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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 3 Issue 6
June, 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: 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

=> Contact



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 stories€see 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 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. 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 imaclewis@lewisassoc.com 805-226-9669.



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 Pat Wingert)
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 time.

AMCAS is LIVE June 2004

Medical students to begin taking clinical skills test (American Medical News)

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 treatment plans.
(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.
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB108604654386225299,00.html?mod=health%5Fh ome%5Fstories
(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 countries.

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 screened out.

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, youd 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 Minnesota.



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

Jackie Sztain --- California Horsey Premedical Student Entering Class 2004

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 be€even 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: 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"

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 competitive applicant?

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 area.

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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