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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
5 Issue 5
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
| Andrea Dalve-Endres MSY4, Harvard
(see May 2002 for her Success Story)
Mar 21, 2006
| Joseph Allen, MD, also talented
in art and acting !!
Family Practice and Sports Medicine (see September 2002 for his Success Story)
Dear Friends, Mentors, and Colleagues,
d a t e s & r e m i n d e r s
Learn to manage your stress--FREE
Dr. Brian Alman: Using Self-hypnosis for Weight Loss, Smoking, Pain Control, Anxiety, Depression and Healing
Friday June 16, 2006 5-6 and 6:30-7:30 PM
Kaiser Positive Choice Wellness Center 858 573-0090
You need to call to reserve you seat.
Especially helpful are Dr. Alman's relaxation and stress management skills development for prehealth students taking the MCAT, DAT, or GRE exam.
Touro University-California OPEN HOUSE, located on historic Mare Island in the northeast portion of San Francisco Bay, will be hosting an Open House that includes all of their colleges Tuesday, May 16th, 5:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This is the first open house that involves the entire university community:
College of Osteopathic Medicine
College of Pharmacy
College of Health Sciences (MSPAS and MPH)
College of Education
This offers the perfect opportunity to get up-close and personal with the Deans of each of the Colleges to discuss your future and personal goals. Admissions and financial aid information will be available and you can take a tour of our Mare Island Campus. For more information, phone toll free (888) 652-7580 or website tu.edu.
Medical School Grading Systems
GSA Reporter spring 2006, Susan Brenner MSY4 U Iowa (source)
The overwhelming majority of medical students prefer a P/F system for the first 2 years of medical school. The environment, stress level, and overall psychosocial well-being of students improve when the pressure of letter grading during the transitional years of medical school is relieved. The main concerns with the P/F system are: What will be the impact on performance? (Will we slack off?"), How will we receive feedback? How will we distinguish ourselves if we're going into a competitive specialty?
s u c c e s s s t o r i e s
by Dr. Cynthia Lewis
University of Colorado School of Pharmacy, Year 2
family moved from Uzbekistan, where she was born, to Moscow, where she grew
up, when she was age 3. Her father painted murals both for the government
and privately, including at universities. In the U.S., he has a sign business.
Irina's mother earned a degree in economics in Russia where she worked for
the government. In the U.S., she is a dental assistant. Her older brother
is a computer network administrator.
In the autobiography Irina wrote for me she says, "From the time I could remember, my usual days consisted of drawing, cleaning the house, helping mother in the kitchen, and solving a few math problems. Art was introduced by my father who was a well-known artist in the former Soviet Union. Some of his artwork still remains in buildings, but others were torn down after the fall of the Soviet Union." By age 7, Irina's parents taught her reading, writing and math at home. The seeds of interest in a health career were sewn early. She says, "At the age of five, my family lived with our grandparents; my grandfather had diabetes. At that time, Mikhail Gorbachev was the president of the USSR. My grandfather, though ill, enjoyed watching the news every day. In August 1991, there was an unsuccessful military coup in the USSR. We thought that our flight to America would have to be canceled. Luckily, in October 1991, we came to America, two months before the fall of the Soviet Union. My grandfather became extremely sick when we packed our luggage and sold all of our belongings. After much stress, he would end his sentences by saying 'I don’t care what happens to me; all I care is that I get my children across the oceans and into America.' I arrived to America at the age of 7 and discovered the hardships of life. From week one upon arrival to the US, my grandfather spent 9 months in the hospital without seeing this land. My parents traded shifts to spend days and nights with him in the hospital. Neither of my parents could work because of that and because of the recession in 1991. As soon as I began to comprehend English, I began to stay at the hospital for several nights to comfort my grandfather and serve as a translator. The doctors amputated his left leg and he got gangrene. Later, the doctors decided to amputate his right leg. By March 1992, I could no longer look at him because he was no longer the happy person I remembered him as. In July 1992, my grandfather passed away."
Due to extreme bias against Jews in Russia, Irina's family immigrated to the U.S. She says, "We were harassed and exposed to hatred from our neighbors, classmates, and even teachers in Russia. My brother’s classmates threw rocks at him on his way to school. To make things worse, it was almost impossible for a Jew in Russia to get into a college or university, even if one had excellent qualifications."
For most immigrants to the U.S., the transition into a new culture and language is difficult. This was true for Irina's family as they were allowed to carry only $400 total out of Russia and entered the U.S. with $5. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society gave them loans to get started in their new life. Irina says, "I was both mesmerized and afraid of what the future in this country would be like for my family and me. I kept wondering if I would learn the language and speak so fluently and easily as did the born Americans. I speculated whether or not I would get into a good college and be strong enough to climb the mountain that life chose for the future. Upon entering elementary school, I began to encounter my first challenges in this new land. I remember my facial expression on the first day of school when the children were learning their ABC’s and putting words like “is not” and “will not” together. I thought they were geniuses, unlike me, who had no clue how to write my name in English, nor could I ask for help. My self-esteem was low, and now, as I turn my memories back 12 years, I remember how I ran out the door from my class, bursting into tears and misery from not being able to communicate with my fellow classmates and the teacher. I felt that there would be no sign of communication for the rest of my life, surrounded by strangers so different than me. Not until later did I understand the full meaning behind a powerful message: keep trying no matter what."
Perhaps, Irina's strong initiative and work ethic, common in many first generation immigrants, can be illustrated by a story: Irina says, "I clearly remember being chosen as the best girl runner in 1st grade and competing for my school. We placed 2nd only because my opponent decided to trip me. I have to admit that this has now become a part of my soul. With a scraped and a bleeding knee, I stood up and ran as fast as possible. It meant to be fearless about what I have to conquer and working hard to realize my goals no matter how high I set them. Not a day goes by without me consciously saying to myself to keep working hard. I tried to learn 'their' language and make it my own. The journey, nonetheless, has been hard, but I want to succeed." Irina is a fast learner. By 3rd grade in the U.S. she told her ESL teacher she didn't need ESL. Irina says, "My teacher was an immigrant too who enjoyed teaching me English grammar. It seemed that we had switched roles; I became the teacher and she became the student. I will never forget how I taught her how to spell the word 'shadow'!
Irina skipped 6th grade because she was not challenged, continued to earn A's and was nominated by her peers as "most likely to succeed". In 8th grade, Irina says, "Mr. Fox, would always put me in the spotlight. He would make me get up on the table in front of the class and dance to demonstrate new vocabulary words."
Irina is especially proud that her art has been recognized as she grew up. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society selected her drawing in the "My American Dream" Children's Art Calendar Content to exhibit in New York. And, her 7th grade art teacher selected her to videotape for broadcast to Europe. Irina took 6 AP courses in high school earning one year of freshman composition, one year of macro/microeconomics, a year of calculus and differential equations and a term of statistics, a total of 21 semester units of college credit. She graduated from high school in 2002 ranked 22 of 392 peers. Irina was on her varsity tennis team, was named MVP and received the Youth tennis San Diego Award. She was selected for 4 scholarships and 7 awards, including the selective California Governor's Scholarship.
Irina considered careers in economics due to encouragement by a high school teacher and dentistry because her mother is a dental assistant. She worked in a dental office for a year, but found it was not satisfying. Instead, she looked to her grandmother and aunt as role models who had their own Pharmacy practices in Russia. And, Irina's uncle and cousin are pharmacists in the U.S. Upon entering college, Irina took on 3 pharmacy volunteer positions: in a community setting, in a hospital and at the UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic. From these experiences, she became passionate about becoming a pharmacist. She learned something of the breadth and depth of the profession in a very short time.
Irina continues to care about immigrant, indigent and other disadvantaged populations. She translated for Russian immigrants in medical offices and painted low-income houses. And, she was the primary illustrator for the book "Diabetes" printed in Russian.
Irina is so eager to practice pharmacy that she applied with just 2 years of college courses with AP and community college work. This made us focus to complete the prerequisites for a limited number of pharmacy programs for the Class of 2004. But, Irina was ready for pharmacy school then. She is energetic and focused on pharmacy for the appropriate reason of making a difference in the health of the most at-risk people.
Irina's strengths include: well developed problem-solving skills, ambition, she is hardworking, bilingual with some fluency in Spanish, bicultural, dependable and organized. I leave you with Irina's words, "It took many years to build and heal my life and be the person that I am today. For me, the feelings of despair and loneliness arose when the words ‘I will never see my birth place again’ were uttered. I had to learn one of life’s harder lessons; the lesson of breaking the path of our past from that of our future. With regret and excitement we set out to find new life in a world beyond the ocean; a world in which freedom from identification as a Jew and equal opportunity would rule our futures. I thank God and everyone who has played a role in my life for achieving what I possess and for being the person I am today."
On April 27, 2006, Irina wrote:
"The past 2 years have been an adventure; moving to Colorado, attending pharmacy school, getting married. Being part of University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) School of Pharmacy, has given me much insight into what a pharmacist does. I have enjoyed the clinical experiences and didactic sessions.
Since the first semester of pharmacy school, we have visited community pharmacies where we help the pharmacist contact patients who haven’t picked up medications, verify drug inventory, counsel patients in the OTC (over-the-counter) aisles, and analyze drug compliance trends. Also, before flu season, we administered flu vaccines at community pharmacies.
At the Veterans Affair Medical Center inpatient pharmacy, I worked alongside the pharmacist to look through inpatient drug profiles, check disease states, drug-drug interactions, and drug-disease interaction, adverse reactions, calculate dosages, and recommend medication for a patient to be discharged. This has provided me with a better understanding of an inpatient pharmacist’s day.
Clinical pharmacists teach us about disease states such as renal insufficiency, cardiovascular diseases, oncology, asthma, central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, etc. Their lectures have given much insight into the thought processes behind running a clinic and how to appropriately assess, treat (using published guidelines), and monitor patients. Often lectures run 8 hours a day – remember pre-pre-pharm/med/health professional days?
Of course, attending school closer to family and friends would be great. Moving to Denver from San Diego was not easy. I also miss having free time; with exams every Monday, my weekends are crammed with … cramming. This makes it seem like we’re in school everyday of the week. Hopefully, during our fourth year in pharmacy school, we’ll be able to rotate in places and settings that interest us anywhere in the world – like exotic, exciting, sunny San Diego. "
Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to communicate about medical schools or other issues or to contact those profiled in Success Stories: firstname.lastname@example.org
q u e s t i o n o f t h e m o n t h
by Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD
I have had a few students ask me how to proceed with taking the August MCAT. If you are planning on retaking the MCAT in August, but have a current MCAT score, can you indicate your intention to retake the exam and will updated MCAT scores be sent to your designated schools?
If you have not taken the MCAT but will be sitting the exam in August, can you still submit your AMCAS application without an MCAT score?
From AAMC AMCAS Staff:
In both instances, the applicant can submit the AMCAS application and indicate that he/she plans to take the MCAT in August. Once the scores become available, those scores will be made available to the schools to which the applicant has applied.
NOTE: THe August 2006 exam is the final paper exam. Multiple dates will be available starting January 2007 for the computer-based MCAT.
We will feature an important question each month. Please submit one that interests you for Dr. Lewis to answer. Send your questions to email@example.com with newsletter question in the subject line.
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