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    Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

    Volume 4 Issue 11
    November 2005

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

    What's inside:
    Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!

    Important News: Long-Term Advising Packages Available for a Limited Time Only!!

    Useful Links: Study Abroad

    Dates and Reminders: GRE changes; Opportunities for Experience

    Success Story of the Month: Lisa and Naturopathic Medicine

    Question of the Month: Secondary Essays

    Our Services


    Welcome to Lewis Associates!

    November means all those holidays--Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza etc. are just around the corner. Of course that also means finals are close behind. If you are taking classes, you are well into midterms, mastering new subjects. and hopefully enjoying it at the same time.

    Class of 2006 applicants 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.

    We are proud that more than half of our Class of 2006 applicants are now interviewing!

    And, our first acceptance is Ashley Pistorio at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences!!! Congratulations to Ashley!

    And 100% of our Class of 2005 applicants were accepted! Not to mention100% of our Class of 2004 were also accepted.

    Alumni Update
    From Stephen Williams on Oct 27, 2005:
    "Dear Dr. Lewis,
    How are you? I'm currently in CA on the interview trail for Urologic Surgery Residency. As you know, I would not be in the position I am today if it were not for my surrogate mom (AKA YOU!).

    Here is my interview list: UCLA, University of Maryland,, Case Western Reserve Cornell, The Cleveland Clinic, Duke, Brigham and Women's/Harvard Longwood Urology Program, Univ Texas, San Antonio, Univ of Virginia, Baylor, George Washington Univ, Emory, Univ of Cal, Irvine, Univ of Miami, Fl, Vanderbilt, Yale

    Stephen Bentley Williams, MSIV
    Vice-President, Graduating Class 2006
    The George Washington University
    School of Medicine and Health Sciences"

    In order to be a competitive Class of 2006 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 year-long 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 2007 applicants, we are preparing for your applications to be submitted early next summer. We have some 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! We can help you sidestep the mistakes and jump over roadblocks that everyone seems to face.

    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.

    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.

    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

    New Advisee Long-Term Advising Available for a limited time only!!
    Dr. Lewis will be moving her office from San Diego to the central coast of California winter 2006/7and refocusing her Advising Practice.

    From Dr. Lewis:
    "I will be taking new preparation and application year Class of 2007 and 2008 Advisees only through December 31, 2005. After that, I will provide the same high quality of Advising for new Personal Assessments, application essay packages, interview packages and hourly advising, and adding 2 new packages: Personal Assessment for Re-applicants and Preparation of the Medical Residency Essay. This refocus will allow me to also write some books about my students and Alumni and accomplish other personal goals."

    Read the full Announcement here.

    From Stephen Williams:
    "Sorry to hear that you are retiring (semi-retiring), because there are many doctors today who would not be in the position they are in if it were not for your efforts."

    From a current Class of 2006 Advisee (re-applicant now accepted):
    "Hi Dr. Lewis,
    OK, now that I have a moment to think. . . Wow. That message sent about your move toward retirement was a surprise. Silly me, thinking you'd be around forever! :o)

    As sad as I feel that you will be phasing out your long-term services to all of the hopeful applicants out there, I am definitely the first to understand the need to let your life go where you need it to. I think it's just great that you will be giving yourself the time to reflect and write a couple of books. Who knows, maybe you will find a new passion in writing? You certainly have some great stories to tell, and I think they will be a great contribution to the lives of the readers.

    Your planned life at the new house, making wine and growing olives, sounds just wonderful! You will have to tell me all about it when you finally settle in. Hopefully then, I will be well into my journey of med school and beyond. We can swap new-life stories.

    Thank you so much for all of the help you have given and continue to give me in this application process. You are a good person, and I really enjoy seeing good things happen for good people.

    Take care, Ashley"

    Services and Prices will change after December 31, 2005.

    TRUTH about the changes in the MCAT to help you relax.

    First, no final decisions have been made. However, with current plans, the computerized MCAT does not come into place until 2007 at the earliest. It has been tested and piloted for several years, first abroad and now in the States, so that the kinks can be worked out. The computerized MCAT will address some key complaints and concerns that students have had for years:

      1. The test is only given twice a year: With the computerized test there will be 20 or so dates, providing you more flexibility and the greater possibility you can prepare for the test when you are not taking classes.
      2. The test is so long: With the computerized test, you will spend much less time (probably 1 hours or more less) in the test.
      3. It takes 60 days to get the results: With the new test you will get results in less than half the time, perhaps even in two weeks.

    There is no reason to think you will perform worse on a computer test. You are all computer savvy and have been working with computers since childhood. The MCAT staff have excellent online review materials for a very reasonable price (www.aamc.org/mcat) that can help you get comfortable with computer-based questions. You will have scratch paper at the test and will be able to write if need be. You will work at your own pace with the computerized test and not be held up by proctors who have to collect booklets multiple times during the test date. You will have earplugs to block out noise and not be affected by the party or Frisbee game or other event going on outside the window. The computer will keep time so you will not be hurt by the clock on the test site wall that is incorrect.

    Software to prepare for the test will be more available and students can have aids for preparation that are less expensive. It was also determined that since computers are such a large part of all our lives, and certainly of medical students and physicians, that those aiming for medicine will have familiarity with and access to computers. SO - RELAX. This test will not be easy, but it will certainly be better once it is computerized!

    Computer-Based MCAT
    On behalf of the Association of American Medical College's Section for Applicant Assessment Services (responsible for the MCAT), the following information may interest you.

    The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) will convert to an entirely computer-based test (CBT) format, worldwide beginning 2007. The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice exam designed to assess facility with problem solving, critical thinking and writing skills in addition to knowledge of science concepts and principles that are prerequisite to the study of medicine. Thomson Prometric has been selected to annually administer approximately 70,000 MCAT examinations.
    CBT will provide examinees and medical schools with more test dates each year, faster score results, a more controlled testing environment, and a shorter test day. Also, after several years of research a reduced length MCAT will be introduced in 2007 with CBT.

    Prometric currently administers the MCAT at select CBT sites, domestically and internationally. Such small administrations have enabled the AAMC and Prometric to develop effective systems and processes. A large scale administration is scheduled for August 2006 at all Prometric test centers. August 2006 marks the last MCAT paper test administration, a fundamental business change in the 77-year history of the MCAT.
    As the progression to CBT continues, more information will be shared.

    Tonya Miles, Director
    MCAT Administration and Operations

    L I N K S :

    internabroad.com -- You can search by country and area of interest, which will link you to info pages for each program that have links to different programs.

    -- students LOVE it

    -- International Service Learning has been sending university students overseas for 12 years and has an excellent record for safety. sends medical/vision/dent/vet teams to countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa. We include pre-health students on our teams as a way of preparing the next generation of international medical care-givers. Students receive supervised hands-on experience, health related seminars, and financial sponsorship.

    -- also excellent

    -- Unite for Sight has volunteer positions throughout the world.

    --Medical Ministries International for Christian premed students who wish to serve abroad on 2 week trips.

    -- International Medical Volunteers Association

    -- Learn Spanish while having a clinical service experience

    The AAMC website provides an option to search for joint medical programs. It lists 47 medical schools with MD/MBA joint programs:

    http://science.education.nih.gov/LifeWorks.nsf/feature/index.htm -- Explore Health and Science Careers with NIH's LifeWorks

    These and many other useful links are available on
    Lewisassoc.com's Links Page.

    d a t e s   &   r e m i n d e r s

    The GRE will be longer-4 hours next year.
    Revamping Will Lengthen Graduate Entrance Exam
    (New York Times)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/18/national/18gre.html?emc=eta1 Registration Required
    The Graduate Record Exam will be revamped as of next October in an effort to give graduate schools a more useful measure of students' ability and to prevent cheating. The MCAT will be shorter when on computer, making them about the same length!

    Students for Organ Donation, a national student-run nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting organ donation awareness and registration, is looking for individuals interested in founding and serving as president of a college chapter. Over 87,000 Americans are currently in need of an organ transplant, and while the vast majority of Americans support organ donation, less than half of eligible donors actually donate their organs at death. We believe that a focused effort on the part of college students can make a measured impact in raising awareness and working to solve thisproblem. If there is any student interested in helping to found a chapter, please email aaron.kolb@yale.edu and ask for further information. You can learn more about the organization at www.studentdonor.org.

    International Medicine: Technion American Medical Student Program in Haifa, Israel has a new revised 4-year curriculum in English designed to prepare students for leading residencies in the US. The medical school is world- renowned and is a division of the CMIT? of Israel that includes 2 Nobel prize winners. The website is http://teams.technion.ac.il/

    Drexel University has two animal science programs - VMS is a one-year post-bac developed specifically for pre-vet students and MLAS, which is a two-year plus one summer program. Both are great for improving credentials for vet school. VMS is an enhancement rather than a career-changer post-bac program. After completion of the VMS program, students have the option to sign up for the MLAS program. MLAS prepares students for a career in laboratory animal management. Our graduates are in high demand to fill supervisory/managerial positions in academic institutions and the pharmaceutical industry. This is a great fallback option in case vet school does not pan out although on the average, 70% - 80% of our MLAS graduates who apply to US vet schools every year are accepted. Animal Science Programs, Office of Biomedical Graduate, Post-Graduate, and Professional Studies, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA Tel: 215-762-8407

    Podiatric Medicine. . . a terrific medical specialty!
    Last weekend, I visited Temple University Podiatric Medical School and met with faculty, medical students and other advisors. Temple has five hospitals (Temple University Hospital and Children's Hospital to name two) and access to Presbyterian Hospital, many specialty clinics, and over 100 hospitals located throughout the country, where podiatric medical students see patients. Podiatry is a medical specialty for below (in some states including) the knee, focusing on foot and ankle problems, including sports medicine, surgery, wound healing, diabetic problems, congenital defects, and much more. I sat in on a full body anatomy lecture and there are 4 students per whole cadaver in lab (a very good ratio!). Temple students have the same faculty who teach at the allopathic medical school for many of their courses, and have the most extensive gait research facility in the US, including a motion capture system of computer video analysis (like for Gollum in Lord of the Rings!). The advanced wound care healing center treats diabetic and trauma wounds, using new and experimental clinical procedures. TUSPM practices Standardized patients assessment through a clinical simulation lab at the Temple University Medical School.

    Did you know that:

    1. Most podiatric students do 2- to 3-year residencies in surgery, wound healing, sports medicine, etc.
    2. The surgical resident rotates through general surgery, internal medicine, burn unit, ER, vascular surgery, pathology, radiology, anesthesiology, psychiatry, and more.
    3. Podiatrists collaborate with all other health professionals, getting and giving referrrals.
    4. Most podiatric patients come in with a painful problem, have it addressed directly and leave pain-free, which is very fulfilling
    5. Podiatrists are FULL and complete doctors, doing surgery, prescribing drugs, working in HMOs and in private practice.

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

    Making the East-West Connection through National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon

    On October 16, 2005, Lisa emailed:
    "I'm doing really well. I love my classes, the school, and the students and faculty are fantastic. i really couldn't be happier with my choice. I'm doing great in my classes, averaging 90% on my exams. I didn't expect med school to be this much fun. I'll keep in touch. Keep putting the good word out about Naturopathy. For any student who is having a hard time wanting to practice traditional Western medicine, this is the way to go. ..acupuncture too! There are lots of good Master's programs. Here at NCNM, you can do a dual degree ND/acupuncture in 6 yrs. I've met many students who switched to that track in their 3rd year. Hope you're happy and healthy!
    Lisa "

    Here is her Success Story:
    Lisa was born in San Diego, California and grew up in La Jolla, the youngest of 3. Her parents divorced when she was less than a year old. Her maternal grandfather was a career Navy man who moved to San Diego and her father was in the Navy in the Korean War. He then owned a data processing business and is now retired. He remarried 4 times, and lives half the week in Ensenada, Mexico. Lisa's mother remarried, and was a secretary and waitress during Lisa's growing up years; she was a good role model. During some of this time, Lisa's family had very little money. Lisa took a paper route in 6th grade and started working as a waitress at age 15 in a retirement home. From 5th-6th grades, Lisa and her mother and sister lived in rural Colorado with a friend. Lisa grew up "alone" as her older sister left home, and her older brother moved in with their father. Her brother runs a restaurant with his wife; her sister has a doctorate in cultural anthropology and is on faculty at Mt. Holyoke.

    Lisa attended Episcopalian summer and winter camp from 7th-9th grades in Julian, a small, rural mountain community east of San Diego, and worked there in food service and as a counselor in high school. In her autobiography written for me, Lisa says, "The community I found there transformed me. It was a loving atmosphere, not overly religious, with a large emphasis on personal growth and rediscovering our ties to the natural world. At camp, I gained back some self-esteem, and felt confident, loved, and happy. I excelled at counselor training and counseling, and became a staff person a year earlier than usually allowed. During high school, I spent entire summers there, as well as winter break and occasional weeks teaching Outdoor Education to school children. I made many new friends of all ages. The camp experience has greatly influenced my life path; my strong moral and ethical character; the need for a close, diverse community with positive values; the responsibility to be a caretaker of the fragile ecosystem; and especially my respect for the healing power of nature in both a physical and spiritual sense were developed there. These values are influential in my decision to help people through volunteer work, as an ER employee, and as a future Naturopathic Physician." Lisa continued to work at the San Diego School District science camp after high school graduation, and became a staff member at age 17. She enjoyed being independent and worked fulltime for a year as a waitress away from home after high school graduation.

    In summer 1988, Lisa and her cousin drove across the U.S. to “see the world”. Lisa worked 25 hr/week in work-study and fulltime summers in the UC Santa Barbara cafeteria and used financial aid. She held jobs like UCSB arts activities usher, US Census Bureau worker, and Isla Vista Parks and Recreation administration. From 1991-92, after college graduation, she worked fulltime for the Parks and Recreation Department as secretary to the Board of Directors. Lisa moved to Telluride, Colorado where she lived from 1993- 1999. Lisa became a graphic designer for a Publishing company fulltime for 5 years. She says, " During four-and-a-half years at this company I advanced to typographer, copywriter, and then editor. I was encouraged to expand my professional skills there with the help of a charming, generous colleague who was Telluride’s ex-mayor. He trained me to take his place as typographer, and later hired me at his own newspaper to be the Telluride Arts Editor. He had a personality larger than life, and I consider him the greatest Mentor I’ve had." She liked the sense of accomplishment with a finished product and learned computer graphics skills while also working as a waitress and restaurant manager 20 hr/week. Lisa moved to New Zealand in 1997 for 6 months and took a job in a tourist video production company designing websites (which she learned on the job), then returned to Colorado. Upon return, she did graphic design for Chamber of Commerce magazines, and marketing from her own web design company. There were not enough web clients in Telluride to support a business, so she moved to New Orleans with a cousin who is a jazz singer and did web-page design 50+ hr/week for the largest real estate corporation in the South. But, after being mugged in front of her own house, she felt unsafe, and left New Orleans for San Diego. Lisa continued her own website design business, then worked for a preventive medicine business doing graphic design, then took a health care job.

    Lisa was in the GATE Program at La Jolla Elementary school. She was creative and self-directed, constantly drawing and painting and enjoyed reading. She loved the structure of school and the socialization. She enjoyed languages with 4 years of Spanish, art, and foreign culture. Her 9th grade class took a trip to Mexico City and visited the pyramids. Lisa says, "This adventure was incredible, and I gained confidence from traveling to a strange place so far from home. ". Lisa attended La Jolla High School, and felt out of place with so many wealthy peers (her family was poor). There was much peer pressure and she earned her first C grade. She focused on social development with academics and took AP English literature, world history, studio art, strong SAT scores and graduated in 1986 in the middle of her class.

    She was accepted to UC Santa Barbara and took a year off before entering, to work. She entered college as a painting major in 1987 in the College of Creative Studies, which allowed her to “skip” most general education classes and enter directly into upper division work. Classes were all Pass-Fail. Lisa says, " As in earlier years, I continued to be a fine illustrator and painter of realism. A submitted painting was selected for the college’s Juried Art Exhibition. I loved my art history studies, literature, and did very well in my two years of Italian language courses in the Letters & Science College. What I was lacking was inspiration and vision that would push me beyond my good draftsmanship and into 'artiste'. I was undeveloped, and perhaps immature. After two years of uninspired yet proficient artwork, I decided to switch to the literature discipline at CCS. It’s there that I thrived. I enjoyed voraciously reading and writing and developed a love for the great English Novelists of the 18th and 19th centuries as well as Chaucer and Shakespeare". Lisa took a year of Italian language in preparation to study art in Venice. Instead, she went to Hungary in her 4th year (1990). This was when the Eastern block nations had just become open to the West; the Berlin Wall had just fallen. Lisa says, " Taking the less easy route, I chose to live away from my fellow American classmates and opted for a flat with two Hungarian students. We took school trips throughout Hungary, Austria, and the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. I took two trips on my own to Venice, and one to Berlin. There was an abundance of art and architecture to experience that was only seen in textbooks back home. I survived a bread riot, taxi strikes, a pick-pocketing, and the frustrations of standing in long lines to obtain the most basic of necessities. Without over-dramatizing, I feel my stay in Eastern Europe was transformational". She graduated in 1991 with a strong GPA in Creative Studies with an emphasis in literature. In 2001, Lisa began taking post-baccalaureate classes in premedical sciences in San Diego to complete her prerequisites for entry into Naturopathic medical school.

    Lisa says, "During my 6 years living in Telluride, I volunteered year-round for arts organizations, festivals, and fundraisers. These include Arts Coordinator for the Telluride Mountain Film Festival; Volunteer Coordinator for the Jazz Celebration; Assistant to the Director of the AIDS Benefit Fashion Show; Seamstress for The Rep’s production of “Hair” the musical; and volunteer support roles for the Bluegrass Festival, Wine Festival, and Film Festival. In total, I did 1,000+ hours of volunteer work in Telluride, and enjoyed close to every minute". She organized the artists and hung their shows and organized the AIDS benefit fashion show, to the point of designing clothing for the event. In 1990-91, Lisa worked with Girls, Inc coaching basketball and teaching arts and crafts after school to elementary and junior high school girls. She was a nanny in 1992 for 6 months.

    Lisa volunteered at ER/ICU at Scripps, La Jolla in November 2000. She says, "I became more familiar with healthcare environment, the roles workers played, the technology, and the concerns of the patients. After a few months in the ICU I moved over to the ER. I was hooked". After visiting New York City post-911, her motivation transformed into resolve. She resigned as Creative Director of the internet startup, and started taking pre-medical classes fulltime. She says, "Being back in school as a mature, dedicated student with vision was supremely satisfying. I continued volunteering until I reached the one-year mark, then took a paid clerical position in the ER. I learned an incredible amount and became interested in biology, anatomy and physiology. I also received a mini-certificate in Phlebotomy from Mesa College. I worked 20 hr/wk on the graveyard shift in ER and attended college. After one year in this position, I began working as a unit secretary 24 hr/wk in mornings and evenings. This position is fast-paced and demanding, as it involves coordination of all physicians' orders and non-RN prescribed care for every patient in the department, while handling the ER phones. The shifts are 12 hours with sometimes no lunch break. I have learned to deal with high stress, and developed -multi-tasking skills!"

    Lisa says, "In the spring of 2004, I enrolled in an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B) course and excelled. I found every aspect fascinating, from medical emergencies and trauma, to in-class labs and patient assessment. My experience in the ER enhanced the success I had learning a large amount of material on emergency medical response. I passed the National Registry exam, receiving certification as an EMT-B. With my new certification, I became a Critical Care Technician in the ER. The ability to act directly with patients to help doctors and RNs in critical situations is gratifying. The excitement, stress, fast-pace and constant challenges fits my personality. As the Scripps La Jolla ER is a Level II Trauma Center, we receive trauma patients from a large coastal region in San Diego, including Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. I assist in the care of these patients, and respond to hospital Code Blues with the ER physician."

    Lisa enjoyed helping kids in science camps for many years where she learned she could apply psychology to human behavior. In high school, she thought about a career in design—fashion, architecture, graphics, etc., and loved building things with her hands. She dreamed of becoming a famous painter, but lacked the drive to fulfill that dream. By her third year of college, she found that literature was a more social activity compared to studio art, which is more solitary. Her back-up position was to become an elementary school teacher. By 1991, she no longer felt she would be an artist, writer or teacher.

    Lisa says that in the 1990's, "It was in New Orleans that I first met the healthcare workers that piqued my interest in medicine. Being that New Orleans is home to well-known universities and medical schools, I socialized with 2 doctors my own age who graduated from Tulane and worked in a hospital and in a state psychiatric facility. My cousin’s boyfriend was an ER tech in a busy Midtown hospital. Their stimulating careers and the day-to-day challenges they faced fascinated me. They were helping patients and families at some of the patients' most fragile moments. Whether diagnosing the cause of a baby’s sudden death, or finding the right combination of therapeutic drugs to make a schizophrenic’s life tolerable, they were doing meaningful work. Social and family life were also vibrant, as I saw them playing in bands, raising kids, going to festivals and having fun. Having grown up in a family devoid of healthcare workers, and having frankly placed physicians on pedestals, I naively thought when you chose this career, you did so at the sacrifice of your family and social life. It was eye-opening for me."

    Upon return to San Diego after a 13-year absence, Lisa says, "I took a job as the Creative Director of an internet startup in San Diego. I believed in the business: 4 interactive online lifestyle management programs to help people lose weight, quit smoking, control alcohol and manage stress. I learned a lot about behavior modification techniques that aid people in breaking their addictions; techniques that had proven successful for years when these programs were presented in seminars throughout the US. When reading the testimonials of people who successfully mitigated their destructive habits and gained back life control, I could feel how immensely they had changed. The health and confidence they acquired from these preventive health measures could save many from high blood pressure, migraines, lung cancer, heart attacks, liver disease, depression, and the loss of close relationships. These techniques didn’t even require invasive medical procedures or pharmaceutical drugs. Inspired, I knew I wanted to achieve something meaningful by helping people like this on a personal basis in healthcare. I personally wanted to help people on a level that would change, and even save their lives."

    Lisa's own doctor was a wonderful role model; he was great at education and bedside manner. She trusted him and wanted to be like him and started to consider medicine as a career. In 1999, her grandparents, a close friend and a Mentor died. She re-evaluated her future. With doctor friends at Tulane Medical School (psychiatrist, pediatric surgeon and ER tech), whom she observed, Lisa saw a have/have-not society and wanted to do something for those who are socially disadvantaged. Lisa gets satisfaction from helping people.

    Lisa says, "My reasons for choosing the Naturopathic specialty are partly a result of my ER experiences. I saw many patients requiring immediate help in the ER who should never be there. Alcoholics, drug addicts, the mortally obese, emphysemic smokers, the depressed, and people who have refused to seek regular medical checkups until they are in emergent health situations. Preventive healthcare is undeniably necessary to maintain good physical and mental health. I am a proponent of proper nutrition and exercise as preventive medicine. Naturopathic medicine strongly emphasizes nutrition, and many schools offer a concurrent Masters in Nutrition with their ND".

    Lisa is a mature hard worker whose persistence, commitment, and motivation have led to completion of a BA degree with a strong GPA. Lisa worked for many years to raise funds for social issues (e.g. AIDS), likes adventure, and is a risk-taker. She is very creative. I have known Lisa for over 5 years as my Advisee. During that time, we considered several medical professions, but Lisa has found her niche in Naturopathic medicine. As she says, " There are people who are interested in alternative and non-surgical approaches to their health problems, and more insurance companies are finally realizing that the success of therapies like acupuncture, nutritional counseling, and even herbal therapies are far cheaper than surgeries and pharmaceuticals. People have also chosen alternative therapies to radiation and chemotherapy in the treatment of cancers. "

    She says, "I use an acupuncturist to manage migraines and pain. Having had recurrent pain for over 15 years, I decided to see an acupuncturist. At the same time, I visited a medical specialist. After 5 needle treatments and 4 herbal tinctures by the LAc, and a battery of lab tests, two CAT scans with contrast, and an invasive procedure by the MD, on the same day the acupuncturist and physician specialist came up with the exact same diagnosis! This was reassuring. While my insurance company paid $375 to my LAc, I suspect they were disappointed to have to shell out $4,000 to my specialist."

    Last summer, the hospital ER recognized Lisa with a "Values in Action" award when a patient said, "Lisa went out of her way to make me feel comfortable and calm during my painful experience. She reassured me everything was going to be okay." I leave you with Lisa's words: "I am eager to learn more about Naturopathic Medicinal techniques and the research done at Naturopathic Colleges, often in partnership with traditional medical colleges. Being able to treat my patients in such a way that will keep them out of operating rooms and functioning on an optimally-healthy level will give me the satisfaction that I desire in my career."

    GO Lisa!

    Alumni Update:
    Dr. Glenn Valenzuela, entering Class of 1999, Stanford University Medical School, completed one year rotating Internship in Boston and is currently in the Stanford University Hospital Anesthesiology Residency Program

    Dr. Valenzuela writes:
    "Hi Dr. Lewis,
    Sorry for the previously short messages. It's been a rather tough week in the ORs (I've been working daily with some big anesthesia fishes -Shafer, Rosenthal, Brock Utne, Saidman, yadda yadda) and their "pimping" sessions have been torrential to say the least. It's nerve wracking enough trying to maintain the patient's stability and remain vigilant during the operations, but anticipating that an onslaught of puzzling questions await does not do the digestive system any good. Fortunately, I have a vast reservoir of ego from which to draw from. . . just kidding :). I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures of Eneko- he is indeed a cutie pie if I may say so myself. My wife Itziar & he (see photo to the left) are in Pais Vasco (Basque region of Spain) right now, and I'll be joining them next weekend when I start my vacation. I miss them tremendously and cannot wait to dive into some tasty local cuisine. As an epicurean yourself, you're aware that those Basques know how to cook! In fact, Itziar has set up a neat experience when I get there: we'll be having dinner in a txoco (pronounced "choh- ko"- a traditional Basque gastronomic eating society where membership is ultra exclusive and usually passed down from father to son. . . and these days, fathers to daughters). I'm salivating just thinking about it.

    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

I see similar questions on secondary/supplemental applications at several medical programs--can I reuse (recycle) my answers?

As with the answer to many questions in this process, YES. . . and NO.

I am not trying to be difficult!

Each health professions school wants an answer directed to their specific question. . . but, remember that the audience who reads your secondary essays are DIFFERENT people at each school. They each come with biases, with perspectives and a different school culture! So, yes, you could re-use some of the information for answering, for example:

The question may be phrased a little differently at several schools, but your basic answer is the same.
However, what needs to change is how you interact with each school. Both writing of secondary essays and interviewing is part of a "mutual wooing, or dating" process. You want the schools to know that YOU know about their specific programs where you will contribute to their educational environment--like small group Problem-Based Learning or organ system approach where YOU have specific expertise!! The more SPECIFIC you can be in tailoring your answer to that school, specifically, the better off you are! And for the second question, know about the school's programs that address diversity: community-based medicine projects, an MPH degree, electives in clinical rotations, medical student-run free clinics. . . all where you may wish to participate. . . because you bring some ethnic, language, disability, educational, service or other diversity piece to the pie (so to speak!).

So, yes, you can recycle some answers. . . while also tailoring those answers to THAT SPECIFIC school! That approach makes the difference between an "ok" essay and one that stands out!

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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