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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 6 Issue 9
September 2007

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!

How to Communicate With Us

Class of 2008

Track Record

Be Competitive

Important News: Secondary Application Question; Response to Sicko

Useful Links: MCAT eligibility; Dr. Flowers' Test Prep

Alumni Update, Photo: Dr. Jonathan Bloom, Anesthesiology Residency; Darcy Thompson, USC School of Medicine; Zaihleen Keller, Entering class 2007, Rosalind Franklin School of

Success Story of the Month: Janelle Pieros, A. T. Still College of Osteopathic Medicine, Mesa Arizona, Entering Class of 2007

Question of the Month: How do I relax if I am Type A? (including taking tests like the MCAT, DAT, etc.)

Our Services


Welcome to Lewis Associates!

We are settled into our temporary office while our permanent office is built on the Central Coast of California. The construction crew is working beyond expectations and we are ahead of schedule!

The fall is exceedingly busy, with all of the application cycle "stuff to do", and the last MCAT's of 2007 around the corner; DATs, GREs, PCATs, etc. Contact us to find out how we can support YOUR application or help you plan for a future application to be successful.

August 26, 2007 - Construction crew completed installing dry wall and now is tiling floors and installing cabinetry.

NEW Mailing Address

1885 Laguna del Campo, Templeton, CA 93465

NEW Phone

805 226-9227

Other changes
Lewis Associates now absorbs Long Distance Charges

All appointments/phone conferences will be made from our office to you. Meagan, our new Administrative Assistant, will call YOU at your appointment time and transfer you to Dr. Lewis.

Faxing documents to Dr. Lewis, Lewis Associates 805-226-9227
When faxing documents during office hours 8am to 4pm, (PST), you must first call the office 805-227-9669 so the fax can be switched on. During non-office hours, the fax is automatically connected.

Overnight/Express Mail Packages
At this time Lewis Associates is only able to receive expedited mail from the United States Post Office, no special Ground Services like UPS/FEDEX/DHL

      When sending an expedited package, please use usps.com. Click on mailing tools, then mailing products & services. The standard overnight pricing begins at $14.40. Please remember to give this information to your Letter of Recommendation writers!

Where are you in your journey to a health profession?

In high school? (yes, we advise high school students, particularly, those interested in BA-MD programs)

Just starting college?
This is a scary time.  Everything is new…and how do I meet all those new expectations?

Moving into your difficult upper division sciences as a junior? Possibly, the "dreaded organic chemistry"…

Re-entering as an "older" non-traditional student? Re-establishing academic discipline…

We help prepare those of you submitting applications for medical and dental residency programs, too!

Whatever niche you fit, we advise students just like you.

Class of 2008:
If you haven't yet gotten all of your letters of recommendation/evaluation to your letter service or written your application personal statement, then you are way...BEHIND!

Are you REALLY ready to apply this year?
How do you know?
Use our Personal Assessment--and you will be given your personal strategy and path to your future!

Many whom I advise may not yet be 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!

Let's work together to make that one-time application successful…earlier is better so we can develop your strategy and address all those difficult problems…months or even years prior to application. Why not set yourself up for success, rather than toy with the proposition of failure?

Thanks from an Ex-Prosecuting Attorney, now medical student
Background: John was an Assistant State’s Attorney (prosecutor) in Chicago, Illinois, when he 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

Thanks from Lily Marouf, entering into Sackler University Medical school in Tel Aviv Fall 2007: 
"Dear Dr. Lewis, thank you for all of your help over the past year.  It was one of the most challenging years of my life and I could not have been successful without you. I appreciate all of your support and patience and look forward to sharing many memories with you when I come back to the States.  Love, Lily"

What's 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!

Track Record
CLASS OF 2007... 94% acceptance to medical, dental and MS/MPH programs plus 2/2 applicants accepted into residency programs of their choice.
92% of our Class of 2006 applicants were accepted! (2 more 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 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. If you use advising with Dr. Lewis, you will find that we begin preparation early in the year BEFORE submission of your application!

EARLY is always better, removes much pressure, and allows time to solve unforeseen problems.

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 one 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.


Secondary application question:
"How am I unique?...or How have I met challenges?" secondary question used by Stanford (and many other schools)

The Committee on Admissions regards the diversity of an entering class as an important factor in serving the educational mission of the school. The Committee on Admissions strongly encourages you to share unique, personally important, and/or challenging factors in your background, such as the quality of your early educational environment, socioeconomic status, culture, race, ethnicity, or life or work experiences. Please discuss how such factors have influenced your goals and preparation for a career in medicine.

We have learned a few things over the years we have used this question

  1. Essentially every applicant writes an answer to this optional question, usually with more "personal" details than the personal statement.
  2. Applicants read our intent in asking the question correctly - your unique experiences shape your world view, and Stanford is interested in how you will bring diverse views to our learning environment.
  3. Applicants who answer this question seriously sometimes realize that everyone has biases and can be subject to bias, and write about it. We think people who are in touch with themselves and their biases make excellent clinicians.
  4. Personally important factors can describe both the distance traveled and the amazing personal growth that characterize the stories of people who have experienced bias and took the opportunity to reflect on these experiences.
  5. The question signals to applicants that we embrace diversity in the broadest context, and when asked they appreciate the opportunity to tell a more personal part of their story to an audience that will be receptive.

Every time we have made an admissions decision that has been relied heavily on the quality of the personal statement or the answer to this question, it has been because we want this applicant's unique voice in our classrooms and clinics. We are going to keep it.

Gabriel Garcia, MD
Professor Of Medicine
Associate Dean of Medical School Admissions

From a Lewis Associates Class 0f 2008 California Premedical applicant, responding to Dr. Lewis' challenge about Michael Moore's Sicko:

"Hi Dr. Lewis,
As a premed student, I (with peer health or the premed club) plan on hosting a screening of Sicko.  I was planning on passing out fliers or tabling at the different fairs/events we have in the community and at ..name of university. 

Hopefully, I will be at a California medical school so that I can learn more about Schwarzenegger's health care plan for California.  It sounds like it is a step in the right direction, but there are some issues with the plan: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6749432

The AMSA fellowship sounds interesting.  At AMSA, I would be able to work towards advising agencies/companies/the government on steps they can take to make universal health care possible.

As a doctor, I plan on volunteering at free clinics and continuing working with organizations that are focused on universal health care.   At this point, I am not sure how I will accomplish this, but I know I will. 

This is a sad, but hopeful time!"

8/23/07 unveiled a 3-year AMA campaign to focus public attention on the need to expand health insurance coverage to more of the nation's 45 million uninsured patients. The first phase of the "Voice for the Uninsured" campaign asks those planning to vote in the 2008 election to urge their elected leaders to reform our nation's health care system—and ensure that more people have access to health insurance. Using the theme "Because 1 out of 7 is 45 million too many," the campaign features real physicians and uninsured patients to illustrate the human side of this problem.

E-mail means fewer patient calls and visits
Despite concerns that online consults are not usually reimbursed, e-mail advocates say the technology offers greater practice flexibility, time efficiencies and marketing power. http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2007/08/27/bil20827.htm

Arbitrate, not litigate:
A growing and popular alternative to lawsuits

"Whispering strokes" often go unheard, but still cause damage


Posted on the AAMC Web page is a listing of medical schools accepting the September 2007 MCAT administrations for application to the 2008 entering class. This list will be updated periodically.

Test Prep useful for students who cannot afford other programs but really need some quality test prep time.

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

alumni updates
Alumni in Boston and Los Angeles

Jonathan Bloom

From His mother, Cindy Wilkins 8/1/07:
"Just got back from my first visit to Boston.  Jon just loves it there.  Can you believe he is in his third year of Anesthesiology residency?  Wanted to send you this picture.

(Read Jonathan's December 2001 Success Story)

June Yoshii on the Great Wall of China

Jonathan Bloom with mother Cindy Wilkins in Boston

From Darcy Thompson
MSY 2, University of Southern California Medical School
" I live in Pasadena Mon-Fri and usually go home to Carlsbad on the weekends.  Some weekends I stay up here and study (like this one).  Third year has been hectic already, but I absolutely LOVE it.  I definitely had my doubts after two years of classwork.  Sitting in lecture was definitely not my forte.  I was not sure if the sacrifice was all worth it.  After two weeks in the hospital I was reassured that I had made the right decision.  I really like the work. 

I hope you have a great summer.  I'm sure you're busy with the next class getting ready to submit applications in a month. 

Talk to you soon,


Darcy at her White Coat Ceremony

'Roar' The Jeep's Trip to Medical School

Roar #1It’s me Roar…Zai’s jeep. I’m emailing you all to tell you about my new adventure! I’m going to medical school! Well, actually Zai is going to medical school, but I get to take her there each day…well actually it is really hot right now and the air-conditioned Honda gets to take her. BUT you know it will get cold, and then it will be ALL ABOUT ME and my 4x4 capabilities!



Roar # 2We had quite an adventure moving here from California. Chris and Zai (in their infinite wisdom…ha!) decided to pack up a 26’ truck, hook me up to the back of it on a tow carrier, and drive across the country. Thank goodness they have great friends who helped them load the truck in Berkeley! Here is a picture of our huge truck.

In case you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting me, I’m the good looking one in the back!

Roar #3

All was fine until night-fall on our first day. We were about an hour and a half past Reno, NV when the wheel on my tow trailer bent. I was sound asleep, dreaming about rugged terrain and boom smoke everywhere. Of course Zai didn’t even notice and pulled me and the broken trailer along. Thank goodness a scary-looking, kind fellow made us pull over. Burning rubber smells terrible!

Chris and Zaihleen

Take care,

PS~ Chris and Zai send their love too J


Watch for the Success Stories coming for these alumni!

success stories
by Dr. Cynthia Lewis

Janelle Pieros, A. T. Still University--Mesa, Arizona, Entering Class of 2007
Janelle Pieros' White Coat Ceremony

Janelle was born in Lander, Wyoming, a rural area, and moved at age 5 to the Imperial Valley, an agricultural community with a high proportion of Mexican Americans.  Her Italian American father was a coal miner, now retired, who then worked for the Imperial Irrigation District as a mechanic.  He hurt his back, had surgery and has a disability retirement.  Her Mexican mother's family is from Sonora, Mexico and has a 2-year RN degree. She is staff coordinator at the El Centro Regional Medical Center.  Janelle's older sister earned her RN and works in OB at the Medical Center.  Her younger sister attends Imperial Valley College and started the RN program this fall.  Janelle's mother speaks both Spanish and English at home; it is a truly bicultural family. 

Janelle attended public elementary school in El Centro through 6th grade, attending the GATE gifted program where she did extra projects.  She enjoyed science, California history in 4th grade, and writing, but did not do much reading outside of school and continued in the GATE program through 12th grade. She attended Central Union HS and was co-captain of the drill team, which did local competitions and played center field in varsity softball for 4 years, going to CIF playoffs twice!  Janelle was in the key club, giving service at convalescent homes and was a candy striper at a local hospital 100 hours. Her church youth group did outreach trips to Mexicali frequently. In college, Janelle volunteered with the EAOP clinics in Ensenada for Flying Samaritans and did Spanish interpreting monthly.  AP biology, pre-calculus, chemistry, no physics and 3 years of Spanish and graduated in 1999 with a strong GPA and mediocre SAT scores. 

Janelle applied to all the UC campuses due to a fee waiver and was accepted to UCSD, UCR, UCD, and selected UCSD because it was close to home.  She attended the Summer Bridge program learning new study skills and about UCSD resources, OASIS, clubs and administrative information.  She made a good group of friends in the summer bridge who she studied with that first year, lived in the dorm, worked 10 hr/wk as a Mentor and tutoring Spanish at the charter junior high.  Financial aid was crucial to support attending UCSD. 

That year, Janelle first realized that she was "different", as a Mexican American and felt some culture shock with all the Asian and Caucasian students.  Her summer bridge staff signed her up for OASIS for her first year classes.  As first in her family to attend a 4-year college, Janelle had to learn time management and new skills, which was a challenge.  She used all the resources, including clubs like AED and IVF, SOMA. Janelle took the required calculus and chemistry classes, learning how to do well in them, and built her confidence.  In summer 2000, she returned home and took 2 GE classes at the local community college. Here, she worked full time doing health histories and shadowed her Argentinean pediatrician in El Centro.  She spoke with Spanish-speaking patients and learned a lot, and also in her second college summer for a month.  

In her second year at UCSD, Janelle worked at their daycare center 10 hr/wk, used OASIS academic support and volunteered in some clinics.  She continued taking sciences and in her third year, changed to an interdisciplinary major of Human Development because she wanted to study psychology, biology and development.  She continued to work 10 hr/wk at the UCSD daycare as a teacher's aid for ages 1-5 kids. She trained in the UCSD student health service as a student health advocate, taking vitals during her second year and doing High School student preventive medicine education (TEACH). 

In Janelle's 3rd year, became the VP of Students for Osteopathic Medicine Association (SOMA), selecting speakers, and volunteering at the Osteopathic Center for Children. In her 3rd year, she shadowed Dr. Morelli who attends children at OCC (Dr. Thomas worked with adults) and was a scribe for Dr. Thomas 4 hr/wk.  She helped restrain Down's Syndrome kids and enjoyed how Dr. Morelli kept the children entertained during doctor visits.  In her 4th year, she observed the iconic Osteopathic physician Dr. Frymann, which gave her chills--seeing the holistic approach and interaction with patients. In summer 2001, Janelle went to Peru outside Lima on a mission for 2 months, living and working at a missionary school.  She helped build a church, worked with children in a youth program, like doing puppet shows and put the roof on another church.  She loves working with children! 

In her 4th year, she found that she did best in labs, as a kinesthetic learner. For a year, Janelle volunteered as a tutor/Mentor at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church with mostly Hispanic children and teens; tutored all subjects K-12.  She did a thesis in field research required by the human development major of her own selection:  the affect of siblings and gender on conflict resolution in after-school programs.  She found that females responded more emotionally and drew out conflict for days; that males were aggressive, then let it go.  She enjoyed having the freedom to create her own personal curriculum.  And, 2 years ago, Janelle developed a high school health curriculum about nutrition, STDs, etc and taught it. From 3/03-6/03, Janelle volunteered for a chiropractor/PT/nutritionist office, doing PT aide work 4 hr/wk to see if you wanted these careers. She graduated in 2003 with a 3.1 GPA in a BA in human development; slightly lower science GPA. 

She was a survey worker for UCSD pediatrics Dept for 6 month, researching the benefits of implementing the Healthy Start Program at Head Start by doing pre/post tests with preschool children and their parents/teachers.   Janelle launched into a full-time job at the Fusion Learning Center in Solana Beach in 8/03 with about 200 kids K-12+ with Learning Disabilities and ADHD.  This schools teaches classes for school credit and does mentor/tutoring.  Some kids are retaking classes; all must pass a mastery test before moving on.  Janelle taught math up to pre-calculus, science, biology, chemistry, physics; all teaching is one-on-one and personal. After two years at Fusion, she took on the role of department head of foreign language and test prep coordinator. She updated spanish curricula and organizes SAT/ACT prep exams, really enjoying teaching and learning from her students.

Why medicine?
Janelle's mother, a nurse, was her primary role model.  She completed nursing school while Janelle was in elementary school and saw her commitment to career.  By Janelle's second year of college, she started thinking that she wanted to be an osteopathic physician, after hearing about Osteopathy during a SOMA meeting her first year.  Her mission in Peru working with children showed her how much she loves children--they are her passion.  She was treated like a Peruvian due to her darker skin and fluent Spanish skills, and she felt very connected. Janelle likes impacting people personally, especially children and the Hispanic community; and has many years of work and volunteer clinical, teaching and Mentoring experiences that support this. 

Preparation for Class 2007 Application for Medical School
In fall 2002, Janelle took the early bird Kaplan course to prepare for the spring 03 MCAT, but she was not preparing effectively and did not take it.  She studied "on her own" for the 4/04 exam about 20 hr/wk for 12 weeks = 240 hrs, completing all sections. While working full time, she prepared once again "on her own" for the 4/05 MCAT using the early bird Kaplan schedule: 25 hr/wk for 11 week = 275 hrs; mediocre scores where she guessed at 2 passages for each section (not completing).  She studied 8 weeks X 25 hr/wk = 200 hr while working full time for the 8/05 MCAT, also mediocre scores.  She found that interpreting the questions was the hardest part for her. 

Janelle had strong HS grades, is a hard worker academically and follows her heart, selecting an interesting major of human development--a nice balance of science and humanities.  She comes from a rural area where physicians are in great demand. She uses her resources available--academic and personal.  And, in her teaching/mentoring job for 4 years, she saw how those two components are integrated to provide appropriate support.  Janelle in her first year of college learned how to focus and study the appropriate intensity, became goal-directed, and disciplined.  She is highly motivated and focused, and her parents support her.  Being bicultural (Mexican-American) will be helpful to work with the large Hispanic population in California or in almost any state.  Janelle has many years of meaningful clinical and community service volunteer experience, including a mission trip to Peru building churches and teaching children, and at OCC with Drs. Morelli and Thomas. 

From Janelle:
A. T. Still Mesa is a good match for me because of their focus on rural medicine and hands-on learning. I want to practice in a rural or urban area to treat the underserved. A. T. Still Mesa places students after our first year at a community health center to give us contextual learning in the environment where we will learn best."

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

question of the month

by Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD

How do I deal with anxiety? (I am a type A person.)
Question and Answer from Dr. Brian Alman to his newsletter audience:

Are you a racehorse?
Type A people do not know how to quiet their minds.  They are like racehorses; always on the go.  This may be you, a  family member or a co-worker.

If you or anyone you know is like this, look out!

Get ready for INTENSE!

So, how does this kind of mind-set, attitude and personality ever learn how to relax the ways many other people do?  They don't!  Oh, they can try yoga or watching their breath or even star-gazing.  Within moments, the "analyzation" (means paralysis through analysis) takes over...and goes on and on...

Here is one way to relax a racehorse and a Type A person.

By the way, to de-stress, be your best and enjoy your life, it is essential to know how to relax while maintaining the racehorse "edge" at the same time.  It's not either-or; it's both.

Here is just one technique to try out today:  This is 4 steps
Step One: Close your eyes and focus on your exhales only

Step Two: Say your own name to yourself as you exhale

Step Three: Imagine a double-headed racehorse standing right in front of you.  No matter which way you run; left, right, back or forth, the double-headed racehorse will get you.  So, what do you do?

Step Four: Stay completely still.  Be a statue.  Keep saying your own name on your exhales.  Inhale and say, "Please Relax" and exhale your own name.  Continue this for 1-5 minutes.  This is just one way of relaxing your "Inner Racehorse."

If you are using 12% of your brain, the scientists of the world applaud you.  When you relax, you open up the doors to your unconscious (intuition) and can increase that number to 50% or more.

Give yourself 5 minutes a day and watch what happens! 
You'll be better with you and everyone else will thank you, too.

Yours In Health,
Dr Brian Alman
Communicate with Dr. Alman directly: DrAlman@selfhypnosis.com

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.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any friends, classmates, or colleagues you feel would find its contents beneficial.

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