits people in the developing countries where my clients invest, I have found that it is hard to feel that I am making a positive difference when I am working at such a macro level. While it is true that people need clean water, and electricity, and, at some level, telephones, brand new water treatment facilities and state of the art power plants are still a step removed from the people they serve. I am at my best when I can work directly with the people I am hoping to help. I have been described as compassionate, a good listener, and a good communicator, qualities that are invaluable in medicine. I still believe that a career in medicine would be the best use of my talents and skills and also the most satisfying career for me. " The impact on people that Lila had in her present job left her unfulfilled from lack of personal impact on individuals. Thus, in 1998, Lila returned to take the premedical courses while working fulltime in a demanding job, and last year added a daughter to the mix. She earned an almost perfect GPA. During this time, Lila says, "Before leaving OPIC, I led the insurance team responsible for all transactions in South America. I managed a portfolio of over $5 billion with four people directly reporting to me. Today, as an Assistant Vice President at Zurich Emerging Markets Solutions, I am required to work even more independently, and with much less oversight than while in government. My job continues to be to evaluate potential insurance risks in developing countries, and if I believe they are reasonable, enter into insurance policies on behalf of my company. Because of the large potential liabilities entailed, it is essential to my position that I have excellent judgment, and that I make solid, well reasoned decisions with imperfect information and on short time frames. In my position, I continue to hone my analytical skills, making assessments about economic and political risks in emerging markets on the basis of various forms of quantitative and qualitative data. I have further improved my communication skills by negotiating insurance policy terms and conditions with clients and drafting complex legal documents."

In my year working with Lila, I have gotten to know her attention to detail, her excellent writing skills, and her love of family. I have a photo of baby Clara in her file and on the card she sent me this week. Lila's international experience, her years of translating at the free clinic for uninsured and disadvantaged Hispanic people in Virginia, and her superb communication skills will provide a great platform for learning medicine. She is committed to serving the underserved and mature enough to make the difference for this population. She has seen suffering all over the world. This is her chance to make that personal impact she desires.

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

Jonathon will be speaking next week at San Diego State University, "Medical School, ADHD and Me". In a recent email to Dr. Lewis, he said, "Only thing is that I found you a bit late. (I sent Jonathon to be screened for ADHD) ...I didn't get diagnosed until 1997, 2nd semester of my 4th year. I wonder how things would have turned out if we'd met a bit earlier in my 8 yr SDSU career?"

Aviva Zohar, The Ben Gurion-Columbia University of the Negev
Columbia Winter 2004 Newsletter is on my desk, and the school brochure has a photo of my alumna, Aviva Zohar Fohrer standing in a tent city with 3 children. She is now married, just took USMLE part II, will enter residency, and "has an amazing big black dog named Dubi who is part dog and part anteater!"

Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to communicate about medical schools or other issues or to contact Lila, Jonathon or Aviva : imaclewis@lewisassoc.com



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

How do I select which School to Attend?

One of my class of 2004 Advisees who will need to select which school to attend next fall from several where she is accepted asked: "I want to have you give me some idea, prior to our meeting next week, about what criteria you give people to choose schools."

This student then quoted how decisions were made by several of her personal friends. One of them seems to be unhappy in his first year at medical school. He did not consult with me about his decision and we are guessing his decision was based on prestige, little daily lecture time, urban setting, geographic location ... He probably chose the wrong school for him. My Advisee said, "I don't want to make that mistake."

I first tell an applicantto make a list of the criteria that are personally important to YOU. I can give you some criteria that people use of course, but then YOU need to prioritize them. And, students find it is very helpful to discuss the prioritization with me as we sort through their rationale, and pros and cons which may strengthen or weaken their reasoning.

Some Obvious Criteria Include:
-- Curricular design and how that matches your learning style. I had one alumnus withdraw from a medical school that had much PBL focus because he needed the lecture format
-- Cost ... do not automatically draw the conclusion that private schools are more costly than public ones; many have significant in-house support and special programs to lessen costs
-- Urban vs suburban or rural setting
-- Large vs small class size
-- Support programs for ethnic and cultural minorities and married students
-- Academic support
-- Personal support, which includes everything from counseling to medical care to recreational facilities
-- Access to and support for doing research
-- Geographic area, climate, cultural setting
-- Hospital base, i.e. types and number of affiliated hospitals, with type of population served
-- Additional programs available e.g. MBA, MPH

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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