Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 1 Issue 10
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
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:
=> 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
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
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
As my professor notes, "It's much harder to teach social skills
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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 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.