Volume 6 Issue 12
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD., Editor
with your comments. Enjoy!
- Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!
Moved to permanent office!
- How to Communicate With Us
- Changes in Services
- Are You Ready toy Apply in 2009
- Track Record
- Be Competitive
- Featured News:
meeting in Washington DC; AMA
to renew fight for Medicare balance billing; Cancer
found at earlier stages in rural patients
Medical School Application
Fee Assistance Program; Application and Admission Timeline
Shaun Austin, George Washington University Medical
School, MSY 3;
George Washington University Medical School, MSY 1;
Mahassin Abdullah, Universidad
Autonoma de Guadalajara, MSY 2;
Dr. Patrick Linson, MD;
Mr. Dino Guillermo, MS Acupuncture and Herbal
Dr. Christie Martinez, DDS;
Dr. Kristin Gallipeau,
Story of the Month
Miss Deaf California--a doctor in the
making! Shazia Siddiqi
of the Month
What do I do about "low" MCAT
scores? Part 3
Welcome to Lewis Associates!
We moved! We are now in our permanent Templeton, California
offices and home. We have 2 dedicated phone lines 805 226-9669
and 805 226-7656 and a dedicated FAX
line 805 226-9227 for your service just like we had
in our San Diego offices. We
are still settling in, so be a little patient with us. Meagan is organizing
her office. My office, although functional, still has all bookcase
materials in boxes. It will take some months to be completely "moved
Each part of the process has been an adventure. For example,
our phone system had to be pulled from the street 330 feet to the building
connection. This was scheduled for Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Turns
out after 7 calls (by cell phone since there were no phone lines on
site!) to the phone company and a supervisor, that we could get our
DSL and first 3 lines connected that day.
Our dear phone service technician came and first could not locate
the line (buried under dirt, which I helped him locate) and then, no
rope was left in the conduit to pull the bundled wires…. So,
on the cell to contractor's helper, to the electrician, then to the
fellow who trenched all the utility lines…got him out on our
site with his small shop vac, rope, and with some difficulty, pulled
Simultaneously, late afternoon (it gets dark early now!), a leak from
the newly-installed reverse osmosis/soft water units developed (first
noted by the phone technician). Water solutions owner came back
with his visiting friend (who did a little pro bono plumbing while
the owner was troubleshooting the leak) and his brother (also in for
Thanksgiving). All was fixed…but, it was a very busy pre-Thanksgiving.
And, we had MUCH to be thankful for!
Establishing our DSL line was an additional adventure. Getting
the phone company to troubleshoot why we could not email out, yet could
receive emails…took persistence and Dr. Lewis' husband, an electrical
engineer and computer wizard to fix.
Many other adventures…all interesting and all learning experiences.
Likely many more to come….. But, if I (and you) consider
such events as learning opportunities and challenges, not roadblocks,
life is good!
Advisees applying for the entering Class of 2008 are making fantastic
progress. Nearly 80% of Lewis Associates 2008 Applicants already
have interviews! 11 are accepted into medical school, 2
into their top choice school! One applicant has been invited to interview
at 18 schools, a remarkable accomplishment! Our advisees are
doing wonderfully. Congratulations to all!
If you are interested in personalized advising from “The
Best in the Business,” (from Dr. Patrick Linson, Harvard
Medical School Alum who is the only Native American Radiation Oncologist
on the planet!) call Lewis Associates today to schedule YOUR personal
Dr. Lewis invests in you so you may live up to your potential
to be the best applicant you can be!
Dr. Lewis' note: Dr. Linson has just installed the newest, most
advanced Radiation Surgery machine in the world in his Vista, California,
medical office…a step up from the ones at Stanford and Harvard!
Congratulations to Dr. Linson and his colleagues…more in a future
How to Communicate
Lewis Associates absorbs Long Distance Charges
|Permanent Mail Address 1885
Laguna del Campo, Templeton, CA 93465
and 805-237 7656
||Fax 805 226-9227
All appointments/phone conferences are made from our office to you.
Meagan, our Administrative Assistant, calls YOU at your appointment
Fax is now a dedicated line…no
more calling to connect!
Overnight/Express Mail Packages
Lewis Associates can now receive expedited mail
from all special Ground Services.
Changes in Services
- Lewis Associates' New Prices effective
November 1, 2007
September 1, 2008, Year-Long Packages will be discontinued for new
Advisees. If you are considering long-term advising, this
is the year to lock in your Advising Agreement with us.
- Applicants will still be able to select from our
highly-effective Assessment, Essay, Hourly, and Interview Packages
after September 1, 2008.
- Current Advisees will continue working with Dr. Lewis
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…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.
you REALLY ready to apply for the Class of 2009?
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 years prior to application.
Why not set yourself up for success, rather than toy with the proposition
Ariel Chairez, Scholarship Awardee, University of Wisconsin
Medical School Class 2004
Dr. Lewis, I would like to thank you for all of your help. I have
decided to attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison. I have
withdrawn my applications to the other medical schools. I will
be taking anatomy in the summer to lessen my course-load for the
first semester. Without
your guidance, I would not have been accepted
into medical school this year. Though at times I questioned your instructions,
the advice you have given me has definitely worked out for the best.
I am extremely happy to have been accepted to one the top medical
schools in the country, and on top of that to have received a scholarship
of $130,000. For any student who questions the value of your services,
I can say that you have saved me $130,000 in tuition! If I can help
you in any way in the future, I would be more than happy to do so. I
would also like to thank Alice (our admin assistant in San Diego for
over 2 years) for always being so exceptionally friendly and helpful.
Thank you, Ariel Chairez
John Fiszer, University Of Illinois at Chicago College
of Medicine Class of 2005
Dr. Lewis' note: John was an Assistant State's Prosecuting Attorney in Chicago,
Illinois, when he contacted me in 2004. Now in his 3rd year of 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
Thanks from Lily Marouf, entered Sackler University
Medical school (Tel Aviv) Fall 2007
"Dear Dr. Lewis, Thank you for all of your help 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,
CLASS OF 2007... 97% acceptance to medical, dental and MS/MPH programs,
one Class of 2007 applicant accepted into 2008 Class and all applicants
accepted into medical and dental Residency programs of their choice.
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, 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 and challenges.
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 you and implement strategies to change
Read about Dr. Lewis doing your Personal Assessment on
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
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. Or you may wish to use hourly advising to solve one specific
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 the last 22
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 email@example.com.
Call 805-226-9669 to set up your first appointment.
AAMC meeting in Washington DC
The best part of this meeting
for me was reconnecting with old friends who are in Medical Admissions
and advocating for my current applicants. Some of the hot topics
were about teaching professionalism and criminal background checks. Nothing
new on the AMCAS or MCAT fronts.
I was able to meet with Shaun Austin and Lauren Sefton, both attending
George Washington University School of Medicine. I was also able
to talk with Dr. Michael Manzano, currently in his internship year
after graduating from George Washington University School of Medicine.
(see alumni updates!).
Stem cell breakthrough uses skin cells rather than embryos
Quick View - Personality can guide specialty choice
California fines plan for failing to reveal policy cancellation incentive
HHS appeals court order to give claims data to consumer groups
AMA to renew fight for Medicare balance billing
Some physicians say patients understand that they are struggling
with practice costs and would accept balance billing.
Cancer found at earlier stages in rural
Better screening for all is urged by researchers in a new study that looked at
colorectal and lung cancer.
Medicare and Medicaid spending growth unsustainable
Doctors gain insight from theater training
Student loan deferment program restored -- for now
University of California system loses tuition-hike appeal
Medical School Application Fee Assistance
Application and Admission Timeline
Find these and other useful links on Lewisassoc.com's
George Washington University Medical School, MSY 3
Shaun and I enjoyed dinner near the AAMC meeting in Washington,
DC. He is committed to working with the homeless and has
established connections to many non-profit homeless medical providers
for his primary care rotation! Way to go, Shaun!! Congratulations
on living your dream! His focus on the homeless will take
him to shelter, substance abuse and mobile van medicine. He
George Washington University Medical School, MSY 1
Lauren is negotiating those hard first year classes right
now. It is keeping her busy, but she had time to have
coffee with me at the AAMC meeting site.
She bicycles and walks to school and finds the Practice of
Medicine clinics and ISCOPES community medicine, where she
interacts with other health careers students, (MPH, nursing,
PA, PT, etc.) more exciting than her basic science classes.
to right: Dr. Patrick Linson, MD; Lorena Del Valle, Class 2009
applicant; Josh Boys, MSY1 Michigan State U; Kevin Hardiman
MSY1 Kansas City U Osteo; Dr. Cynthia Lewis; Mr. Dino
Guillermo, MS Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine; Dr. Christie
Dr. Linson has just installed the newest, most advanced Radiation
Surgery machine in the world in his Vista, California, medical
office…a step up from the ones at Stanford and Harvard!
Congratulations to Dr. Linson and his colleagues…more
in a future newsletter.
Mr. Dino Guillermo finishes his clinical rotation at Pacific
College of Oriental Medicine and is preparing for the California
State Board exam. He has a new baby, Noah, 17" long and
5 pounds 11 oz. He was born July 11, 2007--Congratulations!!
Dr. Christie Martinez has been Dr. Lewis' personal dentist
for the last 5 or so years. She is expecting triplets
in middle December. Congratulations!
Dr. Kristin Gallipeau, Dr. Martinez' dental partner, and also
an alum of Dr. Lewis, just gave birth to a second baby girl
November 27, 2007.
Congratulations!! (not shown).
Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, MSY
I had a lovely dinner with Mahassin at a shopping mall with
many American stores during my trip to UAG in October 2007. She
has an interesting perspective since she attended Ross University
for a term and withdrew (in good standing because there were
things she did not like) and applied and entered UAG.
Watch for the Success Stories coming for these alumni!
Miss Deaf California--a doctor in the making! Shazia Siddiqi
Siddiqi in Grenada
Note by Dr. Lewis 12/2/07
I started working with Shazia August 2000. Long-term commitment to my Advisees
can be 7 years long! Shazia is currently completing her second year at
St. Georges University medical school and she will take USMLE part I in 2008. It
has been a long haul: through Glamour magazine's top 10 Women in America, to
postbac science classes at UCLA to an MPH degree at Dartmouth…to entry
into medical school in 2005. Shazia is highly motivated, obviously very
smart and terribly resilient.
She says (11/07), "I am still in process of gathering documents
for Step 1 accommodations, i.e. I need a doctor's verification that
I have bi-sensorineural profound hearing loss. I will work on my request
for accommodations after my patient exam this weekend. I got tips from
other deaf students who have gone through the same process.
Shazia's AMCAS Personal Statement: "Thank you for giving me hope.
I want to lose 30 pounds for my daughter," Mr. Bucci, a burly
man with his 2-year-old deaf daughter, signed to me. As a Miss Deaf
America finalist on July 9, 2004, I related stories of family members
who suffered from heart attacks due to neglect and Deaf friends who
were frustrated with limited access to quality health care. As Miss
Deaf California 2004-2005, I used my platform of "Promoting
Health Education in the Deaf Community" to empower people of all
ages to take control of their health and increase awareness of disease
prevention. I encouraged parents to lead healthy lifestyles so they
can pave the way for their children to grow into healthy adults.
I was diagnosed with deafness when I was 3 years old, and saw many
otolaryngologists, audiologists, speech therapists, and family practitioners.
Watching them work on my ears aroused my curiosity about medicine.
As these doctors and therapists fitted me with hearing aids, healed
recurring ear infections, and taught me both American Sign Language
(ASL) and spoken English, I gained a profound respect for the healing
profession. As the only Deaf person "mainstreamed" in large
public schools, I encountered classmates who mocked my slightly imperfect
speech. I was determined to change their attitudes about "disabled" people
by showing them how strong I can be. I have never accepted the negative
connotations of the word "disability," and instead, used
my condition to my advantage. "Seeing" sounds and "visualizing" voices
comes naturally to me, so I rely heavily on my eyes and residual hearing
when I interact with hearing people. In this way, I developed distinctive
powers of perception and the ability to communicate easily with a wide
variety of people.
At UC Berkeley as a Regents' Scholar, I taught my hearing peers a great
deal about deafness, participated in South Asian cultural shows, and
even choreographed and danced to music. Many hearing friends were amazed
to learn that I can respond to rhythmic beats, and "feel" music
through my hands, feet, and heart. I welcomed their curiosity, and
I was able to show them a world they may never have thought about.
As an instructor, I taught ASL to 100 students and introduced them
to the Deaf culture. As a dorm Health Worker, I provided first aid,
counseling, medical referral services, and round-the-clock peer advising
for students in my dorm. These activities sharpened my communication
and advising skills with respect to physical and emotional illnesses.
My research in breast cancer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
helped develop my analytical skills and taught me the value of collaboration.
It was rewarding to attend the Minority Medical Education Program at
University of Virginia with the support of disadvantaged peers where
I shared similar experiences.
In my Senior year at Berkeley, I met two Deaf physicians who inspired
me to be a doctor and serve medically underserved communities through
my ability to communicate with both hearing and Deaf patients. Drs.
Frank Hochman and Judith Pachciarz narrated to me their experiences
in medical school and their practices. They showed me their heart auscultation
equipment, connected me to a network of Deaf physicians, and allowed
me to observe their interactions with hearing and Deaf patients. These
doctors gave me a practical idea of what it means to be a Deaf doctor
and how to bridge the communication gap between Deaf and hearing people.
Through the MPH program at Dartmouth Medical School, I learned to communicate
as a clinician with community members, understand evidence-based medicine,
collaborate with experts to set guidelines on procedures, analyze data,
and evaluate best health care practices. I observed specialties and
compassionate interaction between doctors, nurses, staff, and patients
in the Birthing Pavilion at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. At
the Minority Health Coalition, I learned how medicine can be accessible
to medically underserved communities, especially the refugee community
in Manchester, NH. It was satisfying to see my research on providing
culturally-competent medicine be put into practice.
I have faced and overcome many challenges in adapting to environments
designed for hearing people. At UC Berkeley, the Disabled Students'
Program did not provide Real-Time Captioning for science classes. After
working together with Deaf alumni and students, I was finally able
to access these services in my Senior year, and my grades improved.
Supportive academic environments enabled me to achieve a GPA of 3.82
in 30 units of upper-division science classes at UCLA Extension and
some high-passes in graduate studies at Dartmouth.
As I explored ways to improve the quality of the health care system
at Dartmouth, I realized that bringing comprehensive health care services
to the Deaf community and other minority groups is extremely important.
My self-confidence increased as I translated for those who needed medical
care. During the Miss Deaf America pageant, many people confided in
me that they could not wait for me to become their doctor. I will not
let them down. I will succeed in medical school with the same determination
that enabled me to change negative into positive experiences."
Part II coming in January, 2008!
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
question of the month
Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD
What do I do about "low" MCAT scores?
This is a very complex issue that requires a Personal
factors could have contributed to this outcome:
1. Unrealistic about the quantity and quality
2. Not taking certain components of the exam seriously, e.g. the "essays"
3. Having significant test anxiety that paralyzes
4. Having an undiagnosed/diagnosed learning disability, ADHD or
5. Lack of time management, prioritization, study skills
6. Test site problems
So, we will tackle the first response this month,
and then the others in ensuing months.
We reprint below last month's general information about the MCAT (applicable
to DAT, GRE and other tests, too).
It is important, perhaps crucial,
to take a timed "diagnostic" full
length MCAT including 2 essays right before you believe you are actually
going to "study for the real test". This diagnostic
test will tell you exactly where your weaknesses lie, especially
if you take the free Princeton Review or Kaplan tests, which give
you feedback about your weak content and question types.
Many students realize that they
are right-brained (great verbal and communication skills) or left-brained
(super analytical and mathematical computation-logic skills) or
are reasonably good at both, or are "poor
standardized test takers". Wherever you lie in this continuum,
you are bound to have weaknesses "somewhere". The
question is, after you identify them, how do you prepare and
address them? If they are specific science content, it is
obvious that you must review the concepts diligently, and do MANY
hours of practice passages with questions, first un-timed, then timed. It
is human to err on the side of studying what you "like" most,
like general chemistry, or general biology. But, of course,
you must put MOST of your effort into studying the concepts which
are most difficult, like maybe genetics, physics, or organic chemistry….fill
in the blank for YOUR weak area.
Or, you may find that you do well in the sciences
because you just completed the courses, earning A and B+ grades. However,
you always were a "slow reader" or never felt you could "write
well". It is easy to convince yourself that VR and the writing
sample are "not important". However, nothing could be
further from the truth. The AAMC regularly publishes studies
that indicate that the VR test is a good indicator of how students perform
in their clinical years, thus medical schools care about how one does
on the VR exam and take low scores to mean that you will NOT do well
on the USMLE or COMLEX (Osteopathic) Board exams, thus, why should they
accept you? If your VR scores are border-line, and you have a strong
essay score (alphabetic score J-T; O-P being the average), the essay
score may mitigate a lower VR score. You want ALL the help you
can get so that folks who evaluate you have clues that you CAN perform
well on tests.
First, I advise most applicants to establish a schedule of
about 300 hours of MCAT (also works for DAT and GRE) preparation
over a 10-12 week period. I coach my applicants through this
entire process. Then, you must understand your own learning process
and personality in order to diagnose difficulties.
One of our Advisees, applying this year to medical school took about
1.5 to increase his VR score into the acceptable range. It required
patience, tenacity and hard work.
Here is what happened with a student who earned a score of
4 on the MCAT Verbal Reasoning exam twice, and improved to a 7 with
strong double digits in sciences and a Q in the writing sample this
summer. The first 2 times, the applicant took the
MCAT, he put in plenty of time and focused on exactly the right material. English
is his first language and he has consistently earned A grades in
college-level English classes.
After the first VR 4 score, I advised being evaluated by a Learning
Skills Specialist who taught the student many new learning skills… this
took an entire year. The student additionally took humanities
classes requiring him to read original source classic literature and
discuss it in class. He again earned a 4 on the VR exam. This
time, we addressed the anxiety component of the test and he used a
hypnotherapist to teach him new relaxation/focus skills that he could
use not only for the MCAT, but for all stressful situations encountered
in life: work, home, relationships, etc. The student diligently
used those skills during another 6 months preparation for the MCAT
and took another year of humanities classes. During the entire time,
I coached him how to use his time and effort most productively. This
time, the outcome was significantly improved.
This applicant's evaluation the day after his third MCAT exam: "Now
that the MCAT is over, I am relieved. I felt the computer exam was
easier to manage than the paper exam due to the shorter time. Because
the exam only took me 5.5 hours to complete (as opposed to 9 hours
for paper), my stamina and focus were easier to sustain. For physical
science and verbal reasoning, I felt that the difficulty was about
the same as the full-length mocks.
In VR, I applied the same strategies as the mock. Since I earned an
8 in my last 2 AAMC mocks for VR, I hope that I will earn this score.
One thing different from this exam compared to my first two that I
took is that I accepted the ambiguity of the VR section without
expecting to feel like I needed to understand the passages and questions. I
did a lot of educated guesses without feeling like I knew the answers.
Apparently, I accepted that the VR is designed to make even the best
test takers feel like they didn't do well. The first 2 times
I took the MCAT VR, I placed excess pressure on myself to understand
the passages and questions well in order to feel that I was doing good;
this mindset sabotaged my scores. This time, I didn't worry about needing
to feel good about the VR. Although I felt vague about my true
performance, I accept that this feeling is expected. I know that I did
my best performance last Tuesday and have gained more courage as a
person overall, regardless of the outcome.
For WS, I felt that I did fine while keeping the essays simple. This
was a shift from my writing assignments from Humanities since for WS,
I had to keep the essay simple while restraining myself from being
For BS, I felt that the test was more difficult that the AAMC practice
exams. However, the difficulty was about the same from when I took
the MCAT the first 2 times. The question stems were very long with
a lot of irrelevant data; I had to focus on only important elements
while ignoring the irrelevant data.
Psychologically, I was able to maintain anxiety levels under
control. Before the exam, I felt a little anxiety, but meditation
and visual imagery kept it in control. This was the usual
level of anxiety I would feel before a performance such as a piano
recital in front of 500 people. This anxiety actually helped me since
I found myself more focused during most of the exam. I was so focused
that the distractions within the room didn't grab my attention at
all; I was completely zoned into the MCAT mode. I also imagined hearing
comforting music in my mind intermittently to prevent fatigue and
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.
lewis associates advising
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
"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
Call or email today to set your first appointment!
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