Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 3 Issue 6
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
with your comments. Enjoy!
=> Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!
=> Important News: More Kids Major in Going Slow;
AMCAS went LIVE; Medical students to begin taking clinical skills test;
Medicare Unveils Drug-Discount Card; Patients asked to tell doctor their
problems in under a minute; Getting drugs without the doctor; In Oregon,
Choosing Death Over Suffering; Study shows mental disorders prevalent
in 14 countries
=> Useful Links: The effect of extra time for the
MCAT exam; AADSAS 2005; The GRE
=>Dates and Reminder: Schools added to AMCAS 2005;
What's Osteopathy anyway?
=>Success Story of the Month: Jackie Sztain---
California Horsey Premedical Student Entering Class 2004
=> 2 Questions for this Month 1. What are
5 medical school admissions mistakes to avoid? -- Assumption that "all
is well" if you have not heard anything from AMCAS, other application
services or a school...WRONG! 2. Can someone with a past "problem"
like alcoholism become a competitive applicant??
=> Our Services
Welcome to Lewis Associates!
June is the month when the applications can be submitted. It is time
for the Class of 2005 to be serious about getting your application essays
in top shape to press that "SUBMIT" button, 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! In mid-May, I was privileged to attend the graduation of
Anna and Brandon Miller, a husband and wife couple whom I advised for
many years. They were both commissioned into the US Navy upon graduation
from the University of Health Sciences, whose name changes effective
July 1 to Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. The Millers
have VERY interesting storiessee October (Here)
and November 2002 (Here)
Success Stories and the article written by the Millers (Here)
And, they have a new baby. The privilege of my Advisees sharing their
lives with me is very fulfilling. I even sat next to Brandon's Dad who
was teary eyed through much of the ceremony. And, I also was honored
to have dinner with Amy Elmore, her husband and son, a second year Alumna
attending UHS. Tomorrow, I fly to Arizona to attend the medical school
graduation of yet another of my Alumni.
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
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
n e w s & l i n k s
N E W S : Class 2004 Update
Our Class of 2004 Progress Report is posted in our website Class
of 2004 Progress Report
"More Kids major in going slow" from Newsweek (5/31/04
says a new study indicates that the average time to graduated
is 5 years (something Dr. Lewis has said for the past 15 years!). At
UCLA only 42% graduate in 4 years! Reasons include fewer courses available
(budget cuts), thus not getting all the courses needed "on time",
change of major, earning multiple degrees, and working part to full
AMCAS is LIVE June 2004
Medical students to begin taking clinical skills test (American
Medicare Unveils Drug-Discount Card Program (Yahoo! News)
June 1 is the day the new Medicare-approved drug-discount card program
takes effect. But so far seniors haven't rushed to sign up.
Patients asked to tell doctor their problems in under a minute
(New York Times)
Researchers have linked poor doctor-patient communication to misdiagnoses,
the ordering of unnecessary tests, and the failure of patients to follow
(You will have to register to view --free)
Getting drugs without the doctor (Wall Street Journal)
Subscription required. Handing out prescriptions used to be reserved
for doctors, but a growing number of states are allowing other healthcare
providers, such as pharmacists, certified midwives, and naturopaths,
to prescribe drugs to patients.
(You will have to register to view --free)
In Oregon, Choosing Death Over Suffering (New York Times)
Oregon's law allows adults with terminal diseases who are likely to
die within six months to obtain lethal doses of drugs from their doctors.
Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
upheld Oregon's law, ruling that Attorney General John Ashcroft had
overstepped his authority in trying to punish doctors who prescribed
suicide drugs under the law.
(You will have to register to view --free)
Study shows mental disorders prevalent in 14 countries (CNN)
Mental illnesses including anxiety disorders and depression are common
and under-treated in many developed and developing countries, with the
highest rate found in the United States, according to a study of 14
L I N KS: The effect of extra time for the MCAT exam
Scott Oppler at American Institutes for Research and others
just prepared this paper on the effect of extra time for the MCAT exam.
Some students had great improvements with extra time, even with English
as a first language. It is certainly possible that more than English
as a second language students are screened out by the MCAT test. Science
scores for the MCAT are up nearly 1 point in a decade with relatively
flat verbal scores. A few tenths of a point increase for both science
and verbal components may be a result of fewer numbers taking the test,
but overall this combination suggests that test taking ability in sciences
is improving without much change in comprehension - a more difficult
area to improve in the short term. The students doing MCAT prep may
also be the ones in least need of it. (Dr. Robert Bowman)
Others such as primary care physicians may also be the ones that are
ADEA announces AADSAS 2005 is Launched
The application service sponsored by the American Dental Education
Association, was successfully launched Tuesday, May 18. In the first
week of operations, over 2,500 individuals initiated their web-based
applications, and more than 150 submitted completed applications to
AADSAS. They began processing applications at the end of May, and will
initiate delivery of applications to dental schools starting June 10.
The 2005 InfoSource website, where applicants can monitor application
status, is scheduled to start operation at June 10.
For a description of the general GRE
For the subject tests,
It is recommended that pre-vets that they prepare for the Verbal test
with a course in the Greek and Latin roots of the English language.
Going to medical/veterinary school is like learning a foreign language!
d a t e s & r e m i n d
e r s
AMCAS 2005 Schools Added
The following medical schools have been added to the list of schools
using AMCAS as the primary application for the 2005 application year:
Brown, Columbia, New York University .
What's Osteopathy anyway?
From Growing Pains, The New Physician 4/04 by Jennifer Zeigler
Founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in 1874, Osteopathic Medicine touts
a "whole person" approach to medical treatment. D.O.s look
at the entire body instead of just certain symptoms, paying special
attention to the musculoskeletal system. Some D.O.s say that unless
you look at their nametags for the letters after their names, youd
be hard pressed to pick them out of a crowd of physicians, but this
makes sense to Cathy Sims-O'Neil, a 3rd year at the U of New England
COM. "Dr. Still ... never intended to create a separate profession.
He was an M.D. and was trying to extend the skills of the M.D., reflecting
the path of the physician as it had once been practiced," she says.
But D.O.s do learn, and many use in practice a unique hands-on technique
called Osteopathic Manipulative treatment (OMT) . Osteopathy teaches
that the body's systems work together and disturbances to one may impact
function elsewhere, so D.O.s use OMT to diagnose and treat, but also
prevent illness or injury. "Still said the goal of the profession
is to find healthy; anyone can find disease," say Dr. David Russo,
a physical medicine and rehabilitation resident at the Mayo Clinic in
s u c c e s s s t o r i e s
Jackie Sztain --- California Horsey Premedical Student Entering
Note: On March 14, 2004, Jackie wrote: Dr. Lewis,
"I just found out that I got into UCLA (my first choice) and I
need to write them a letter of acceptance. How long does this letter
have to be? Aside from my gratitude for the acceptance what else do
I need to include, if anything? I really want to go to UCLA, my only
problem is because of their recent body parts scandal I heard that their
anatomy course may be all computerized. As a result I don't how this
will affect my future. So my question is should I still write letters
to Duke and Univ. of Penn, or should I wait and see what happens? Thank
you for your help." Jackie
Of course, I answered Jackie's questions. But, can you
see how complex the application process can beeven when you interview
at 11 schools and are accepted to your top choice school (Jackie is
accepted to 5 schools, waitlisted at 3).
Read below for Jackie's "Story".
I rarely reprint an AMCAS essay, because each is so
different. However, this is Jackie's. Her GPA-MCAT score profile are
very strong also.
" Go big or go home!" I whispered to myself under my breath
as thousands of eyes peered down at Grandpa and me. Taking a deep breath,
I nodded at the judges, and began my routine. After two hours of scrutinizing
my competitors, I was thrilled to hear the announcement naming the 1998
Quarter Horse Youth Western Riding world champion: Jacklynn Sztain.
My experiences training, competing and caring for horses inspired me
to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. I entered UC Davis majoring
in animal science, but my extensive childhood contact with ophthalmologists
- due to blindness in my right eye - kept a career in medicine in the
back of my mind. The real decision to pursue pre-med studies came during
my second year at UC Davis, when my mother became chronically ill.
I transferred to UC San Diego to help my family, finding
the change difficult both emotionally and physically. I was faced with
the challenge of finding a balance between helping my mother with her
treatment and attending school and maintaining my GPA. I was exhausted
but I managed to organize my class schedule around the times of day
my mother needed me.
The cause of my mother's illness was an ovarian tumor. The news left
me shocked and horrified, but I had to set my fears aside and stay strong
for both my mother and my family. As the physician explained the procedure
my mother would undergo, I was impressed not only by his wealth of knowledge,
but also by his display of compassion. The kindness and concern of all
of the physicians involved convinced me that medicine was the right
field for me, and I began to change my direction in school.
My mother was unable to work during her illness, which forced me to
find a job to support my education. I worked as a lab assistant, studying
plant genetics, and then earned a position as a teaching assistant for
Dr. Paul Price. My teacher-student relationships provided valuable insight
into doctor-patient relationships, since both professions require the
ability to communicate complicated material in a simplified manner.
My interest in medicine also motivated me to seek a position in Dr.
Price's lab, where I studied bone and soft-tissue calcification. My
successes and failures in the lab showed me the importance of integrating
foresight and classroom knowledge when designing protocols. I enjoy
being an integral member of the research team, but research lacks the
opportunity for me to observe the impact of my work on patients.
Volunteering in the ER at Scripps Memorial Hospital
fulfilled my desire for direct patient interaction and allowed me to
observe how research is applied in a clinical environment. Shadowing
Dr. Graham Woolf, a gastroenterologist, reaffirmed my decision to become
a physician. His self-confidence when banding esophageal varices, his
stamina during hospital rounds, and his warmth when welcoming a new
patient impressed me so much that I knew this was the career for me.
I realized how much I wanted to have an impact on people's lives, whether
it be by making a terminally-ill woman more comfortable or telling a
25 year old man to eat more healthily.
In addition to my clinical experience, I also found a way to marry my
love of horses with my desire to help others and incorporate my own
experience with a disability through the Helen Woodward Equine therapy
Program. Each week at equine therapy, I assist in the therapy of individuals
with medical conditions ranging from cerebral palsy to ADHD. Working
with the same individuals each week has allowed me to witness their
progress both mentally and physically. The relationship I have formed
with 6-year old Jason, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has been particularly
rewarding. When Jason started equine therapy, he was shy and did not
speak, which made forming a connection with him incredibly difficult.
Prior to each lesson, I would bring Mammoth over to Jason's wheelchair.
At first, Jason would shyly turn his head away, but one day to my surprise,
he reached for Mammoth's nose, smiled and said, "Mammoth."
Shortly thereafter, Jason began to speak in short sentences, and Jason's
mother told me that all he ever talks about at home is his experience
at equine therapy. Not only have Jason's spirits been lifted, but he
is continually getting stronger, finally able to support his own body
weight for short period without assistance. I realize that Jason will
never have a normal life, but I feel fortunate to know him and to have
taken part in enhancing his life.
From winning the world championships in riding to my
interaction with the medical community and patients, I have realized
that dedication, sacrifice, knowledge and compassion are not only integral
characteristics in life, but also in a physician. My experiences have
strengthened my desire to become a physician and to enhance people's
lives, as my mother's physicians have, as Dr. Woolf does for his patients,
and as I did for Jason.
Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to communicate about medical schools
or other issues or to contact Jackie: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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"
2. Assumption that "all is well" if you have not heard anything from
AMCAS, other application services or a school ... WRONG!
Every year, I have students who have not heard from the application
service or school and assume "all is well", only to learn
a month or two later that a college transcript never arrived or that
a secondary was sent but their email server blocked the email as spam
from the school. What is the outcome? A much delayed application process!!
And, sometimes, being later in the process can jeopardize your chances
for acceptance! Pick up the phone or email ...take the initiative to
communicate with the very important people at the application service
and schools of interest to you. It is ONLY your future!!
Can someone with a past "problem" like alcoholism become a
If a student has overcome this disease (or other equally difficult problems)
and has suitable academic abilities and interpersonal skills, s/he may
be a great candidate. However, the difficulties of documenting a change
from the past are daunting. Even getting an interview may indeed be
a challenge. I doubt that trying to ignore the past out will help, since
s/he might face more difficulties if this surfaces later. If s/he has
good interviewing skills, personal development and maturity, and is
willing to go for the long process if needed .......The process needed
may be "getting to be a known entity" by significant folks at a medical
school. This is also like international medical graduates who attempt
to land residencies in the US and work with folks in the states who
can give them the right recommendations. A work history, graduate courses,
fellowship work ...There will still be questions regarding what the
increased stress of medical school might do. Only a solid track record
in the personal and academic category over a few years can help in this
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.