Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 3 Issue 4
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
with your comments. Enjoy!
=> Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!
=> Important News: Definition of professionalism;
Federal funds event attacked; Drug Importation picks up support; Senate
OK's McClelllan; Obesity fight now personal; McClellan Agrees To Testify
on Prescription Drug reimportation; Caesarean refusal leads to murder
charge; New Stem Cells
=> Useful Links: AAMC Underrepresented in Medicine;
OAT; PCAT; Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses;
ADHD; Test Anxiety
=>Dates and Reminders: Special Feature - The MCAT
Dream; Class 2005
=>Success Story of the Month: Lisette Oei - Pharmacy
Student Entering Class 2003-- Focus on Pharmacy; Jonathon Bloom Update
=> Question of the Month I have multiple
acceptances - YAY!! My question is, "do I have to withdraw from
the ones where I will not attend?"?
=> Our Services
Welcome to Lewis Associates!
April is the month when April MCAT takers get nervous. It is time for
the Class of 2005 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,
to get copies of transcripts from all schools for yourself - 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 moved 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."
A Christmas card from Dr. Joseph Allen and his wife has a photo of their
3 kids. I attended Joe's wedding and reception in the 1990's and visited
him at St. George's University Medical School, getting to hold the "new"
baby who now seems to be about 8 years old. Joe is living his "dream",
practicing where he grew up. See our September 2002 newsletter Success
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! 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
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!
For Class of 2006 applicants, we have TIME ... a precious commodity.
Time to plan, to locate and use new opportunities, time to live up to
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 over 700 students for
the last 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
with your personal Assessment!
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. 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 : Professionalism
"In their efforts to define professionalism, many professional
medical societies have shared common themes. These include: Commitment
to exceed expectations, clinical competence, accountability, duty, altruism,
respect for others, honor, integrity, ability to effectively communicate
with the patient and commitment to self-improvement."
From the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Student Affairs
Reporter Winter 2004.
Federal Funds for event attacked (Washington Times)
Public health advocates rallied on Wednesday against President Bush's
plan to expand abstinence-only education, calling instead for teaching
youngsters about condoms and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
AMSA was a co-sponsor of the rally.
Drug Importation Picks Up Support (Washington Post - Have to
register to view, free.)
Proposals to allow Americans to buy low-cost prescription drugs from
other countries such as Canada picked up two new Senate supporters yesterday
and received a major boost from the seniors' group AARP.
Senate OKs McClellan as Medicare chief (Associated Press)
The Senate has approved Mark McClellan's nomination to head the Medicare
program, despite his rankling of many in Congress by opposing the importation
of prescription drugs.
American Obesity fight now personal for HHS chief (Washington
Post - Have to register to view, free.)
Realizing the department of health needs to be more fit in order to
be more credible, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson
has put his department and himself on a diet.
McClellan Agrees To Testify on Prescription Drug Reimportation
Before Senate Commerce Committee (Kaiser Network)
The FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, the nominee to serve as the new
CMS administrator, on Wednesday "bowed to demands" and agreed to testify
on Thursday before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
about his opposition to the re-importation of lower-cost, U.S.-manufactured
prescription drugs from other nations, USA Today reports.
Caesarean refusal leads to murder charge (CNN)
A pregnant woman who allegedly ignored medical warnings to have a Caesarean
section to save her twins was charged Thursday with murder after one
of the babies was stillborn.
Brand New Stem Cells (Newsweek)
Last week Harvard biologist Doug Melton announced the creation of 17
new lines of human embryonic stem cells. Scientists hope that these
developments will pressure the federal government into easing restrictions
on research into stem cells.
L I N KS :
Association of American Medical Colleges definition of "Underrepresented
in Medicine" as of November 2003: "Underrepresented in medicine
means those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented
in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population."
Optometry Assessment Test
There is a toll-free number for students: 800 232-2159
Pharmacy College Assessment Test
Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses
Center for Disability Issues and Health Professions at Western University
of the Health Sciences
Test anxiety ... a common problem
Test anxiety is a common problem ... and rears its head often among
those preparing for standardized exams like the MCAT or DAT or GRE.
In fact, there are many anxieties, including social anxiety disorder,
generalized anxiety disorder and phobias. I recently was referred to
a book by one of my collaborators that may change your life: The Anxiety
and Phobia Workbook, 3rd Edition by Edmund J. Bourne ($13.97). www.amazon.com
Chapter titles include: relaxation, coping with panic attacks, help
for phobias: imagery desensitization, 4 traits that perpetuate anxiety,
visualization, asserting yourself, self-esteem, medications, nutrition,
etc. I advise anyone feeling that anxieties may undermine your ability
to live up to your potential to use this tool. You will learn a lot
about yourself and may remove some roadblocks to becoming more successful
in your academic and personal life.
Another tool is the Learning Development Services in San Diego that
does diagnosis, assessment, counseling, consultation and coaching for
adults with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), 619 276-6912;
Posted: posted on my website in March 2004, Jonathon Bloomęs
power point presentation about his journey through ADHD to currently
being a 3rd year student at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.
His physical chemistry teacher emailed to me this week, "Cindy,
This is amazing. It is great that you could identify the source of his
problem. I taught Jonathon in P Chem - apparently, after he had received
your help. I remember him as being extremely smart and intense. And,
I can see now that focusing that energy must have been hard for him.
I'm glad to see he is doing so well."
d a t e s & r e m i n d
e r s
Special Feature -- MCAT Dream
In 1998, one of my advisees, now a 3rd year medical student, emailed
me the following dream about taking the MCAT:
I went to the MCAT center, however I realized I went to the wrong center.
I went to school X instead of Y. It didn't seem to matter, though. They
weren't checking IDs. I sat down at a long table where the chairs were
edge to edge. I had nowhere to put my elbows and the guy to the right
of me had his booklet covering part of mine. The proctor says, "Go",
but I didn't hear her because it was noisy in the room with people talking.
I finally open my booklet. It was written in! I get up, go to the front
of the room and request a booklet that was clean and more time because
of this problem. They told me just to sit down and take the exam. So,
I sit down and realize that the bum to my right had plenty of room,
so I ask him to move over. People are still stalking, and I realize
I don't have a pencil! The person to my left has several, so I snag
one. I begin the exam and the people working there go to the center
of the room and start repairing an engine of some sort. More noise.
At this point, I have had it. I get up and ask for a quieter place.
They take me to a small table where it seems promising. The proctors
start singing! I become very annoyed, so they tell me why don't I relax
and just do the writing section instead. Now I am sitting on a floor.
My essay topic is to write on some cartoon character I have never heard
of. I don't have a pen. I borrow one, but it writes with lines that
are a half-inch thick. The ink seeps through all the pages. I give up
and walk out. Somehow, I have lost my shoes and have no way home, so
I begin walking home. Meanwhile I have decided to call Dr. Lewis and
tell her to sign me up for a test prep course."
Just remember that this student lived through the MCAT and is IN medical
AMCAS Class 2005
For all Lewis Associates Advisees in the Applicant Class of 2005, please
read the VERY important January 20, January 29 and February 19, 2004
memos archived on our website with applicant handouts. You have very
explicit homework ....so, don't tell me "I didn't know!" ......
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 and are on my website
in the links section. Links
I advise printing out and drafting your AMCAS worksheet NOW.
The coursework section can take several hours to input. We will continue
to give updated information about this.
You will need to print out the transcript request form for schools
where you have completed your work from the 2004 AMCAS. You can also
do this from last year's AMCAS 2003. The first date that AMCAS will
accept transcripts this year for Class of 2005 applicants is "early
Posted on my website is the "MCAT essentials", which is the
instruction booklet. Links
Important for the 2005 AMCAS application: Links
1. The Web application will not display AMCAS grade and credit conversions
until AMCAS has completed the verification process. Many students may
want to estimate their AMCAS GPA's PRIOR to processing -- I have posted
this tool on my website. AMCAS will put it in AMCAS 2004.
2. Posted on my website are: the AMCAS 2004 instruction book, the AMCAS
2004 sample (verified), AMCAS 2004 application worksheet, AMCAS 2004
tips. If you are a Class of 2005 applicant, READ these!!
3. New allopathic schools in AMCAS include Brown, Columbia and NYU.
4. Obtain copies of all OFFICIAL college transcripts NOW for yourself
in preparation for completing the AMCAS.
5. You will need to pay electronically - prepare for this. $160 first
school plus $30 school thereafter.
6. Be aware of alternate ID and names on all your records that may confuse
7. As stated earlier, it WILL take several hours and sittings to complete
the online application - plan ahead!
8. Common pitfalls:
*missed application deadlines, typos and other errors in essay, experiences,
etc., failure to receive and respond to AMCAS notifications (get rid
of filters or set up a separate email account for AMCAS) and check it
*coursework errors - incorrect academic status, course classification
or missing coursework
*delayed processing due to missed transcript deadlines due to incomplete
or inaccurate, missing or unofficial transcripts
s u c c e s s s t o r i e s
Lisette Oei --- Pharmacy Student Entering Class
2003 -- Focus on Pharmacy
Note: Lisette began as a premedical student who, along the way,
became excited about the profession of pharmacy. Read below to understand
her motivation and Lisette's "story".
"Lisette wrote to me in October 2003 from Oregon State University
Pharmacy school, "How are you? Hope all is well. I'm sorry that
I haven't written for a long time. Everything is going well with me.
The third week into pharmacy school is nearing its end and I am already
overwhelmed with the amount of reading we got assigned. The homework
is not too challenging, but the volume of material that we have to read
is keeping my anxieties up. Nevertheless, I am truly enjoying this wonderful
opportunity of being a "pharmacist-in-training", or so they
call us!! and being able to make a difference in the expanding and changing
health care business. I just can't explain how exciting it is to learn
about the world of pharmacy, especially the myriad of medications and
their therapeutic effects on the body. Let's just hope this info will
stick in my brain. My class of 84 is great; many friendly people and
highly motivated students. Everybody is on top of it (homework, research,
reading). The professors and staff are excellent. They really are putting
their best efforts into making this education a valuable worthwhile
and fun experience! The transition period moving to Corvallis went smoothly,
most likely because I already have connections with friends through
church. They have been so helpful in guiding me and helping me feel
comfortable. I do miss my boyfriend a lot, but, so far, we've been able
to see each other every weekend. I do want to continue to keep in touch
with you and I will definitely update you from my end once in a while.
Take care and God bless."
Lisette was born in Delft, Holland and grew up there her first 15 years.
She moved to Oregon with her family. Her parents emigrated from Indonesia
to Holland when they were young. The family is Chinese-Indonesian and
Asian people are unusual in Holland. Lisette originally applied to medical
school and was waitlisted in 2002; she reconsidered her direction and
applied for pharmacy school for 2003. Here is Lisette's story about
her experiences applying to pharmacy school:
"As a Chinese-Indonesian, I was born and raised in The Netherlands.
I have become flexible from living in two countries and speak fluent
Dutch and English, while understanding and speaking some Indonesian
and German. My multicultural background facilitates my working with
people of diverse backgrounds. I became involved in the Indonesian church
as a Sunday school teacher, singer, and translator. As a volunteer tutor
in Explore Learning at Shaver Elementary School, I assisted children
with their homework in the English as Second Language program.
My interest in a health care career began during high school. I joined
student organizations, including the National Honor Society and Key
Club, where I learned that helping people in my community was fulfilling.
Volunteering with Loaves of Fishes led me to the rewarding sense of
helping the needy and I added clinical volunteer activities to better
understand what it means to be a health care provider. I was already
familiar with the Pharmacy career since my mother has been a Pharmacy
Assistant in The Netherlands. The valuable knowledge she gained from
work she applied in her daily life to keep our family healthy too. My
interest in Pharmacy grew along with my love for science.
In college, I began exploring the option of becoming a Pharmacist by
volunteering at the Inpatient Pharmacy Department at Oregon Health &
Sciences University. For the next three years, I gained clinical and
people experiences at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, City Bible Church,
Liberty Street Church Homeless Shelter, and the Neighborhood Health
Clinic. Working in my community has been fulfilling since I can help
people from many backgrounds and living circumstances.
I have taken leadership roles in different organizations, including
Golden Key International Honour Society, Portland Pre-Health Society,
Vietnamese Student Organization, and the Indonesian Student Organization.
Working to educate my peers about opportunities to help them become
competitive for health professions schools motivated me to become Co-President
of the Portland Pre-Health Society that consists of 200+ members. As
a group, we created a health care professional-student network to develop
mentorships and saw increased participation in our events such as pre-health
meetings at local clinics and shadowing opportunities as a result.
My interest in science led me to do clinical research to better understand
the human body and how research works. My research abstract was accepted
by the American College of Cardiology for publication and I got the
opportunity to give a poster presentation at the American College of
Cardiology 51st Annual Scientific Session in Atlanta, Georgia
I obtained great experiences as a Certified Pharmacy Technician at the
Inpatient Pharmacy Department at Oregon Health & Sciences University.
From working closely with Pharmacists the past three years, I have learned
that they make important impacts in peoples' lives by providing pertinent
information about drugs that can relieve symptoms and address the causes
of illnesses. I have gained valuable information about the types of
drugs available and the description of how to take common medications.
The Pharmacists I work with communicate with other health professionals
regarding drugs used for procedures such as chemotherapy, baby deliveries,
and bone marrow transplants. From these conversations, I have become
curious to learn more about the use of medications in patient care.
Pharmacists also broaden their knowledge with new drug information and
integrate it into their practice to provide more effective patient care.
This intrigues me about Pharmacy."
Update on Jonathon Bloom, graduating Class of 2005, U Pittsburgh
Medical School (see Success Story, December 2001). Jonathon spoke
last 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 didn't get diagnosed until 1997,
which puts it at 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?"
Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to communicate about medical schools
or other issues or to contact Lisette or Jonathon: email@example.com
q u e s t i o n o f t h e m o n t h
I have multiple acceptances - YAY!!! My question is, "do
I have to withdraw from the ones where I will not attend?"
The answer is a succinct "YES". However, the timing of your
withdrawal is based on when schools may require a payment from you,
the timing of your acceptance at school and other factors. For allopathic
medical schools, the rule is clear. May 15th is the magic date that
you are supposed to have withdrawn from all but one medical program.
For dental, Osteopathic, veterinary, etc., programs, you need to be
aware of school policies, but ALWAYS withdraw in writing. This is the
appropriate and professional way to treat the schools.
Recently, a Medical School Director of Admissions wrote to me: "Student
A was not happy with the way she perceived she had been treated--being
placed on 'hold' for so long. She was offered an opportunity a couple
of weeks ago to move off hold by taking a seat in our new campus or
move to the old campus program wait-list. The move to the wait-list
was automatic for those students not indicating a interest in taking
a seat in the new campus. She said that she understood that by not responding
that meant that we would see that as a withdrawal. That she was the
only one 'confused' with the instructions probably only means that she
was angry because of the way she felt she had been treated."
This interaction serves to underscore that fact that the application
process is LONG, it is RIGOROUS and it is UNPREDICTABLE. It is crucial
to have someone help you who knows how to deal with all situations.
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.