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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 3 Issue 5
May, 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: A Glimpse at the Future of DNA; Lung association ranks most polluted cities; Medicare Starts Web Site to Compare Drug Prices; Calif. Bill Would Ban Smoking in Car with Kids; One-Quarter of Poor NYC Toddlers Are Overweight

=> Useful Links: www.hungry-girl.com; www.mcatprofessor.com; Special Feature -- Live Well - Be Well ...how to address ANXIETY

=>Dates and Reminders: AMCAS Class 2005 Tentative 'live' date May 5! AACOMAS still listed as 'early May'

=>Success Story of the Month: Victor Bautista ---Optometry Student Entering Class 2003 --Focus on Optometry 2004

=> Question of the Month – 5 Medical School Admissions Mistakes

=> Our Services

=> Contact



Welcome to Lewis Associates!

May is the month when the application REALLY process begins. It is time for the Class of 2005 to be serious about writing drafts of your application essays, for applicants to establish your 15 (and more) post-secondary experiences, to gather letters of recommendation/evaluation, to get copies of transcripts from all schools for yourself -- ETC! A VERY busy time!

Keeping in contact with our alumni is one of the most fulfilling things that I do! On May 1st, our CUHRE student organization had their graduation dinner. We were honored to have Dr. Daniel Calac, Native American physician and alumnus from Dr. Lewis' HCOP program, and Dr. Jesus Valadez-Herrera, Mexican American physician from the Imperial Valley, and his wife speak. Dr.Valadez-Herrera is also one of Dr. Lewis' alumni ---all 3 physicians are graduates of Harvard Medical School. They have VERY interesting stories ... which will perhaps appear down the road in one of our Success Stories! Stay tuned.

For Class of 2005 applicants, you are now very behind if you have not established a well-thought out strategy to carry you through the difficult application process 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 now!!

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 your potential!

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 over almost 20 years.

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.

What's new at Lewis Associates? EVERYTHING!! Two new computers, a new printer, new cable modem high speed internet access, new web hosting... application class handouts are updated in their protected site on our website...and we are READY for this application season! Are you?

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 :
A Glimpse at the Future of DNA: M.D.'s Inside the Body (New York Times)
Scientists have developed what they say could become the world's smallest medical kit: a computer, made of DNA, that can diagnose disease and automatically dispense medicine to treat it. (Will have to register to view - Free) http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/29/science/29DNA.html

Lung association ranks most polluted cities (CNN)
Southern California tops the list of the nation's cities and counties most threatened by air pollution, according to the American Lung Association's annual report. http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/04/28/air.pollution/index.html

Medicare Starts Web Site to Compare Drug Prices (New York Times)
Medicare plans today to open a Web site designed to help millions of older Americans compare prices of their prescription drugs. The site is the first big-league test for DestinationRx, a little-known company that Medicare hired without competitive bidding to design and run the system. (Will have to register to view - Free)

NOW with Bill Moyers --PBS Airdate: Friday, April 30, 2004 at 9 p.m. on PBS
With the new Medicare drug card program set to begin next week, America's senior citizens may begin to collect on the Bush Administration's promise to provide them with a universal prescription drug benefit. The sweeping new Medicare law has the capacity to change the way Medicare is delivered to seniors and some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are crying foul, claiming it mainly lines the pockets of powerful drug companies while shortchanging many senior citizens.
Check local listings at http://www.pbs.org/now/sched.html

One-Quarter of Poor NYC Toddlers Are Overweight (Reuters)
Some 22 percent of 2- to 4-year olds participating in a New York City nutrition program are overweight, and another 18 percent are dangerously close to becoming so, new research shows.

California Bill Would Ban Smoking in Car with Kids (Reuters)
California could be on its way to becoming the first U.S. state to outlaw smoking in cars or trucks that have children inside.

L I N K S :

Sign up for your FREE daily email at www.hungry-girl.com
Dr. Lewis' older daughter has helped establish a new website with nutritional information that is for fun and is also very informative. inexpensive. Information and an application form:

A new moderate cost MCAT preparation online course: MCAT Professor. This is a new study guide launched in March 2004. They say, "Our MCAT editors are mostly grad students (A masters was the least we accepted most have PhDs). None are medical students; they are students of specific disciplines such as biology and physics, etc, have all taught MCAT courses privately or for established companies and come from a wide variety of schools, such as Oxford, Stanford, and the University of British Columbia. We break the topics down so people know what to work on and also offer a large tutorial section that covers all topics necessary to know in order to do well on the MCAT. This tutorial section alone took 5 months to develop. It is best to take a sample run of our site to understand some of the functions better. Please go to www.mcatprofessor.com scroll down on the right side. Under the topic of visitors you can click on Try our Sample MCAT Quiz Online. From here you can take a test drive."

Special Feature - Live Well - Be Well ... how to address ANXIETY program
Finding that Missing Peace ... by Anita Oldham, MA (Kaiser Permanente Positive Choice Wellness Center)

Balance between the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical aspects of ourselves is the "glue" that holds us together. Although we may face many challenges in life, we also have an innate drive to maintain a peaceful inner world. This drive for inner balance reminds us that we can over or under do, and that if the pendulum of our lives or habits swings too far to one side, it will inevitably swing to the other.

The road to inner peace is a solitary journey. We are responsible for creating a balanced life. We may spend many seasons being off-balance; knowing intuitively that something just isn't right, but lacking the trust, the tools, or the support to bring ourselves back to our center of balance. Negative thinking, fear, anger, resistance and avoidance act like quicksand; immobilizing our efforts. Desires, dreams, positive relationships and being connected are our lifelines back to peace.

We are not just the sum of our physical parts, but are connected as a whole in mind, body, emotions and spirit. When we experience pain or sickness in our physical bodies, western culture teaches us to look solely for physical causes; yet physical symptoms do have a connection to our perceptions, our emotions, our past experiences and our beliefs. Acute and even chronic physical and emotional conditions can be relieved or eliminated by working to achieve inner balance.

Achieving balance means finding that quiet place inside ourselves and paying attention to it. In this busy and demanding world, we may think that it is crazy or selfish to spend time and energy going inside ourselves to find balance. However, once we do find our center, we also find inner peace and the power to make a real difference in our lives, and consequently, the lives of others. This is hardly crazy or selfish. If we spend time being off balance, there are many tools that can help us reconnect. Meditation, self-hypnosis, massage, music and biofeedback are a few of the tools that have been successfully used by people ... to achieve inner balance.

Whatever method of relaxation that is chosen, it must start with a foundation of deep and measured breathing. Deep breathing helps to quiet the spirit. When practiced along with other centering activities, it becomes a physical cue triggering deeper relaxation. This is the first step in teaching ourselves to remain calm despite a hectic life. As we become more efficient in quieting our inner world, we will feel peace encompass our bodies, stabilize our emotions, and nurture our spirits. The more we practice and trust in ourselves, the easier it will become to achieve inner peace. Eventually, we will have the ability to be there all the time without consciously trying. This will become a healthier "normal" state!

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 has a tentative open date of "May 5", 2004 and you will be able to submit in "early June" 2004. You should use the Class 2005 instruction book, and 2004 worksheet NOW.

I advise printing out, then drafting the AMCAS worksheet now and emailing your drafted Lewis Associates experiences worksheet to Dr. Lewis. The AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, CASPA, VMCAS, PHARMCAS coursework sections can take several hours to input. We will continue to give updated information about applications.

You will need to print out a transcript request form from AMCAS. You can do this from last year's AMCAS 2004 for schools where you have completed your work. The first date that AMCAS will accept transcripts this year for Class of 2005 applicants is "May 5". You should be discussing your specific strategy for spring and summer course transcripts with Dr. Lewis. If you are in summer courses, you will likely send your summer transcripts directly to the medical schools since AMCAS will not make corrections based on transcripts after processing is complete.

Important for the 2005 AMCAS application:
1. The Web application will not display AMCAS grade and credit conversions until AMCAS has completed their verification process. You will want to estimate your AMCAS GPAs PRIOR to processing. I have posted the tool on my website http://www.lewisassoc.com/links.htm
2. Posted on my website are: the AMCAS 2005 instruction book, a verified AMCAS 2004 sample, AMCAS 2004 application worksheet, AMCAS 2004 tips. If you are a Class of 2005 applicant, READ these!!
3. Obtain copies of all OFFICIAL college transcripts NOW for yourself in preparation for completing the AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, CASPA, VMCAS, PHARMCAS.
4. You will need to pay electronically - prepare for this. $160 first school plus $30 school thereafter (AMCAS).
5. It will take several hours and sittings to complete any online application - plan ahead!
6. Common pitfalls:
- missed application deadlines
- typos and other errors in essay, experiences, etc
- failure to receive and respond to application notifications (get rid of filters or set up a - - separate email account for application) and check it daily
- course work 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

A Class 2005
The only news from AACOMAS is that they will be open 'early May'.



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

Victor Bautista -- Optometry Student Entering Class 2003-- Focus on Optometry!

Note: On April 2, 2004, Victor Bautista wrote: Dr. Lewis, "Hello from Berkeley!! I hope that you are doing well. It's been a while since we've communicated. I have to say that I am having a great time in optometry school. I am enjoying my time here, and as a result I am proud to say that I'm doing very well. I am really impressed with the program here at Berkeley, the faculty is wonderful and the student body is awesome. We are very supportive with each other and we have a great time. I remember you telling me that you frequently come up to the San Francisco area. It would be wonderful if we could have lunch together and catch up. I also wanted to express my gratitude for being so supportive and for guiding me in the right direction. Well, as always, I wish you the best. Cheers, Victor Bautista"
Read below to understand his motivation and Victor's "story".

Victor is a second generation Mexican-American. His parents both come from the state of Guerrero in Mexico. His father was raised in a "town" that consisted of three family farms, and he had the distinction of being the eldest of 10 siblings. Victor says, "They had to farm their own crops, milk their own cows, and raise their own chickens. My grandparents struggled tremendously to keep up with the household expenses. From a young age, my father and uncles had to work on the ranch and go to school. Unfortunately, school was not a priority; it was seen more as a luxury. The majority of my uncles and aunts with the exception of two, barely finished elementary school. My father was one those unfortunate ones. Being the oldest, my father had to work long, tiring hours on the ranch to maintain a comfortable life for his family. He and his brothers worked strenuous hours under the scalding sun, gathering food for all the farm animals, and harvesting fields of corn and vegetables. They would wake every morning about three o'clock to milk the cows and then run to the nearest town and sell the milk in a small mercado (farmers' market), their main source of income."

His father's life was hard manual labor, but family bonds are very close, and the family had fun together. As Victor says, "In the early 1940's and extended into the 1960's, a program between the Mexican and United States governments, named bracero or 'strong-armed ones', gave many families in Mexico and in the U.S. an opportunity to improve their quality of living. At the young age of 17 and having nothing to lose, my father came to the U.S. to work as a bracero. He worked on almost every type of farm, from picking apples in the Santa Rosa valley, California to planting grapes in the great Napa valley. This hard work earned my father enough money to support himself and send money to support his family in Mexico." Victor's mother grew up without a father. She met and married Victor's father in 1963 and they immigrated to California.

Victor is the youngest of 4 siblings, born in San Luis Obispo (where Dr. Lewis grew up!). Victor says, "Born into a family with traditional Mexican values helped shaped my values. Ever since I can remember, my parents have worked long tiring hours to offer us a comfortable life. I come from a low-income family where my parents have embarked on a family business of farming and selling their own crops. Like any other farming business we have struggled.

My parents have come a long way throughout my lifetime trying to grant us opportunities that they could only dream about." His parents speak Spanish at home; Victor is bilingual.

When Victor reached age 12, he was sent to live with his maternal grandmother for 2.5 years in Mexico. Here, he attended junior high ("secundaria"). He says, "At first, I didn't understand why my parents would send me away at a young age, but now I fully understand and I am grateful. It was 2.5 years of learning and growing. It granted me the opportunity to understand the values of my family, the nurturing of my grandmother and the values of the colorful, beautiful, romantic, mystical aspects of my Mexican culture. Here, I began to develop interests and dreams. Soccer, or futbol as we called it, ignited a passion. We would play soccer at school in competitions and recreationally and won many championship trophies; we were number one in our region and came in third place statewide."

Victor learned to play the guitar at age 13 and fell in love with Latin music. He says, "I learned the loving sound and melodic riffs that are unique to the guitar. I began playing at church, where I was already involved with fundraisers and activities. We formed an estudiantina (musical youth group). My involvement with such activities at a young age perpetuated my desire to play music."

Victor returned to his parents in California to enter high school in the small town of Arroyo Grande. It was here that Victor began to enjoy science and learning; education became important to him. And, he started to develop as a leader at his church youth group, organizing fundraisers such as barbeques, dances and musical events. However, money has always been an issue for Victor's family, so he began working 25 hours per week in high school. He says, "One of the worst feelings somebody may encounter is the feeling of uncertainty. How are we going to pay for our utility bills this month? What about our groceries? These are the typical questions my parents would ask themselves, at times. My parents and my older brothers had to work to meet our household expenses. As a young boy, I recall many times coming to the fields to help my parents. I have a long list of jobs under my belt. My very first job was working at the infamous McDonald's. Here, I acquired the humble ability of flipping burgers. So is the case with many things in my life, I strived to be the best burger flipper I could possibly be. In college, I went from flipping burgers to selling shoes, from telemarketing products to conducting interviews for social science research, from lawn mowing to teaching music theory to third graders." Victor was the Assistant Coordinator of the music department for the National City School District "after-school" program for 6 months. He says, "Working has taught me responsibility, dedication, and skill to communicate with people of diverse backgrounds." Victor worked in college up to 35 hours per week.

About 2.5 years ago, Victor's interest in the structure and function of the eye led him to a part-time job at Eye Exam of California. He began to understand that he could apply his interest in science to making peoples' lives better. He loves the fulfillment he received from touching people in this way. Victor was an Optical Specialist and passed the Assessment Board of Optometry Certification exam in November 2001.

At San Diego State University, Victor became a student leader. He established the "Club de Musica Latinoamericana" where he was event coordinator and treasurer, and joined the Pre-Optometry Club. However, he really developed as a leader in CUHRE, the organization that Dr. Lewis advises. Victor was Mentor Coordinator, an important leadership position where he selected, trained, and tracked all Mentors who provide personal support for younger and new members.

In Spring 2000, Victor withdrew from some courses due to the distraction of his father's cancer surgery. Thankfully, his father recovered fully. Then, Victor's father kidneys both failed, so he has required daily peritoneal dialysis. He is awaiting a kidney transplant, but doctors will delay surgery until his father is cancer-free. This dialysis and waiting are difficult for everyone.

In summary, Victor is bilingual and bicultural; a second-generation bracero and the first in his family to attend college. At Southwestern College, Victor worked more than studied and also put much time into his music. Upon transferring to San Diego State University, he worked less, but still a significant amount and carried the burden of his father's illness. I will leave you with Victor's words, "Now, at the age of 24, looking across the oceanfront, playing my guitar, I feel grateful for the fact that life has given me wonderful things. I have learned how to cope with barriers and how to learn from my mistakes. I have met extraordinary people who have inspired me to do my best. The ultimate destination of my life is plotted. Although it is uncertain what the future may hold, one thing is sure: with dedication, passion, and hard work, anything can be accomplished."

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



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

5 Medical School Admissions Mistakes

This is excerpted from a chat last year. We will address one question each month for the next 5 months during the application season.

What are 5 medical school admissions mistakes to avoid?

1. Assumption that "deadlines" are the appropriate time for submitting applications ... WRONG!
2. Assumption that "all is well" if you have not heard anything from AMCAS, other application services or a school
3. Assumption that the verbal reasoning part of the MCAT doesn't have anything to do with science, so it isn't important
4. Assumption that I have enough funds to complete the process, but run out in the middle of secondary applications
5. Assumption that people who said they would write letters on your behalf intend to send them in the next "few weeks"

1. Assumption that "deadlines" are the appropriate time for submitting applications ...WRONG! So, when should applicants submit their AMCAS, AACOMAS, PHARMCAS, CASPA, AADSAS and secondary applications?

If the April MCAT (or other tests (DAT, GRE, PCAT) are taken in the spring, I advise waiting to see your scores. For the MCAT, scores are generally available on the web about June 15th. You will then know if you need to mark the August MCAT box to retake the MCAT or retake the DAT or GRE test, and you will be able to select schools which match your academic credentials. If an earlier (prior August) MCAT or the application summer August MCAT is taken, you should submit your application as close to early June as possible. Remember, EARLY is very important, but an excellent essay and application are crucial - BOTH will affect your admissions outcome. Don't submit an application that has not been through many draft essays with feedback from someone who knows how an effective essay is structured.

We will feature an important question each month. Please submit one that interests you for Dr. Lewis to answer. Send your questions to imaclewis@lewisassoc.com

lewis associates advising services

Lewis Associates specializes in personal, effective and professional premedical advising and placement for traditional and non-traditional applicants. Often, non-traditional students are older than 21 years of age, career changers, international applicants or second-round applicants for admission to health professions school.

Lewis Associates' services meet the needs of all types of students from pre-applicants to applicants, including hourly advising support for specific needs. Click here.


"It's never too late to be who you might have been."

If this is how YOU feel, then, maybe Lewis Associates is the place for you. Lewis Associates provides Mentoring and Coaching through the rigorous and often circuitous pre-health preparation and application process. Other consultants may support programs like Law and Business or graduate school -- not Lewis Associates. We are the experts in Health Professions based on 23 years of a successful track record.

Call or email today to set your first appointment!

805.226.9669 imaclewis@lewisassoc.com

Copyright 2009, Lewis Associates. All rights reserved. Please do not repost on any website without direct permission from Lewis Associates.

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