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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 7 Issue 5
May 2008

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!
Current Students' Progress
How to Communicate With Us
Changes in Services
Your journey to a health profession
Are You Ready for the Class of 2009?
Track Record
Be Competitive

Getting Started

Featured News:
Application services opening dates!
...and More

ADHD, Bedside Manner, Women in Medicine, UAG Medical Spanish Course, International Osteopathic medical guidelines, International Physician Assistant map

Useful Links

Alumni Update
Dr. Rafael Allende, MD, Harvard Medical School entering Class of 1991
Dr. Glenn Valenzuela, MD, Stanford University Medical School entering Class 1999
Dr. Christie Martinez, DDS, UCSF Dental School entering Class of 1995
Dr. Pamela Pettigrew-Duffield, MD, George Washington University entering Class of 1999

Success Story of the Month
Timothy Thomas, entering Class 2008 Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine - Rural Medicine

Question of the Month
Criminal Background checks revisited…Be Aware! And, Come Clean

Our Services


Welcome to Lewis Associates!

May is when most of the centralized application services open! The start of another--the Class of 2009--application year!!
Are you ready?

Current Students' Progress
Advisees applying for the entering Class of 2008 are making fantastic progress.  96% of Lewis Associates 2008 Applicants are accepted into medical, dental, veterinary pharmacy and naturopathic medical schools, several into their top choice! Congratulations!

If you are interested in personalized advising from “The Best in the Business,” (quote by 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 assessment. 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…even a step up from the ones at Stanford and Harvard! Congratulations to Dr. Linson. Click here to see the news video.

How to Communicate With Us
Mailing Address 1885 Laguna del Campo, Templeton, CA 93465
Phone 805-226-9669 Fax 805-226-9227

Lewis Associates absorbs Long Distance Charges

All appointments/phone conferences are made from our office to you. Marcia, our Administrative Assistant, calls YOU at appointment time.

Changes in Services

  • After 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
  • After September 1, 2008, Applicants will still be able to select from our highly effective Assessment, Essay, Hourly, and Interview Packages. 
  • Current Advisees will continue working with Dr. Lewis until Matriculation.

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.

Are 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 we 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 of failure?

Margaret Jolley, Accepted to UC San Diego School of Medicine Class of 2008
"I never would’ve made it without my weekly conference with the calm, experienced Dr. Lewis. She kept me sane. I am so grateful for her guidance, for her editing help, and for the confidence she instilled in me. She is a genuinely caring committed Mentor who takes pride in helping our dreams happen. I have urged every fellow student I know to call her. Let her help you, too!"

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 and have withdrawn my applications to other schools.  I will be taking anatomy in the summer to lessen my course-load the first semester. Without your guidance, I would not have been accepted into medical school this year. I am extremely happy to have been accepted to one of the top medical schools in the country, and 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!
Thank you.

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 4th 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 on target."

Thanks from Lily Marouf, Sackler University Medical school (Tel Aviv) Class of 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."

Track Record
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.

CLASS OF 2008...96% acceptance into health professions school and 1 into a pre-matriculation/post-baccalaureate program.

Be Competitive
In order to be a competitive Class of 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 Dr. Lewis' advising, 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 your life.

Getting Started

Read about Dr. Lewis doing 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. Or you may wish to use 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 the last 23 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. Call 805-226-9669 to set up your first appointment.


Featured News
Dates services open:

AACOMAS - May 1, 2008
AADSAS - May 15, 2008
AMCAS - May 14, 2008
CASPA - April 21, 2008
SOPHAS - April 2008
VMCAS - Early June, 2008

Dr. Lewis attended the Disease Detectives public health national meeting in April. Here are some important tips for you (and see this month's links section):

Julie Gerberding MD, MPH, Director of CDC, has taped a Podcast endorsing and encouraging undergraduate public health education:  http://www2a.cdc.gov/podcasts/

The April issue of AAMC's Journal Academic Medicine is devoted to Population Health including the attached article available free as a featured article on their web site: entitled Evidence-Based Public Health Education as Preparation for Medical School.-- http://www.academicmedicine.org/pt/re/acmed/currenttoc.htm

US faces a future public health workforce crisis and the current workforce is inadequate 
See www.asph.org

The AAPA (American Academy of PA) website has good information on its international site, with links on the left side. You can also download a poster which is called The Global Applicability of Physician Assistants.

International Osteopathic Medical practice guidelines
Click for PDF (253 KB)

New VMCAS 2009
The 2009 VMCAS application with a new system will launch early June 2008 for you pre-veterinary applicants.  Student hotline: 1-877-862-2740. 

New Guidelines Urge Heart Test Before Kids Take ADHD Drugs

At Bedside, Stay Stoic or Display Emotions?

Changing the face of Medicine

UAG - Medical Spanish Courses
This program is for students interested in:
• Learning a Language
•Practicing their Language Skills with Spanish-Speaking Patients
• Enjoying a vibrant new culture
Register Now! Contact 1-800531-5494 or visit http://www.uag.mx/medicine/medical_spanish.htm

The Infinite Variety of Humans

What propels most students into medicine is the desire to relieve human suffering with knowledge, judgment, and skill. Noble aspirations quickly sour, however, when insurance companies deny care over the phone or when faceless bureaucrats penalize doctors' discretionary decisions on what's best for their patient based on some standardized guidelines. (read full article)

Latinos, Blacks underrepresented among physicians. Latinos, African-Americans and some Asian groups are greatly underrepresented among doctors in the county and statewide, according to a new report that said physician diversity improves access and quality of health care for minorities. (read full article)



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

alumni updates

Please note that many of Dr. Lewis' alumni have been tracked down recently and we mention a few here. Some Harvard graduates will be highlighted in the next several newsletters.
Dr. Glenn Valenzuela

Dr. Rafael Allende
Harvard Medical School entering Class of 1991

Dr. Allende was in Dr. Lewis' pilot Mentoring program as a Mentor for undergraduates when he was a premedical student.  After Harvard Medical School, Dr. Allende joined the US Army Reserves and served as one of 2 neurosurgeons in all of Iraq, and as the only neurosurgeon in Germany for several months.  He did his Neurosurgical Residency at the University of Rochester where has been an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and trained Residents.  He is moving to Florida this year to be closer to family, and to practice in a community-based hospital. 

Dr. Glenn Valenzuela

Dr. Glenn Valenzuela
Stanford University Medical School entering Class 1999
(See Success Stories at 1/06, 2/06, 4/06)

Dr. Valenzuela says, " From the academic standpoint, I finish my residency in 2 months time only to continue with a pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship that will last 1 year. The debate remains as to whether I will stay in academics vs. private practice, and whether I will work purely with children or a mix of both kids and adults. What we (wife and 2 children) are certain of is that we're looking to stay in the Bay Area for a long while, so my job hunt begins in earnest ~October. I'll be staying here (Lucile Packard Children's Hospital) for the Fellowship. In the end, the schools around here for the kids made the biggest difference."

Dr. Christie Martinez
Dr. Christie Martinez, DDS,
UCSF Dental School entering Class of 1995
(see Success Story December 2005)

3 businesses and 3 babies

Dr. Martinez is the successful dentist and co-owner of 2 dental practice offices and a doggy day care center in San Diego, and until recently was Dr. Lewis' personal dentist (before Dr. Lewis relocated to the central coast of California).  Dr. Martinez' life got just a bit more complex with the birth of triplets at the beginning of this year.  So, yes, it can be done -- motherhood and successful health professional. 

Dr. Pamela Pettigrew-Duffield
Emily Diane

Dr. Pamela Pettigrew-Duffield, MD
George Washington University entering Class of 1999

Dr. Pettigrew and her husband Todd proudly announce the addition of baby Emily Diane on April 9th. All are doing well.


Watch for Success Stories coming for some of these alumni!

success story

Timothy Thomas, Class 2008 Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
Becoming a Rural Doctor

I grew up in Bangs, a small rural town in central Texas.  Sports were a huge part of my life.  After high school, I majored in history, and played college football.  Upon graduation from college, I taught junior high and high school science and history at 2 small rural schools for two years before coming to Brownwood.  I joined their elite sports program as a junior high coach with my eye on a high school position, working 90-hr weeks.  I was later promoted to freshman head football coach and JV head basketball coach.  Here, I further developed my love for people.  I worked with the athletic trainer and his staff, observing many procedures from simple ankle wraps to CPR on an unresponsive basketball player, who lived through the procedure.  I simply assumed that everyone in my community had access to this top notch medical care.

My realization that this was not true came when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Our local hospital did not have an oncologist on staff, so she had to be transported to a larger hospital hundreds of miles away for chemotherapy, and for her weekly checkups. I have since encountered many cases of the lack of medical attention in our rural area.  I visit many home-bound and nursing home-bound friends in my community.  There are not enough doctors to handle all of our elderly patients.  Determined to help these elderly patients receive good medical attention, I volunteer to take them on weekly trips to larger towns nearby for their monthly check ups.

While shadowing local physicians in small towns, I also saw that there is a big need for rural family doctors.  More doctors are moving into larger cities to counter the high mal-practice insurance costs, and lower Medicare payments.  Facilities in rural clinics also lack standard equipment that new medical students are taught to use like MRI, X-Ray and other machines. When I look back and try to pinpoint the moment when I started to see things differently, many events come to mind.  I know it did not happen in one day.  From the time I helped tape one of my athletes to a cart (inadvertently!), to the time I observed a surgeon laparoscopically remove a gallbladder; I have been continually learning and discovering.  Not all the lessons have been pleasant.  Sometimes, while visiting my mother in the hospital for breast cancer, I realized that I needed to do more than merely be in the hall when she was throwing up because of chemotherapy, or to put ice in her dry mouth, and transport her back and forth to appointments.  I needed to do more. 

This is where Dr. Lewis came into my life.  I knew medical school was going to be an uphill battle.  I had been trained as a coach to always have a plan, with the best personnel to accomplish the task.  Dr. Lewis came with the highest of recommendations.  She let me know what was needed to accomplish my dream.  I took off of work for two years to take all my pre-med courses.  I had to move several times just to be able to take the courses I needed.  All along, Dr. Lewis was there, encouraging me.  I applied and was accepted to a medical school in California.  Dr. Lewis knew that I preferred to attend school in Texas, so I reapplied for the graduating Class of 2012.  I retook the MCAT and improved, and polished my essays and interview skills.  I was recently accepted into TCOM - University of North Texas Health Science Center, my first choice school, graduating Class of 2012. 

Timothy Thomas

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

Criminal Background checks revisited…Be Aware! And, Come Clean!

In 2007, Criminal Background checks through AMCAS for 2008 applications was launched.  Students indicate whether or not they have any criminal record at the time they submit the primary application.

This hypothetical case was recently posted on a national forum:
"Miss Susie MD Wannabe (22y/o)had no criminal record at the time her primary application was submitted, and the criminal background check via AMCAS confirmed it.  Susie completed secondary applications to various schools.

Time elapsed since the primary application has been verified and Susie has been a model citizen and continues not to have a criminal record.

Susie was invited to interview at many of the schools for which she completed a secondary and, again, she is the model citizen since she submitted her applications.  Her application profile is competitive academically, has demonstrated her commitment to service, and is a well-balanced young woman.  She has been accepted to 3 schools and waitlisted at 4.

Susie is excited, and goes out to celebrate with her friends.  After a few Long Island Ice Teas, Susie is a little more aggressive and definitely no longer inhibited.  Susie gets into a fight at the Karaoke Bar.  After the brawl, 3 people were sent to the hospital, $2000 of damage was assessed, and she was among several other people charged with aggravated assault along with other charges (destruction of property, etc.).  She has her day in court, and the matter was settled with criminal misdemeanor, 5 days in jail, 200 hrs of community service.

She NOW has something that will pop up on any future criminal background checks."

Question:  Do medical schools request an updated criminal background check after a student has been accepted/waitlisted? If so, how does the school address this issue with the student?  Will the offer of acceptance be in jeopardy?

Is the applicant expected to "come clean" whether the school performs an updated background check or not?

Answer from the AAMC:  "While medical schools processes for background checks vary from institution to institution, the expectations for such an applicant, and specifically regarding what would occur in the AAMC-facilitated criminal background check system follow.

If the hypothetical applicant has applied to AMCAS, she is required to notify the schools to which she has applied. AMCAS instructions state:

'You must inform the Admissions Office of each medical school to which you apply if you are convicted of, or plead guilty or no contest to, a Misdemeanor crime after the date of your submission of this application and prior to your medical school matriculation. Your communication to each medical school must be in writing, and must occur within ten (10) business days of the occurrence of the criminal charge or conviction.'

Failure to complete this requirement will prompt an investigation by the AAMC.

Via the AAMC-facilitated criminal background check system, checks occur at the point of conditional acceptance, or, for a smaller subset, at the time the applicant is waitlisted. Medical schools cannot view these reports until the time of conditional acceptance.

Even if a medical school does not conduct criminal background checks, it is almost certain that the applicant, if she were to matriculate, would have at least one check conducted on her while in school."

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.

AIGAC Stamp of Excellence
The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants' (AIGAC) Stamp of Excellence is issued based on education, professional experience as a graduate admissions consultant, and commitment to the AIGAC's principles of good practices. AIGAC exists to define and promote professional excellence in serving graduate and professional school applicants worldwide.


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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