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    Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

    Volume 4 Issue 9
    September 2005

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

    100% Acceptance Rate for Class of 2005

    What's inside:
    Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!
    Read Misty Richards' Class of 2005 Comments

    Important News: Patients' Rights

    Useful Links: Improving Sleep ; Scholarship Opportunities for Health Professions students

    Dates and Reminders: Stress Reduction Workshop in Del Mar September 20

    Success Story of the Month: Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara's Dr. Daniel Peters; Update on Liana Au from the University of Hawaii

    Question of the Month: How do I prepare to answer secondary applications?

    Our Services


    Welcome to Lewis Associates!

    September is generally a new beginning for students…the month when fall terms start and hopes are at their highest. For years, I have seen students come into my office with the greatest of dreams in September, lots of energy, then when first exams hit and those scores are seen, they may not have used all appropriate resources or managed their time and talents well, it comes crashing down. If you wish advising about how to do well academically. . . we can put you on the right path.

    September for Class of 2006 applicants is when your application should be SUBMITTED (you are now officially LATE!) and you should be responding to secondaries! As I predicted, based on the "speedy" turnaround with medical/dental/etc. school online applications last year, this year looks like it will be a whirlwind. So get ready to ride the tornado. . . or roller coaster, as I like to call it. . . for the Class of 2006.

    Our first Class of 2006 applicants are now interviewing!!!
    Congratulations to Michael Nevarez, Ashley Pistorio, Danielle Acosta, Setu Trivedi and Nat Kittisarapong!! YAY!!

    100% of our Class of 2005 applicants have now been accepted!
    We are proud to tell our readers that as of last week, our last Class of 2005 applicant was accepted off the waitlist at the MS program school where he just completed his thesis. Sooooo. . . 100% of our Class of 2005 applicants have now been accepted!

    From Class of 2005 Misty Richards on August 22, 2005: "How are you? I just wanted to thank you for everything you have done for me. From day one, you have always believed in me--you have always told me that I would be a doctor someday. Well, you were right (as always) and I appreciate the much needed encouragement and support you have given me. Not only were you my advisor, you were my friend and confidante. Thank you for that. I hope things are going well for you in beautiful and sunny San Diego. You are so lucky! I am excited to attend Albany Medical School next week and also a bit nervous. I am ready, though! I have never missed school more than now -- the working world is tough! Anyway, I will keep in touch and contact you as soon as I know my new address and contact information. You are the best! -Misty"

    Maybe we can get Misty's Success story told in the next couple of months. . . everyone has challenges and I think it helps to see how your peers overcame theirs!

    In order to be a competitive applicant, you need to submit a quality application in a timely fashion as evaluated by your clinical, service and other experiences and your GPA/MCAT/DAT/GRE, etc. profile--this requires a well-thought out strategy to carry you through the difficult application process. You should complete all secondary applications and submit your letter packets to complete your files at all your schools by October at the latest. Your competition did! Don't forget that once your application is submitted. . . even if ALL transcripts are already received at the application service, it may take up to 6 weeks to verify and process it!!!!

    This is the most intense time you will experience as a pre-health student. It is that roller coaster ride I mentioned. Let us know how we can assist you. . . sooner is now!

    Class of 2006 applicants, we are now running out of time. . . a very precious commodity: Time to plan, to locate and use new opportunities, time to live up to your potential! Many times, I locate clinical or service experiences for my Advisees. . . but they need the time to DO them!

    Class of 2007 applicants--you still have TIME to prepare and plan well. . . and we can help you sidestep mistakes and jump over roadblocks that everyone seems to face.

    If you are serious about making your dreams to become a physician, dentist, Physician Assistant, veterinarian, optometrist or pharmacist a reality -- Lewis Associates can help you. We have made the difference for over 700 alumni now practicing in medicine during the last 20 years.

    What are your chances?

    If you want to change your career or reach your new 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 with your Personal Assessment!

    You may be like our Lewis Associates Advisees---highly motivated and intelligent, but needing focus, guidance and specific technical expertise. Dr. Lewis 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), received the 1990 NACADA Outstanding Institutional Advising Program in the U.S. and directed her own Health Careers Opportunity Program grant for 6 years, bringing $1 million to her university.

    Dr. Lewis 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 the experts! For more information email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com or call 805-226-9669 and ask to set up your first appointment.

    n e w s & l i n k s

    N E W S

    Getting Help; Essential but Uncommon Knowledge: Patients Have Many Rights. Just Ask. (New York Times)
    You can refuse treatment. You can almost always leave when you are ready to. You can demand to know the name of anyone who enters your room. You may be able to have better food - and even wine - brought in from outside. In many cases, you can ditch the hospital gown and wear your own clothes. More

    In the Hospital, a Degrading Shift From Person to Patient (New York Times)
    Mary Duffy was lying in bed half-asleep on the morning after her breast cancer surgery in February when a group of white-coated strangers filed into her hospital room.

    Without a word, one of them - a man - leaned over Ms. Duffy, pulled back her blanket, and stripped her nightgown from her shoulders. More

    L I N K S :

    Improving Sleep: A guide to a good night's rest
    Sleep is a necessity that no person can do without. Yet for many people, it doesn't come without numerous challenges. Improving Sleep: A guide to a good night's rest provides in-depth information on the biology of sleep, the factors that can disturb sleep, what you can do to get a good night's sleep, and sleep disorders, including restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea.

    Scholarship Opportunities for Heath Professions students
    The NHSC offers a competitive scholarship program designed for students committed to providing primary health care in communities of greatest need. Scholarship recipients serve where they are most needed upon completion of their training.

    d a t e s   &   r e m i n d e r s

    s u c c e s s s t o r i e s
    by Dr. Cynthia Lewis

    Dr. Daniel Peters Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, 5th Pathway

    "My class was 1992. Born and raised in North Palm Beach, Florida I was a straight A student until high school. Concentrating on surfing and soccer (was going to play in college but did not), I sort of lived out an irresponsible youth much to my advantage (I feel). I grew up fast under the guidance of my older brother Michael with whom I am very close. . . tried most "bad" things so that I had experienced them and knew what it was all about.

    I am a second generation Italian-American with my mother from Pittsburgh, PA (Chiappetta was their name and she had 10 brothers/sisters) and my father from New Jersey (originally Petrucelli, he changed to Peters along with his brother for a "better professional career in America"). They met at Temple University in the 1950's while my mother was studying nursing and my father dentistry. They married, went to Chicago where my father completed Orthodontia training before joining his only brother (and the only other one on his side of family to change his name) in practice in South Florida. That was 1961. I was born in 1969 and have a sister (born 1962, VP for Solomon Brothers in Atlanta, Columbia University MBA) and a brother (born 1964, BFA from U. of Florida, former elementary school art teacher, works in Real Estate with our mother). My mother, 12 years younger than my father, was active in fund raising/church/community eventually got into real estate as a bored housewife with her best friend after she got divorced (rare in our neighborhood at that time) in 1976. She went on to own the business with 3 girlfriends 2 years later for the next 25 years; it was the most successful women-owned business in FL. They sold the business, and my brother and mom still work non-stop while my father retired in 1995 and gardens/reads daily. In 1994 my mother had an acoustic neuroma removed and was out for 6weeks. Now my family is all in good health, thank God.

    After attending Catholic grade school, I went to college in St. Augustine Florida (Flagler College) for 1.5 years before going to San Diego State University. I always wanted to go West (surf, new people, etc.) so as not to keep associating with the same people or ultimately attend U. of Florida/FSU/U. of Miami. There are 4 Catholic grade schools that ultimately join to the high school. . . all the same people. Anyway, I went to Flagler, took all my pre-requisites and earned straight A's. . . I took all the science classes (thought I wanted to be a biologist, did not think I had what it took to be a doctor--Pediatrics appealed as I had great respect for my Pediatrician/family friend) and prepared to transfer without my parents knowing. . . when I got accepted to SDSU/USD/UCSB, I presented the opportunity to my parents and sold them on how inexpensive it would be. . . I had never been west of Tennessee at that point (1989). They bought it.

    I packed my car, headed with a family friend to Northern Georgia where my brother got married, and then proceeded to SDSU where I took calculus and chemistry to "get a head start" on my now "pre-med" academic career. I did well, and though I lived in South Mission Beach with lots of "partying" around me, I was over it and focused on my studies and the wonderful surf of Southern California. I got a job at Scripps La Jolla as an orderly in radiology (patient transport) where I really came to realize and appreciate the stories of patients and the confidence they could develop in me even as an orderly bringing them to tests (explaining things, helping the techs perform studies, etc.). I would later take interest in the pathology, medicine, and the 'trauma service' as I was eventually promoted to trauma tech helping transport patients from trauma hawk to the trauma room and ultimately developing films (getting c-spine films cleared by radiologist, processing films, really being a part of an important team). This extracurricular activity affirmed my conviction to study medicine. In high school I was known as that goof-off, soccer star surfer. I was the guy that people knew would do something important, but really was quiet on the periphery. (I did not get a high school superlative, did not want one, or the attention.)

    Well, this is where your memory may come into play (meaning--Dr. Lewis!): I was at pre-med at SDSU from 1989-1992 (lost a year in transfer), biology was my major and I did pretty well (3.51 GPA overall and 3.7 in my major if I recall correctly), but did not test well and got average MCAT scores despite prep courses. I was in clubs, worked, and in 1991 went to work with Dr. Paolini harvesting rabbits. I worked with Dr. Sabbadini also and still keep in touch with him to this day. Well, when the time came, I was not deemed a "good candidate" for medical school and you tried to help me realize that; I don't recall offshore schooling being an option at that time. Despite your guidance to strengthen my application, take post-bac courses, and retake the MCAT, I applied as a California resident and got only one interview (Penn State, probably because I have more than 15 family alums there). I did not matriculate.

    Something I remember distinctly from that time: I was a TA in physics and had helped many classmates succeed. As I watched a girl "that I helped get through physics" go to Harvard, I reflected on my Italian heritage that my father abandoned so that he could go forward. . . I was "not smart enough" to go to medical school, I thought. This was a tough time for me, a time that actually made me more determined. At this point, I started to build on 2 second cousins, Petrucelli's who studied in Guadalajara (UAG) in the 1970s. They went on to be orthopedic surgeons and ER MDs. . . I only thought about UAG at that time.

    So, under the advice of family friend who was also Dean of Students at UF School of Medicine, I finished my work Sharp-Rees Stealy with Paolini, and in December 1992, I moved back to Florida. I moved to Gainesville and enrolled in Post-Bac classes, re-established state residency, and got a job as Senior Lab Tech in Pediatric Cardiology building on my expertise I developed with Paolini and Sabadini for the next year. I worked closely with the UF Admissions Committee, and they did not feel like I would be a good candidate for that next year 1994. (I applied to Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, got accepted, and deferred). I was active with the student body, helped the Alpha Epsilon Delta Chapter there ( I was SDSU member with Dr. Lewis who established the SDSU chapter), and developed an interest as a political lobbyist (State and DC), and ultimately in public health. Sad, as I was alone in a college town with most people I knew there long gone, I applied to GW MD/MPH program and got conditionally accepted. . . based on new MCAT scores (took it 3 times), but they wanted me to do the MPH first. I did, earned a 4.0 GPA with multiple honors and developed relationships with faculty who had joint appointments in the medical school to no avail: "This year we have so many well qualified applicants, re-apply for next year." I was upset, had it out with the MD, MPH program director who recruited me. That was 1995. I chose the 2-year track to really take away from the program the essentials; there were lots of people in my place (med student wannabes) who opted for the one year track, to better their records for medical school. . . they came and went. I loved public health, its principles and the potential to travel (something most people love). I envisioned working for the CDC abroad. My track was international health promotion and disease prevention. . . I completed in 2001 because before I left to Guadalajara, my thesis--carried out in Viet Nam helping ex-sex workers deliver safe sex messages and condoms in the bars and brothels--was in the data collection phase. It was lost as I tried to keep lines open from Mexico and the NGO in DC went under.

    So, at UAG I did well! I played soccer and captained the medical school soccer team and won 3 university titles (an "American team"). Studied hard and traveled around the country, surfing and studying at the beach. Went on medical mission in Chiapas, etc.

    Once I finished, I went to the Fifth pathway at New York Medical College (I was at South Shore Medical Center) doing a year of US medicine. Got my first match at Mt. Sinai Medical Center on Miami Beach where I did internal medicine (I came here as a student to UM, did infectious disease--attending was program director, fellow at time was ex-chief resident at Mt. Sinai and this helped me greatly as I excelled). I finished and am now doing Infectious Disease. Infectious Disease studies disease that can be cured like STD's as opposed to oncology where you just prolong life with "other toxic substances".

    In short, persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. . . Mexico was the best thing that I could have done, by the way. I am fluent in Spanish too!"

    Dan Peters

    Note: Dan plans to go back to Palm Beach where he is from to enter private practice next year!
    Dr. Lewis recalls meeting with Dr. Peters while she was visiting UAG while he was a student and having a great conversation.

    Update: Liana Olszewski Au (Read the Success Story)

    July 11, 2005:
    "Hi Dr. Lewis,
    My summer's going good so far; I'm coming along with my asthma research and almost finished following a family practitioner. I really like Family Practice and the options it gives you.

    But I really loved the Problem Based curriculum this past year. (Actually past 2 years) Things really stick in my brain better when you can relate basic science concepts and disease processes to names and health care problems that we work through. I love our new campus. . . it is right next to the beach and so beautiful! It is nice; now we have everything all in one place: our health sciences library, medical bookstore, cafeteria, clinical skills learning center with simulated patients, numerous tutorial rooms each with projectors and hook ups, and lots of other neat things."

    Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to communicate about medical schools or other issues or to contact those profiled in Success Stories: drlewis@lewisassoc.com

q u e s t i o n o f t h e m o n t h
by Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD

How do I prepare to answer all those probing questions on the secondary applications? There seems to be hundreds of them!!

Well, if you think that writing the AMCAS or AACOMAS or AADSAS, etc. primary personal statement essay was tough. . . wait till you get to the secondaries.

My fondest recollection is of one of my alumni who now practices physical medicine in Minnesota. We had a potluck each May with the applying class and those who had already applied when I was the university Pre-health Advisor. This applicant brought the pile of 50 secondary applications she had completed with her to the potluck. . . and dropped them---BAM!! Like a bomb on the table. . . got everyone's attention!!!

I advise writing a 5-10 page autobiography of all the important parts of your life (it can be longer if you enjoy writing). This should not just be focused on your interest in medicine, as you will be asked probing questions like: How have you dealt with a personal difficulty/challenge? What are your weaknesses? Who is the most important person in your life? Beyond these probing questions, you will need to "do your homework" about the curriculum, the programs, the faculty, the facilities and importantly, the Mission Statement of each school where you submit your secondary. Generally, they ask, "Why have you applied to us?" or. . . "What makes you think you are a good match for our school?" Their questions may be slightly less pointed, but these are the real questions to answer.

Make sure you read their Mission Statement and read all about them on their website, talk to their alumni and if you can, current students and faculty. . . even admissions staff or other administrators. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!

Students generally do NOT do a good job relating how their personal track record fits with each school's interests and how their programs relate to the applicant's specific background. . . If you wish to be competitive, this is what you must do!! Personalize your answers directly to them!

Imagine you are actually talking face to face with the Dean of Admissions and telling him/her why you match THEIR school! Do NOT give empty platitudes about reputation or quality of program! Be specific.

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 with newsletter question in the subject line.


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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

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