Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 3 Issue 3
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
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
=>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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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
Unite for Sight is a global humanitarian organization with several
international summer opportunities to medical and college students. Email
For an application and information
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
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
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
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 : email@example.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
-- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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or colleagues you feel would find its contents beneficial.