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    Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

    Volume 6 Issue 3
    March 2007
    Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
    Email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com with your comments. Enjoy!

    Spring is around the Bend!

    What's inside:
    Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!

    Important News: NEW Relationship with AustraLearn Study Abroad Programs!; 3 NEW Osteopathic Medical Schools in 2007 Will Help Alleviate Physician Workforce Shortages; Just announced: New procedure for June and July 2007 MCAT registration!

    Useful Links:Loyola University post-baccalaureate programs; Medical Science Master's Program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center

    Alumni Updates: Alumni Photos and More

    Success Story of the Month: Dr. Norma Ramirez, DDS Practicing Dentist!

    Question of the Month: Compliance--what does that mean?

    Our Services


    Get Into Medical School: A Strategic Approach FREE BOOK for New Advisees
    Sign up for an Assessment in March or April and receive a copy of Get into Medical School: A Strategic Approach (A $20 value.) Offer good while supplies last.

    Welcome to Lewis Associates!

    I am off to Chicago tomorrow for a week-long trip to visit most of the local medical schools, a podiatric medical school and some post-baccalaureate programs. It brings back the memory of visiting close to 15 schools in 5 cities during December of 1989. On that trip, I advocated for my applicants just like I will be doing this time. This year, I have the added benefit of getting to spend some time with several alumni who are in training in Chicago.

    I am not sure why as one gets older, time seems to pass more quickly. I am sure there is a philosophical or psychological teaching moment there, but I think it is just a universal "truth". So, as we jet into 2007, where are you in your journey to a health profession? In high school? (yes, we advise high school applicants, particularly, those interested in BA-MD programs) Just starting college? Moving into your difficult upper division sciences as a junior? Re-entering as an "older" non-traditional student? We help prepare those of you submitting applications for medical residency programs too! Whatever niche you are in, we advise students just like you.

    Class of 2008: If you haven't yet started getting your letters of recommendation/evaluation and writing your application personal statement, then you are BEHIND! And, are you REALLY ready for an application? Many whom I advise are really not yet ready and need to develop some aspect of their background to become competitive. Best to apply when you are ready, be competitive and do it ONLY ONCE!

    Thanks from Dr. Adrian Miranda, Class 1994, Faculty at Medical College of Wisconsin

    "I have never really taken the time to express my sincere gratitude for everything you did for me. I have often mentioned your name during talks and to friends and family as the person who was the most influential in my path to success. I can’t tell you how many times my wife has answered that question right on the "newlywed" board game. Without your guidance and support I would never have accomplished my goals. I am so glad to hear you are doing well and I want you to know that I still often think of you and the years at SDSU. I am now married with two children (Alex 3 and Sofia 2). My wife Heidi is from Madison and much to my dismay, she does not plan on moving to California any time soon ... I wish you the best and I hope that you have a wonderful party surrounded by people who love you and whose lives you have changed. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you or your family and please stay in touch."

    Your friend and Protégé,
    Adrian Miranda, M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
    Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatalogy and Nutrition
    Medical College of Wisconsin

    Thanks From Andrea Casillas, entering the Michigan State University ABLE Program in fall 2006
    "Dr. Lewis, Thank you so much. I am very grateful to have had you along my side during this stressful year. I appreciate all your work and patience! I wish you the very best. May God bless you always. Thank you very, very much." Andrea

    Thanks from an Ex-Prosecuting Attorney, now medical student
    Background: John was an Assistant State’s Attorney (prosecutor) in Illinois State Attorney’s office when he first contacted me in 2004. Now in medical school, he says: "I am really enjoying med school, and I am thankful to Dr. Lewis for her help. Her methodical, disciplined approach to the med school application process, as well as her insight into the transition to med school were right on target."
    John Fiszer, University Of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine

    What's New?

    On April 1st, we will be moving offices to the Central Coast of California. Mail will be forwarded for several months and we will have a phone message forwarding calls. We will post on our website the NEW address, phone number, and fax information as soon as it is set, likely in early March.

    Mailing Address
    Our Lewis Associates mailing address is our office address through April 1:
    2727 Camino del Rio South Suite 156, San Diego, CA 92108.

    NEW FREE teleconferencing and videoconferencing. You need to register for free AOL Instant Messaging, and will get free audio and/or video contact with us!!

    In a couple of years, some new books and CD's will be out by Dr. Lewis about preparing for medical and other health professions schools ... keep on the lookout!!

    Harvard Medical School Track Record
    We are proud that 2 of our Class of 2006 applicants were accepted at Harvard Medical School! This brings Dr. Lewis' record to 29 Advisees accepted to Harvard Medical and Dental Schools in the past 22 years! Two more in the Class of 2007 have been interviewed. We shall know their outcome in March 2007.

    Track Record
    92% of our Class of 2006 applicants were accepted! ... and 2 were waitlisted.
    100% of our Class of 2005 applicants were accepted!
    100% of our Class of 2004 applicants were accepted!

    Be Competitive
    In order to be a competitive Class of 2007, 2008, 2009, or 2010 applicant, you need to submit a quality application as evaluated by your clinical, service and other experiences and your GPA/MCAT/DAT/GRE, etc. profile--in a timely fashion. This requires a well thought-out strategy to carry you through the difficult year-long application process. And, if you get advising with Dr. Lewis, you will find out that we begin preparation early in the year BEFORE submission of your application!!

    EARLY is always better and removes much pressure.

    What are your chances?

    If you want to change your career or reach your present career goal, but do not know how to begin, or how to jump over all those hurdles, Lewis Associates will advise and implement strategies to change your life.

    Getting Started
    Read about your Personal Assessment on our website, then phone or email us to get started! We spend on average 7 hours developing an effective strategy of taking you from where you are to where you want to be.

    You may be like our other 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. Maybe you wish to use our hourly advising to solve a specific problem.

    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, podiatrist, naturopathic physician, or pharmacist a reality--Lewis Associates can help you. We have made the difference for almost 800 alumni now practicing in medicine during the last 22 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 preparation and application process.

    Contact the health career 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 Relationship with AustraLearn Study Abroad Programs!
Diversify yourself with a semester or year abroad in Australia or New Zealand

Note from Dr. Lewis: My older daughter did an internship with a graphic design firm and then a term of coursework as a study abroad student in Sydney, Australia in 2001 after our family took a vacation to Australia. She loved it!! Since then, I have visited Australia twice more, including visits to medical schools at U of Sydney and Flinders in Adelaide. Let us know that you have an interest in study abroad so we can discuss AustraLearn!

"I feel this experience helped me become more flexible with my life. While studying abroad I was forced to make many adjustments in a new atmosphere. Studying abroad forced me to meet people from different backgrounds and different parts of the world of which I communicated with on a daily basis. This experience gave me a more diverse view of my peers throughout the world. All of these experiences and many more will help me be a more well rounded person in the future!"
- J. Nusser, semester abroad in Australia

A semester or year abroad in another country will enhance your cultural awareness, increase your adaptability, challenge you to learn through listening and observing, diversify your communication skills, and improve your ability to solve problems, all of which will make you a better doctor, pharmacist, veterinarian, or therapist. Professional health schools also recognize these benefits from study abroad, and an international experience will add depth to your application and interview process.

Studying abroad in Australia and New Zealand allows you to take classes in any area of study at internationally-recognized universities. From organic chemistry and calculus to Indigenous studies and international relations, there are hundreds of great classes available. Credits can be transferred back to your home university, so you will stay on track towards graduation.

As a study abroad student, you will enroll directly into the university, allowing yourself to immerse with locals and international students from around the world. Additionally, you can round out your study abroad experience by joining student clubs, participating in a volunteer project, and traveling around the country on your free time.

The academic year in Australia and New Zealand runs from February to November with semester one being February- June and semester two being July-November. The application deadline for the February intake is November 15, and April 15 for the July intake.

AustraLearn is the leading study abroad provider for educational programs in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. With over 30 universities to choose from, as well as internship and summer opportunities, you’ll have no worries finding the best study abroad option for you. Learn more at australearn.org or contact us at studyabroad@australearn.org or 1-800-980-0033 for more information.

"I think this experience has allowed me to become more independent, more self reliant, better able to cope with changes and challenges that I have not done before. I also think this situation developed my personal self esteem and overall ability to become the person I am inside, by showing personal achievements on the outside."
- R. Willers, semester abroad in Australia

3 NEW Osteopathic Medical Schools in 2007 Will Help Alleviate Physician Workforce Shortages
With the addition of A. T. Still University of Health Sciences in Mesa, Arizona; the Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine of Lincoln Memorial University, in Harrogate, Tennessee; and the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City, a new wave of future osteopathic physicians will be prepared to help meet the nation's increasing health care workforce shortage. These 3 schools are slated to admit their first class in Fall 2007 (Note: several of our Class 2007 applicants have interviewed and been accepted to all 3 of these schools!); two additional schools in the states of Washington and Colorado are planning to open in 2008; and the growth in class sizes at the existing colleges all will help strengthen Osteopathic medicine's ability to provide high-quality health care to patients nationwide. And with Osteopathic medicine's special focus on primary care, especially in rural and urban underserved areas, there will be a greater impact on health and well-being.

Just announced: New procedure for June and July 2007 MCAT registration!
The next round of registration for the new, computer-based MCAT begins Wednesday, February 14, 2007, at 9:00 AM. But due to high volume during registration periods, the AAMC has instituted a regional schedule to accommodate test-takers. To register for the June and July 2007 tests, you must log in on a specific day according to region. Check the chart below and find your region, and log in on the appropriate day to register for the test.
Here's the new registration schedule for the June and July MCAT:

Canada and International 9:00 AM EST
Wednesday, February 14
Southern U.S.
Alabama, Arkansas, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
9:00 AM EST
Friday, February 16
Central U.S.
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
9:00 AM EST
Tuesday, February 20
Northeastern U.S.
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont
9:00 AM EST
Thursday, February 22
Western U.S.
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Guam
9:00 AM EST
Friday, February 23

Clinton, Obama, come out swinging (Chicago Tribune)
Fundraiser's barbs spark war of words.

U.S. Health Care Spending Seen Doubling in 10 Years (Medscape/Reuters)
U.S. spending on prescription drugs, hospital care and other health services is expected to double to $4.1 trillion annually over the next decade, up from $2.1 trillion in 2006, a government report released on Wednesday found.

A New Problem for Farmers: Few Veterinarians (NY Times)
Veterinarians who care for the animals that provide the United States with food are in increasingly short supply.

LECOM Reaches Across Borders (AACOM)
With Global Osteopathic Medical and Public Health Mission Last summer, 12 Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) students participated in the International Medical Society's (IMS) Summer Abroad Program, embarking on a medical mission to help underserved populations in the Dominican Republic. The students were accompanied by Dr. Reza Nassiri, LECOM professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Medical Virology, and Dr. Mark Brown, a medical missionary physician in the Dominican Republic.

New way of training med students touted in NEJM
Doctors from Cambridge Health Alliance, which includes Cambridge Hospital, and Harvard Medical School tout a new way of training medical students in tomorrow's New England Journal of Medicine.

    L I N K S :

    Loyola University Master of Arts in Medical Sciences

    Loyola University Post-Baccalaureate/Pre-Health Program


    Loyola University has two post-baccalaureate programs. One is geared for students with some or none of the undergraduate science courses which are necessary for admission to medical school. The second program, now in its third year, is designed for students who earned above a 3.0 GPA as undergraduates, have scored at least a 25 on the MCAT, and may have applied to medical school, but were not successful. We are careful in selecting applicants who fit Loyola's mission of service; in other words, there's strong evidence of altruism and character. More often than not, their undergraduate GPA is influenced by good values; they made choices based on a desire to engage in the entire college experience. Perhaps their study skills and time management skills needed honing. Maybe a relative died, and in their first encounter with death in the family, they did not have the inner resources yet to get through it. During the course of an intensive one-year curriculum of rigorous graduate-level courses in the biological sciences, their mettle, motivation and talent is definitely put to the test. Students must develop the skills they need in order to be successful. In the first 2 of our classes of graduates about 84% have gained admission to medical school. Anecdotally, students now in medical school seem to be doing very well, and have reported, almost uniformly, that they feel like they've got an advantage over others, since much of what they're learning as MSY1 is review. So much maturing goes on during our year -- empathy, compassion, and self-confidence blossom.

    Medical Science Master's Program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center

    The Master of Science program in Medical Sciences is designed to provide additional opportunities to those individuals who would like to enhance their credentials for entry into medical school by offering a strong, challenging biomedical science core curriculum in the environment of a health science center. The average time to complete the M.S. in Medical Sciences is twelve months (mid-May through mid-May).

    Find these and other useful links on Lewisassoc.com's Links Page.

    a l u m n i   u p d a t e s

    Linda Murray and her Two Daughters

    Linda Murray
    Michigan State University Entering class of 2004
    Linda and her two daughters

    TJ Dhillon , MD
    TJ is an OB-gyn practicing in Madera, California, a rural agricultural area. She writes: "I am beginning the process of building a new office building...!"
    Yay for TJ!

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

    Dr. Norma Ramirez, DDS Practicing Dentist!Dr. Norma Ramirez

"While still in grammar school, I remember wanting to attend college. I would go on field trips to colleges and I knew how important it was to earn good grades. Both my parents are immigrants from Mexico and My father always emphasized education. Because he worked 6 days a week in construction to support 6 children, I remember him saying, 'make sure you get an education because no one can take that away from you.'

I always did well in school, especially in math and science. I also visited patients in convalescent homes, spent time with geriatric patients, and tutored other students. In high school, I took college preparatory courses and considered studying medicine to become a doctor of some sort. In my junior year, I was preparing to take the SAT and remember discussing college options with my parents, but I became discouraged when they said I could not attend college because we could not afford it! My parents had 6 children and my father's work was unstable. None of us knew much about college, and certainly nothing about financial aid. This was my first major roadblock.

My parents had a high school education, so I had no role models for college preparation. That summer before my senior year, I got a job to earn money for college. I worked as many hours as I could, but my grades began to suffer, and I became discouraged about attending a university. My high school counselor recommended attending a local community college.

I graduated from high school and attended that community college, again without a role model or guidance. I did well my first semester, and made the dean's list taking general education courses. The next semester, I started taking math, biology and chemistry while working close to full time. By mid-semester, I was struggling to maintain passing grades. Toward the end of the semester, I was again discouraged. I had earned a few passing grades, but failed calculus, physics, and chemistry. I retook those courses the following semester, but not much changed. This was my second roadblock. I was not going to get into graduate school, or even a university with these poor grades on my transcript. I was in desperate need of some guidance.

I made an appointment to see a career counselor at the community college. My counselor was also a counselor at San Diego State and I told him about my interest in becoming a doctor. We made a strategic plan to transfer to SDSU the following year. He gave me an application to the pre-health HCOP program that had been successful in supporting minority students into medical/dental school and which offered mentoring, tutoring and personal advising. This was exactly what I needed!

I sent in my HCOP application. A few weeks later, I received a denial letter. In the letter were the reasons for my denial and suggestions to become a better applicant for the following year. The letter was signed by Dr. Cynthia Lewis. I transferred to San Diego State the following year and reapplied to Dr. Lewis's program, but this time I hand-delivered my application and made an appointment to review it with Dr. Lewis. I was determined to work hard and follow all her suggestions. I was accepted to the HCOP program on 2 conditions: 1) I had to reduce my work hours and 2) I had to earn a B average in her summer program. That summer, I studied hard, consulted my mentors, used advising, reduced my work hours, learned how to study, used tutoring, and earned all A's. From then on, I had the really important academic and personal resources to succeed.

While in the HCOP/CUHRE program, I worked with students who had similar goals. Together, we tutored and mentored each other through our SDSU career. Dr. Lewis played a vital role in molding us into strong applicants by helping us problem-solve life issues and becoming leaders and role models in our community. At SDSU, I became a leader in our HCOP and in the pre-dental programs. I finally figured out what type of doctor I wanted to be, a dentist. I became President of the Pre-Dental Club, I organized preventive dentistry trips to local elementary schools and orphanages in Mexico, and eventually Mentor Coordinator. As a leader, I was a better applicant for dental school.

The third roadblock I experienced was during my application to dental school. I was wait-listed. It was the most difficult roadblock I had faced so far. I was so close, and had made it so far, but was not accepted. My "plan B" was to reapply the following year. With the help of Dr. Lewis (my Advisor) and Mr. Philip Aftoora (Case Western Reserve University's Director of Student Affairs), we began building a stronger application. I had one year to make myself more competitive. I retook the DAT and scored much higher than the national average. I also took courses similar to those in dental school (histology, gross anatomy, microbiology, etc).

Dr. Ramirez with Dr. Phil Aftoora and her parents

The following year, I was accepted to Case Western Reserve Dental School with a 2-year scholarship. After so many years of peaks and valleys, I accomplished my goal, but the hardest challenge was yet to come. Dental school was not easy! The first 2 basic science years were my most difficult because of the large volume of information and the amount of laboratory work. My third and forth years were a bit easier, but presented a different challenge, treating patients clinically with more didactic work. The shear amount of information was huge. After graduating in 2000, I did a one-year residency in Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) at Case/University Hospital, a hospital-based residency focused on implants, cosmetics, and full-mouth rehabilitation. Now, I was ready to practice dentistry.

For the last year and a half, I have been traveling around the US as a private dental contractor for our military. I am excited to now be home in San Diego, practicing dentistry as an Associate. Many valuable life lessons were learned along this long journey. The most valuable is that no obstacle is too great to overcome with motivation and perseverance. But, my journey was not traveled alone. I have many people to thank for their support and encouragement: my family, Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Philip Aftoora, Case Western Reserve University faculty and staff, and all my Mentors along the way.

Note From Dr. Lewis:
Dr. Ramirez is a prime example of someone overcoming difficult barriers, having the resilience to work through many challenges by using support, mostly in the form of peer Mentors and academic enrichment instructors, an Advisor, and health professions school supporters. She is a shining star for mentoring others!

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

Compliance--what does that mean?
We continue our series on "Focus on Professionalism" from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The Professionalism Assessment Form developed by AAMC has a section on responsibility/reliability/accountability, with "Compliance" being the second item on the list. The form indicates inappropriate behavior is "to ignore policies, procedures, rules and regulation, miss required sessions," or "displays inflexibility, rigidly relies on rules to the point of obstructionism." Think about it…do you do either of these to things?

Appropriate behavior is: "follows policies, procedures, rules and regulations; attends required sessions."

One Advisee I worked with in the last few years had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which colored his perception of following school policies. His first misstep was a big one: He ordered a confidential (meaning he was NOT supposed to have access to it) letter of recommendation from a faculty member through his university letter service to be sent to his home. The university caught him and he was suspended from college during his year of application. After meeting with the Dean and doing service, he was re-instated, and graduated. His second misstep was to not take the AAMC "Traffic Rules" seriously, meaning you must select the medical school you will matriculate to and release all other acceptances by May 15th! He held several acceptances at that date, and was given a verbal ultimatum by a Dean of Admissions...accept us NOW or our acceptance is rescinded. He accepted (this was days or weeks past the May 15th posted deadline). His third misstep was to use a campus room for a class party that was specifically dedicated to other uses, and he did not have official permission to use it. Again, he was caught. This time, there were several issues noted in his file, and he was dismissed from the medical school after one term of doing well academically.

Take a short personal test...ask yourself when you flaunted the rules. Be honest...Now that you know that this characteristic is valued, how will you be aware of and follow the rules? Awareness and effective communication skills are really the key here. Ignorance of the rules is never an excuse. You are expected to act as a professional...and will be held accountable. Forewarned is forearmed!

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.

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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