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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 1 Issue 10
August, 2002

Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
Email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com with your comments. Enjoy!

=> Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!

=> Important News and Useful Links - Women's Health in the U.S.

=> Dates and Reminders - Applicant Interviews: Thinking Ahead

=> Important People, Schools and Programs - Thirty something Meets ER - Midlife Med Students

=> Success Story of the Month - Cindy Huang, UCLA graduate and post-baccalaureate student off the waitlist!

=> Question of the Month - How do you advise applicants to best use the experience sections on the AMCAS application?

=> Focus on a Health Profession - AIDS from the Human Perspective and an Original Poem, "The Invitation" by a Native American Elder

=> Our Services

=> Contact



Welcome to Lewis Associates!

Hope some of you have a vacation break this summer. It is just as important to take care of your personal physical, mental, emotional and some would say spiritual health as it is to choose the "correct" classes at the right time and study for tests appropriately. So, make sure you are healthy this summer!

Congratulations to the Class of 2001 advised by Dr. Lewis -- 94% acceptance for our prehealth applicants all over the U.S.! See our website, http://www.lewisassoc.com/, for the Class of 2002 Progress Report; we also have Canadian acceptances.

August "Application Season" is in progress, with many Lewis Associates Entering Class of 2003 applicants receiving secondary applications and submitting them in a timely fashion. This is the most important and exciting year of your life! Application submission, Letters of Recommendation collection, selection of appropriate schools and secondaries - timing and quality of application account for 99% of an applicant's chances.

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 can implement strategies that will change your life. Read about it in our newsletter and website, then phone or email us directly to get started!

Developing YOU to your potential is our goal, and people are our "most important product". Dr. Cynthia Lewis has been advising Pre-health students with an overall acceptance rate of 85% since 1985. Lewis Associates was launched in 1998 to provide long term, personalized advising services to students across North America, specializing in Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Dentistry, Physician Assistant, and Veterinary Medicine. Our success is real. You may be like our Advisees: highly motivated and intelligent, but needing focus, guidance and specific technical expertise. Dr. Lewis is a trained biologist, having taught and directed her own research programs for many years at two universities. She received 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.



n e w s & l i n k s

N E W S :

New Survey on Women's Health in the U.S.

A new national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds most women report generally positive experiences with the health care system, but a sizable share faced problems. A significant minority of non-elderly women reported delaying or going without care in the past year or not filling a prescription due to costs. Women are more likely than men both to face these problems and express concerns about the quality of health care they received.

"Women's Health in the United States: Health Coverage and Access to Care" presents the findings from a nationally representative survey of nearly 4,000 women ages 18 to 64. A smaller survey of 700 men was conducted for comparison.

L I N K S : Useful Link of the Month

A searchable database was recently added to the Student Hub of the Association of American Medical Colleges to assist students in identifying financial aid forms required by each US medical school.



d a t e s

Applicant Interviews - Thinking Ahead from a Director of Admissions at an Allopathic Medical School

About medical school applicants not showing up for scheduled interviews: "The vast majority of our applicants are conscientious and responsible about canceling or rescheduling their interviews, but there is always a group that just doesn't show up. Like many other medical schools, we have a finite number of interview positions, which is considerably smaller than the number of well-qualified applicants we receive. Each time an applicant is a "no show", they deprive another well-qualified applicant of the opportunity to interview.

I heartily second the hope that applicants will be coached on this very important aspect of personal responsibility. With the emphasis on professionalism in the new medical school Dean's Letters, our Committee will be focusing even more on the professionalism of our applicants. An applicant who schedules and confirms his or her interview date and then doesn't bother showing up, has already demonstrated unprofessional behavior."



p e o p l e & s c h o o l s

Thirtysomething Meets ER - Midlife Med Students

Most students choose a medical school for its prestige or price tag. I chose one where I wouldn't be the only student born before 1970. Two years ago, at 32, I traded in my Hollywood executive's black blazer for blue hospital scrubs at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Thirty-two may seem young, but in medical education, which can last more than a decade, it's often considered over the hill.

That attitude is changing. Last year, for the first time, U.S. med-school applicants ages 24 and older outnumbered those who applied at the traditional ages of 21 to 23. The older students aren't just kids who take a year or two off after college; a growing number are folks like me who pursued another career before deciding to become a doctor. My classmates are as old as 46 and include a former actress, a bond trader, an engineer, a lawyer, the manager of an auto-parts store, a single mom and a tax expert for the U.S. Treasury. Stanford's med school welcomed us because it - along with Northwestern, Yale and the UC San Francisco, among others--believes real-world experience helps make better doctors.

Yet even at Stanford, a divide existed between Us - peppered among the student body like beneficiaries of some geezer affirmative-action program - and Them - 22 year old biochemistry majors. At orientation, one young classmate told me, "Wow, by the time you start practicing, you'll be almost menopausal!"

After that, I made an effort to assimilate. I traded dresses with a 23-year old before the school's formal dance. I wrote our anatomy group's freshman skit. I kept up with the who's dating whom gossip. I even went to a few keg parties. Still, we career switchers didn't quite fit in. We had outgrown our college-age antics. Instead of joining our younger classmates for late-Thursday bar nights, we opted for a sedate viewing of ER before bed. We replaced their mantra, "Highest score rocks." With our own: "Lowest pass wins." We worked hard, but opted for some balance in our lives.

Great for us, but what about our future patients? As part of our final exam in the "Patient-Doctor" course, each student took down a patient's medical history. My professor observed that I was the only student in her group who first bothered to introduce myself to the patient. I was also the only second-career student.

Coincidence? She didn't think so. One younger student, she said, had dutifully memorized the 10 nonverbal communication skills" from our handout (vary your gaze, lean toward the patient, nod frequently, use hand gestures) and performed them all in rote sequence, prompting her concerned patient to ask, "Are you OK, honey?" Another younger student, in a rush to get his patient's sexual history, asked her bluntly, "Do you have sex with men, women or both?" the grandmother of three, recovering from a heart condition, stared back dumbfounded.

As my professor notes, "It's much harder to teach social skills than science."

By Lori Gottlieb, from Time 4/9/01



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

C I N D Y   H U A N G : UCLA Graduate and Post-baccalaureate Student - Off the Waitlist!

July 28, 2002

"Hi Dr. Lewis,

I have some great news to share. I got accepted at U Vermont! My parents and I went to Vermont this past week, and looked for housing in case I was accepted at the last minute. When I got back, the Dean of Admissions called and offered me a seat. I'm so excited! My parents and I are moving to Burlington. School starts on Aug 12. Thank you so much for everything you've done.


Here is Cindy's story:

Cindy was born and raised until age 12 in Taiwan. Her mother was an accountant in Taiwan and is now a housewife; her father is a banker and economist for the International Commercial Bank of China, now living in Panama for 9 months each year. She is an only child. Cindy's maternal grandfather was a doctor who practiced in Taiwan and in Japan.

In 1989, her family immigrated to Southern California where she first learned to speak English. Mandarin Chinese is her first language and she knows Taiwanese and has learned some Spanish. She has traveled to Canada, Japan, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Columbia and Panama where her father used to reside. Cindy thinks in Mandarin Chinese and in English.

Cindy attended a strong private elementary school in Taiwan, and enjoyed learning the sciences. Upon immigrating to California, Cindy enjoyed math and science and was accepted into the California Honor Society in her public junior high school. She graduated with Presidential Honors and as the outstanding math student.

About age 6, Cindy began taking piano lessons and at age 7, violin lessons. She continued with lessons through high school where she played first violin in the school orchestra. She competed at the state level in advanced piano and violin theory and in performance, and performed in many Honors recitals; she attended music camp each summer. In high school, Cindy's orchestra performed in community concerts and at venues including Disneyland. She especially enjoys classical and contemporary music. Cindy took about two years of ballet lessons, learned Taiwanese traditional dance, and took tennis and golf lessons for "fun."

In high school, Cindy took honors and AP classes, was in the math club and took English Composition and general chemistry I in community college while still in high school. She graduated with a 3.8 GPA in 1996 and in winter 1996, entered the UC Los Angeles Extension program, which runs small classes with up to 30 students, mostly older adults. In the spring, she registered as a regular UCLA student and declared a chemistry major.

In her senior year of high school, Cindy was a teaching assistant for a Chinese language class in a Chinese school. In a community services club, which provided social support in convalescent homes, she was an officer for two years. She volunteered for three years in a hospital, cooking, taking food to patients and doing clerical work in the laboratory. During college, she volunteered at the UCLA Medical Center for one and one half years as a patient escort all over the hospital.

Cindy entered two research programs and continued to work in a diabetes laboratory for a year. Her first laboratory position was to measure electrical activity via CT brain scans comparing normal people with those having bipolar disease. In her second position Cindy learned to do DNA sequencing. This led to a second year of research in her third lab where Cindy co-authored a paper, "Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction reveals muscarinic acetylcholine receptor in the pre-Botzinger complex."

Why medicine? Since Cindy was a child, she was interested in science. As a college student and adult, Cindy has matured into understanding that medicine can help some conditions, but not all, and is focused on working with immigrant populations. She identifies with different cultural perspectives and is sensitive to the patient being "consulted" rather than having care dictated. Cindy had three close physician mentoring experiences, which have developed her passion for practicing medicine.

Cindy comes from an immigrant family, is multilingual, learning Spanish because her father works in Panama and also because she wishes to work with Mexican Americans and other Hispanic people. Her early interest in science led her to complete a rigorous chemistry major at a competitive university. She enjoys intellectual challenge and has observed and assisted in a variety of patient settings with several physicians. She earned a 4.0 GPA GPA in 29 post-bac units including anatomy, Spanish, psychology, astronomy and community health, which broadened her world outside chemistry.



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

How do you advise applicants to best use of the experience sections on the AMCAS application?

Before the 2002 AMCAS, there were only about 10 lines total to input all honors, jobs, clinical, research and community service experiences -- wow, not much! We were using abbreviations and summarizing like mad. In 2002 AMCAS went 180 degrees the other way -- they allowed unlimited numbers of experiences, each classified into one of 13 categories, as to honors, paid employment, research, etc. Some of my Advisees had up to 15 pages just of experiences, especially non-traditional older applicants.

Guess what the medical schools did?

They did NOT read all the experiences and rebelled, lobbying AMCAS to limit the number of experiences this year to 15. That means you must group and prioritize your experiences accordingly. Also, it means that after you select your most important activities (1 or 2 or 3 at most) to discuss in your personal statement, you should use the Experiences section to develop all the other important items you wish Admissions Committees to know about you.

In other words, use your space wisely -- don't waste any of it!

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



h e a l t h p r o f e s s i o n

AIDS from the Human Perspective

An Original Poem, "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder

From Eva Correa, one of my Advisees who is attending the UC Irvine First Time Post-baccalaureate Program

"I recently went to an intense training to be a camp counselor for kids with HIV/AIDS. I wanted to share a little of my experience with all of you. Although, the camp is not until Aug. 4 through the 10th, I was deeply touched and inspired by a lot of the people that were there. We were all there for the same purpose to form a bond and create a safe, nonjudgmental, and fun environment for kids that may have not ever known what that is like. Some of the volunteers were there motivated because they themselves had AIDS, others had lost loved ones to AIDS, and some were just doing it from the goodness of their heart.

I curiously spoke with one of the head staff members, who was battling with AIDS, and was humbled by his strength and willingness to live. He explained how one prescription med is not helpful that he has to take the right combination of pills to attack the virus at different sites. This combination is called "the cocktail." Each individual is different and although these drugs may alleviate the symptoms some the side effects could be just as terrible as the symptoms themselves. He emphasized that is why it is so important to find the right amount and the right combination. I don't know about you but I have a hard time remembering to take my multi-vitamin. I am in awe by human resiliency.

Here is a poem that was read to us by a Native-American who has survived AIDS for seven years. I hope you find it as inspiring as I did.

Love, Eva"

"The Invitation"
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you'll risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have you become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy -- mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your finger and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you're telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself, if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon.

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me, who you are or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the middle of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

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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