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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 2 Issue 8
August, 2003

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

=> Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!

=> Important News: Supreme Court Decision, Virtual Medical School, Interview Funding for Disadvantaged

=> Useful Links: IRTA at NIH, Rural Medicine Site

=>Dates and Reminders: AMCAS secondaries, VCAT Out/GRE In, Osteopathic Medicine Outside the US, Osteopathic Physician Communication

=> Success Story of the Month: International Medical Program Leads to Top Choice Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at University Hospital of Cleveland

=> Question of the Month – "What Can go Wrong in My Application Process?"

=> Our Services

=> Contact



Welcome to Lewis Associates!

Many of you are in the middle of the Class of 2004 application season. Requests for secondary/supplemental applications are arriving daily and our very first request for interview—at Vanderbilt University Medical School came 2 days ago from one of our Class 2004 applicants who submitted his application on June 22nd! Interestingly, Vanderbilt now screens for interview first, then required the secondary application be submitted by the time of interview, the reverse of the more typical medical school application process.

You may be doing research at NIH (one of my Advisees is) or in other prestigious programs, completing coursework, studying for the DAT or GRE or 8/03 MCAT or traveling or working to earn the funds to pay for application. If you are ready to really become serious about making your dreams to become a physician, dentist PA, veterinarian, optometrist a reality --- Lewis Associates can help you. We have made the difference for hundreds of students over 18 years. Here is an email quote from a Class of 2003 Lewis Advisee who was accepted to her first choice school:

Michelle Voigt, UC Santa Barbara graduate: Hello to you both (meaning Alice in our office who helps so many students)! Yes, its true...I am so thrilled! I loved X and I'm still in shock that I'm actually accepted to their school. Thank you, thank you, thank you both. I know that I would not have had the same opportunities if I had not worked with Lewis Associates. Wonderful!

For Entering Class of 2004 students, this is your application year. I hope you survived the April 03 MCAT... if not, you should develop a very effective strategy to use the August MCAT to your benefit and get your application submitted soon! You need to establish a well-thought out strategy to carry you through the difficult times 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.

Congratulations to the entering Class of 2003 advised by Dr. Lewis –100% of all applicants this year are accepted with one in the University of Hawaii Post-Bac program which is affiliated with their medical school.
See the Class of 2002 Final Report and the Class of 2003 Final Report

A class of 2004 applicant emailed to Dr. Lewis after re- establishing her advising relationship:
As I am getting ready to apply to med school for Fall 2004, you were on my mind and I wanted to say thank you for all you have done for me in the past years.
I recently graduated Cum Laude.... yay! After many hours of psychological testing, Disabled Student Services and a private counselor determined that, as you had suggested, I have a testing disability and test anxiety, which kept me from performing to the best of my ability on the MCAT as well as my academic coursework. Therefore, I was granted time and a half on ALL my academic exams thanks to DSS and it's amazing how much a difference it made for me. My grades shot up immediately. I got one of the highest scores in the class in organic chemistry II once I started getting time and a half. Because of all this discovery of my testing disability, I will now be receiving time and half on the MCAT... BIG YAY!

As you suggested, I didn't want to take the MCAT again until I figured out the source of my difficulty. It's amazing, because on the practice exams, I am now earning 8's instead of 3's. I will be taking the MCAT in April with time and a half and in a separate room from everyone else (to alleviate my anxiety). I am focusing on the April MCAT now that I graduated and am not doing a million things at once. I am excited to perform really well this time! I want to thank you for all of your advice. You were 100% correct and I appreciate all of the time you spent on me. I would NOT be where I am now if it hadn't been for you . I am 10 X the applicant that I was 2 yrs ago and I am so glad I have waited to apply. I feel VERY ready this time. The MCAT has been a hurdle, but through it I have learned so much. Thanks for everything you have meant to my life. I am forever grateful!

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.

Lewis Associates will save you money and heartache on your application process. Contact us for more information drlewis@lewisassoc.com 805-226-9669.



n e w s   &   l i n k s

N E W S : Supreme Court Decision, Virtual Medical School, Interview Funding for Disadvantaged

Supreme Court Ruling Supports Greater Diversity in Medicine
President Jordan J. Cohen, M.D., issued the following statement today, on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the University of Michigan cases: "Today's momentous Supreme Court decision will not only affect higher education, it will help ensure better health care for all Americans, now and in the future. By upholding affirmative action, the Court will permit the nation's medical schools to continue developing a physician workforce that truly mirrors our society. A more diverse physician workforce will benefit every aspect of health care in this country. It will help tomorrow's doctors acquire the cultural competence they will need to treat our increasingly diverse society; it will provide underserved populations with greater access to physicians who share their ethnic heritage; and it will encourage more researchers to seek solutions to racial disparities in health care Bridging the medical profession's diversity gap is essential, and AAMC believes that affirmative action is the most effective way to achieve that goal in the near term. Although the court ruled against the University of Michigan's undergraduate scoring system, its validation of affirmative action supplies the support needed to significantly increase the number of underrepresented minorities enrolled in U.S. medical schools. The Supreme Court has provided medical schools with the power to fulfill one of our most solemn societal obligations. The AAMC applauds today's decision and will continue to work to promote diversity throughout the medical profession."

Virtual Medical School
The Globe Online Headline: E-school would teach medicine from afar 7/30/2003
Byline "For aspiring doctors, the first half of medical school is both hard and messy, as they dissect human cadavers and practice giving physical exams to classmates. But soon medical students at Brown University in Providence could study medicine for two years without getting near a cadaver, a fellow student - or even Providence. In what may be the most extreme example of the trend toward Internet-based education, Brown and a worldwide group of medical schools are collaborating to build an ''International Virtual Medical School,'' allowing students to begin work toward a medical degree thousands of miles from a classroom."
To read the entire story, click on the link below or cut and paste it into a Web browser:

Interview Funding for Disadvantaged
The University of Michigan provides travel assistance up to $400 for travel to interviews for financially disadvantaged applicants and can arrange for housing with a student. The University of Iowa Carver College of medicine provides travel reimbursement up to $150 to assist applicants coming to interview who've been identified by AMCAS as disadvantaged. In certain cases, they’ve paid for the entire visit. Those students are notified prior to the interview that they are eligible for a partial travel reimbursement and to keep all receipts, including air fare, hotel, car rental, etc. Iowa can also arrange for housing through their Medical Student Ambassador Host Program. Northwestern University Medical School will allow students to send evaluations from other medical schools where they may have interviewed, or if that is not possible, to interview regionally with one or two of our alumni-identified through our alumni office. It is very important that applicants communicate with the admissions office so that admissions can make the necessary determination. Students who could not afford to travel have taken advantage of these opportunities in the past, and have matriculated as a result.
(note by Dr. Lewis: Regional interviews have pros and cons).

L I N K : Post-baccalaureate Website

Have you wondered what to do after college graduation and before acceptance to medical or other health professions school? One possibility is a special research program at NIH:

From one of our Advisees, Stacia Bier: "I am currently doing research at the NIH on the Parainfluenza virus. I am working on creating a vaccine that will eventually be given to infants and children. It is very exciting!! Sometimes I feel like I should pinch myself to make sure that I am actually here! My research mentor is SO NICE and the PI of the lab is very concerned that the students here learn. There is no "grunt" work here (ie cleaning test tubes for people, etc). I have my own project that was given to me the first week. I don't quite comprehend everything that I am doing, but more and more things are starting to click. The more that they click...the more I like it. I have been reading lots of research articles about the V protein mutations that have made successful attenuated vaccines for other scientists on other viruses within the same virus family(the V protein is what I am working on). Hopefully, from this information I can design my own mutations for my virus and test it's pathogenic effects on cells.....then hamsters.....then monkeys...then humans. Would any of you be interested in being test subjects?? Just kidding. I just volunteered to be the representative IRTA Intramural Research Training Award for NIAID National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. So once again, I am a leader. I can't help it!!!! It will be fun. We have monthly meetings and plan pre-med information conferences and application workshops. I'll keep you posted."

Rural Medicine Site
Web page for comments and controversies surrounding the "Four That Flunk" articles with critiques, responses, and links: http://www.unmc.edu/Community/ruralmeded/controversy_in_med_ed.htm



d a t e s   &   r e m i n d e r s

AMCAS Secondaries
Due to the immediacy of data availability on AMCAS, your AMCAS once submitted (certified), is accessed by the schools you have indicated which may send you requests for secondaries prior to verification of your application. They receive your hard copy application after verification is complete.

The Psychological Corporation announced in early spring 2003 that the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT) would be discontinued, effective June 30, 2003. Any tests that were administered on or before June 30 will be processed and scored. Transcript-reporting services will be available for candidates and recipient schools for five years preceding test dates, through June 30, 2008. Questions regarding the VCAT should be directed to PSE Customer Relations at 1-800-622-323. All American veterinary schools now accept the GRE; some schools require the GRE Biology test, etc; some will accept the GRE or MCAT. The good news is that ALL vet schools now accept one common test!

Osteopathic Medicine Outside the US
The summary of licensure availability in foreign countries for graduates of United States osteopathic medical school graduates is revised and expanded on a continual basis. Some countries have definite policies regarding the licensure of D.O.'s, the licensure of internationally trained physicians and health care practitioners and/or the licensure of noncitizens. Some of the numerous countries that currently extend unlimited practice rights to D.0.'s include Argentina, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Panama, China, Chile, Colombia, Zambia, Vietnam, UAB, Taiwan, Liberia, Hong Kong, Greece, Germany, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. (Please note these are examples and not a comprehensive listing) A few countries have consistently refused to grant US-trained D.O.'s full practice rights, often permitting them to perform only manipulation and sometimes refusing to grant them any type of practice. For example, Great Britain, France and Barbados currently limit D.0.'s to manipulation. Currently D.O.'s do not have any practice rights in Belize, Ireland or Malaysia. Other countries, however, are simply not educated on the qualifications of US-trained D.O.'s and their equivalence in education, training and practice to M.D.'s. To that end, communication with international health-care officials can be a time consuming and formidable task. However this is an on-going and important endeavor being undertaken by our profession.

There are a few issues to keep in mind when researching licensure possibilities in foreign countries. Many countries that were or continue to be under British influence adhere to Britain's definition of an "osteopath," a non-physician health care practitioner who practices only manipulation. Due to the similarity of the titles, many of these countries refuse to grant US-trained D.O.'s practice rights beyond the scope of manipulation.

Also, the intent and type of practice sought by the US-trained D.O. might warrant a substantially different application procedure. For example, those who are interested in working on a volunteer basis or for a mission often find the process less hindered by paperwork and legal regulations. For this reason, an applicant should be as clear as possible about his/her intentions when making an inquiry.

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) maintains a catalog of countries in which the AOA has investigated osteopathic licensure. Included in each country's listing is the year in which the last request for updated licensure status was made, the scope of osteopathic practice in that country, an overview of issues specific to that country and the contact for licensure inquiries. To review this catalog in detail and for more information please visit:

Osteopathic Physician Communication
CHICAGO, July 17 /U.S. Newswire A recently published study indicates that osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) and allopathic physicians (M.D.s) have different communication styles when it comes to talking to their patients. Timothy S. Carey, M.D., the study's lead author and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine explains, "D.O.s seem to have a communication style with patients that is more personal, as issues relating to family, social activities, and patient emotions appear to be more commonly discussed during office visits." Dr. Carey states that this work represents the first time patient communication patterns have been evaluated between these similar, but distinct, medical professions. Fifty-four patient visits were audio-recorded to 11 osteopathic and seven allopathic primary care physicians. Researchers compared the physicians' interaction with the patients on a 26-item index. D.O.s had an average of 11 positive responses compared to an average of 6.9 for M.D.s. The items included that the physician discusses preventive measures specific to the complaint; explains the cause of problem or reasoning behind treatment; and asks, "Do you have any questions?" The study appears in the July issue of JAOA-The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.



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

International Medical Program Leads to Top Choice Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at University Hospital of Cleveland

7/8/03 Dr. Lewis:
"It was funny - I was thinking about you today - went to your web page and perused your web sight and not surprised to see your succesful intervention with young students and help them launch their careers with appropriate focus. As for me - just completed residency at Case Western's Metro Health Medical Center in 3 years of Internal Medicine. Just got accepted for fellowship at University Hospital's of Cleveland for Pulmonary and Critical Care!!

So I was really happy and just thinking about those times in 1994 when Med School admissions were quite competitive and I was reluctant to go abroad -but did so. So wanted to of course say "thank you" - it has been a long and very interesting ride (survived 2 years in St. Maarten, 3 hurricanes, 1 year in England --> scoring good #'s on mcats, usmles--> ), and now returning to California for 1 year to work as a Hospitalist before I return to Cleveland for fellowship. University Hospitals is where they did Chris Reeve's diaphragmatic stimulator surgery so that he could potentially live w/o a ventilator - that was done by our own Pulmonary and Critical Care dept., so I was very honored to have the opportunity to work with such faculty.

Writing to say thanks and that I am going to be in Calif at least through the early winter - if there is anything I can do (e.g. talk to students) - I would be happy to do so. Congratulations on all your success continuing!!"

I remember starting the University of California at San Diego with much enthusiasm and pride. I ranked very high in my secondary school. But, what I didn’t realize is the importance of secondary school preparation to do well in college. I went to a High School where only 30% of the students pursued any type of post-graduation certification, let alone degree. The remaining 70% are continuing on their laureates from high school.

Having miscalculated my ability – I obviously got off to a slow start at UCSD. It took some time to realize what and how the professors test. Even though I had a below average GPA into my fourth year in college I decided to take the MCAT. After taking the multiple courses involved in a degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology – I had no doubt in my mind I wanted to become a physician. I believe my personal statistics did not represent my ability. I scored a 25 (with a 10 in the Physical Sciences). Applied to Medical School – and obviously did not get admission.

I took a few quarters off prior to graduation to find myself. I began EMT training – and fulfilled the requirements to transport patients in ambulances. I believe my turning point was when with much support and pushing from my family was a phone call from an offshore school representative came to me one night. He was impressed with my success in certain courses, and stated that I just had to improve my Verbal Score to be taken into consideration. Not everyone comes from the same background.

So I returned to UCSD to complete my degree and began a post-baccalaureate program at SDSU. My final quarter at UCSD with some of the most difficult courses offered was a 4.0. I met Dr. Lewis at SDSU – and I felt confident I could succeed – and scored one of the highest scores in the human physiology class. I prepared for the MCAT for a few months and scored an 11 in Physical Sciences, 10 in Biological Sciences, and a 10 in verbal. I was actually disappointed a bit, because I was scoring 35-37 on my diagnostics; however I felt I had proven myself by this point.

In May of 1995, I received admission to the American University of the Caribbean. With support again from my family – after an active Volcano had moved the program from Montserrat to St. Maarten – I joined the school in a makeshift campus in the Netherlands Antilles. Within 2 weeks of arrival I had gone through two hurricanes. Hurricane Luis was the first, a category IV hurricane that last 30 hours with winds over 130 mph and completely destroyed the island. I felt I had just gone into battle. A few days later Hurricane Marilyn decided to stop by and finish off what Luis didn’t complete. School was on hold for one month; 2/3 of the class left – but I was determined to stay. School soon got into session and we all got into our routines.

After completing my two years on the island – I passed Step I of the USMLE with a good score and began my 3rd year clinicals in London. Returned to California for my fourth year and did extremely well on Step II of the USMLE and received my MD. Applied to Internal Medicine residencies throughout the country and was invited to twenty-five interviews. I received six pre-match offers (which is considered illegal by the NRMP). Decided I wanted a University education for the benefit of patients and myself. Received admission into residency in Internal medicine at Case Western Reserve’s Metro Health Medical Center.

Most of my classmates did well – matching into virtually every specialty in most states. I succeeded in completing residency and will be starting fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at University Hospitals of Cleveland (ranked #20) – Case Western’s flagship Hospital and nationally ranked by US NEWS in 14/17 specialties they rank. For this next one year I will be working in San Diego as an Internal Medicine physician.

Important points I want to make:
1) Believe in yourself!!!
2) Don’t give up. If becoming a Health Care Provider is your calling – then continue forward; there are many options available – from post baccalaureate programs, DO schools, Offshore schools, I have even seen some people re-start their education after not doing well in their first 2 years! I worked with residents who are non-stop complainers about how hard the workload is. A program would often rather take a non-traditional candidate, enthusiastic about their field and willing to work hard, over the Traditional Graduate "whiner".
3) Guidance is important. At some point it helps to have and speak to a "Mentor".

If you wish to communicate about international medical programs or other issues, email drlewis@lewisassoc.com



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

"What Can go Wrong in My Application Process?"

Here are a few of the items that have occurred recently to some applicants. There are of course many more, and books could be written about these!

1. Computer hard drive crash, losing application material without a back up
2. Not requesting military, community college or coursework transcripts from classes taken in high school until after application submitted
3. Not requesting transcripts in advance to verify that courses were still incomplete and had to be finished before application could be submitted
4. Letter of Recommendation writers not responsive in sending letters and hold up submission of secondaries
5. Get AMCAS to acknowledge that 1 transcript has 2 different schools listed (occurs when one school system e.g. community college) has several campuses with one transcript
6. Becoming ill with surgery during application thus delaying the application cycle
7. Going out of the country before submitting the application, only to find that available computers are too old or not available to submit the application
8. Not realizing that a misdemeanor charge and academic probation/dismissal has to be discussed clearly, slowing the application
9. Not planning financially in an appropriate manner, even when accepted may be unable to attend medical school
10. Re-occurrence of illnesses
11. Being late to medical school interview; not locating the correct building or even campus
12. Difficult personal problems that keep one from focusing on the application process

We will address some of these items in future issues, keep a look out for them!

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