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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 7 Issue 10
October 2008

Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD., Editor
Email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com with your comments. Enjoy!

Most all students are "back to school" this fall. Make sure you read ahead in your most difficult classes …yes, that means in front of where your faculty is lecturing…. If you start out doing this, ask questions diligently, and study every day, you won't fall behind.  This requires "discipline". 

Remember, getting into medical, dental, pharmacy and the other health professions schools in getting HARDER! Loyola Medical School just told us recently that their strong applicant pool sky rocketed, from 10,000 last year to 11,000 this year…for 146 positions!

See AMCAS stats in the news section!

As usually happens in an economic downturn, more people are attracted to stable careers like the health professions…competition is fierce!

How are YOU going to stand out of thousands of applicants?

Warning about student websites from Cornell Medical School: 
"PLEASE do not encourage students to get information from web sites administered by other students. From time to time, I look up the studentdoctor.net site (which is where you can see interview ratings) and I am appalled at the amount of misinformation given there. This is not just me, but from all of my colleagues who have accessed the site. Most of the information given there will hurt students more than help them."

What's inside:

Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!
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

Top lawmakers, experts debate health care for the uninsured
In JAMA: Study finds wide variability in survival after emergency treatment for cardiac arrest

Useful Links
www.kiddoctors.org & www.whatsinadoctorsbag.com
Postbac Programs for Dental Applicants

Alumni Update

Success Story of the Month
Chamarro Woman enters medical school on full scholarship: S Entering Class of 2008, Mayo Medical School

Question of the Month
How important are deadlines set by medical/other schools to receive secondary applications?

Our Services


Welcome to Lewis Associates!

October is now prime secondary submission time, with our first interviews occurring in September and October.  Eight of our Class of 2009 applicants are interviewing as this newsletter goes to press.

We have restructured our Advising package to reflect this much earlier application process. 

We advise all applicants to begin preparation for their application process 18 months prior to expected matriculation, in about January!  For that reason, we have one low fee for ALL preparation and application activities, no matter when they occur for you.

Are you ready?

Track Record
Entering Class of 2008...96% acceptance
Entering Class of 2007...97% acceptance

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 installed the newest, most advanced Radiation Surgery machine in the world in his Vista, California, medical office this year… a step up even from the ones at Stanford and Harvard! Congratulations Dr. Linson. Click here for news video.

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

Lewis Associates absorbs Long Distance Charges

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

Changes in Services

  • New preparation and application package: Ultimate Commitment package covers all advising.
  • After September 1, 2009, new Year-Long Packages will not be available. If you are considering long-term advising, this is the year to lock in your Advising Agreement with us
  • After September 1, 2009, 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 or 2010?
How do you know?

Use our Personal Assessment--and you will be given your individual strategy and path to your future! Then, if you use our advising, we help implement your strategy! ! If it were easy to do, all applicants would be accepted...and, that is not the case.

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…contacting us 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, Entering Class of 2008, Accepted to UC San Diego School of Medicine, her first choice school
"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!"

LaDawn Hackett, August 2008 Success Story and Entering Class of 2008: "Thank you for helping my dream of attending MCG become a reality.  Words cannot express my gratitude!"

Ariel Chairez, Entering Class 2004, Scholarship Awardee, University of Wisconsin Medical School
"Dr. Lewis, I would like to thank you for all of your help. 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, Entering Class of 2005, University Of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Dr. Lewis' note: John was an Assistant State's Prosecuting Attorney in Chicago, Illinois, when he contacted me in 2004.Finishing his 4th year of medical school, he said: "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."

Ali Warrick, Entering Class 2010 Advisee
"Dear Dr. Lewis,
I would like to tell you how much I appreciate your help in my transfer process to UC Berkeley. You have been an integral part of the transition, and I would like to thank you for your time and efforts.  I know that your work is very thorough and well thought out. In addition, I believe that you really care about your students and believe in each student's "right fit" in a school. You lead many people toward a brighter future, and I would like to say Thank You! for your contribution toward my academic goals. This process has been much more enjoyable with your assistance and guidance. Thank you for being so good at what you do."

S, Entering Class 2008, accepted with full scholarship to Mayo Medical School
"I cannot thank Dr. Lewis enough for her support and invaluable advice. When I came to her more than a year ago, I was apprehensive about the formidable task of applying to medical school especially with my past academic and personal hardships. She helped me see that overcoming these difficulties was a testament to my strength, dedication, and diligence. One of the most surprising outcomes of our relationship was that she was effective in helping me develop a more positive self-image and conquer many of my insecurities. Without her guidance and letter of evaluation, I would not have been able to earn an acceptance to Mayo Medical School, which granted me a merit scholarship that covers almost all of my tuition. I truly appreciate all of her help. She went above and beyond her role as an Advisor by becoming a Mentor to me. She is absolutely the best in the business!"

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 of the 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 getting your Personal Assessment on our website, then phone or email us to get started!
Dr. Lewis spends, 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--Dr. Lewis can help you. We have made the difference for more than 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.


Update on 2009 AMCAS Statistics
The AMCAS application opened on Wednesday, June 4th for applicant submission.  As of September 12th, they have 29,289 submitted applications, up by less than a percent from last year on this date.  24,613 applications have been verified and made available to the medical schools.  There are 4,676 applications awaiting verification and current processing time is 12 business days, which can significantly change week by week.  The average medical school designations by applicants are currently 15.

Update on 2009 AACOMAS Statistics
Osteopathic Medical School Applicants: A Profile
Applicants to osteopathic medical schools during the 2008 cycle numbered 11,742, a record number and an increase of 2.5% over the prior year. Data about these applicants is now available.

The importance of Health Care in the 2008 Elections:
Unless you have been living in a bubble or on an island without the internet for the last 2 weeks, you know that our nation is undergoing a financial crisis (or crises!) and our Presidential election is very close.  All of these affect your future as a practicing physician or other health professional.

Health of the Nation - Coverage for All Americans. The importance of the topic of health care in today's electoral politics.

Shattuck Lecture 2008 supported by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Other websites:
Analysis of health care issues addressed by the presidential candidates

Presidential Answers to the Top 14 Science Questions Facing America

AAAS website tracking science and technology issues in campaign 2008

Here are links that will allow you to explore the positions of the two major presidential candidates.


Healthcare Professionals for McCain
National Republican Congressional Committee Physicians Advisory Board


Doctors for Obama
Physicians for a Democratic Majority

Top lawmakers, experts debate health care for the uninsured
Federal lawmakers and health care experts joined AMA President Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, this week in Washington, D.C., to examine why health insurance coverage has become less stable for millions of Americans. The panel discussion was part of a national issues briefing hosted by U.S. News & World Report and the AMA.

"We know absolutely that the uninsured, compared to those who have insurance, delay preventive and screening testing," said Dr. Nielsen. "We know that they seek care later in their illness. We know that they live sicker and they die younger than their insured neighbors. And frankly, 46 million Americans without health insurance is not a statistic. It is a tragedy. And we must not just focus on the problem, but focus on getting to a solution."

The panelists, including Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman, Committee on Finance; Mary Grealy, president, Healthcare Leadership Council; and Paul Keckley, executive director, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, looked at the latest census profiles of the uninsured and the significant obstacles they face in retaining coverage, including evolving private sector and employee work patterns and gaps in existing health care plans. They also focused on possible solutions to providing coverage, ranging from group forms of coverage, state and federal benefits plans that link families with providers, and current and emerging proposals within the Administration and Congress, the presidential candidates and other experts.

View a short highlights video from the briefing.
Learn more about the AMA's "Voice for the Uninsured" campaign and its proposal for reform.


It's been a tough year for American workers. This month, unemployment topped 6% for the first time since 2003. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.2 million people have lost their jobs over the past 12 months. But the news isn't all bad
Over the past year, health care has added 367,000 jobs. And this growth trend is expected to continue for at least the next decade.

www.kiddoctors.org & www.whatsinadoctorsbag.com
"What's in a Doctor's Bag?" is a an organization of college students that go to local elementary schools, libraries, YMCAs, etc. in order to teach children what doctors do at checkups. We are focused on demystifying the tools and procedures used at the doctor's office in order to help the kids be less afraid because they have an understanding. Plus, we want to be apart of enhancing and promoting a positive image of doctors to children everywhere. Right now "What's in a Doctor's Bag?" is not alone in our journey. We are linked to two other Universities: the University of Cincinnati and Northeastern.

Postbac Programs for Dental Applicants
ADEA has created a great website to address two issues in connection with health care in this country: the under-representation of minorities in the workforce, and the lack of health professionals in medically underserved communities. The website allows students to explore many health career options, one of them being dentistry:

Go to the "Search for..." section in the lower left column and select the "Enrichment Program" tab, then select "Dentistry" in the drop-down menu in the "Select Field" space and "Post-baccalaureate program" in the drop-down menu in the "All types" space.

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

alumni updates

Instead of highlighting Alumni this month, I want to remind you to network. 

Just a few weeks ago, my daughter who moved into her first job after college graduation, asked me to refer her to a "good" dentist in her area.  I personally did not know if any of my alumni worked there, but knew that my alumni could help.  So, I asked.  And, yes, I got a great husband/wife dentist team referral from one of my own alumni.

And, just yesterday, my newest advisee, a student at San Diego State University where I was the Pre-professional Health Advisor for 11 years, told me that one of the dentists she was shadowing, Dr. Babak Shoushtari, referred her to me.  I advised Dr. Shoushtari in the 1990's, and he was accepted to Harvard Dental School.  He is now practicing in La Jolla, California. 

So, network! Talk to health professionals in the career where you wish to practice. Work with them! Ask questions! Get experience shadowing them. And, keep in touch.

You never know when knowing people who have gone before you will be helpful!

Watch for Success Stories coming for some of these alumni!

success story

Chamarro Woman enters medical school on full scholarship: S Entering Class of 2008, Mayo Medical School


Initiating a blood-pressure screening program on Guam is one of many projects I hope will promote better health in a community that the AMA categorizes as a health crisis.  My first event was at a Catholic church (85% of Guamanians are Catholic).  As church bells rang, a sea of women in muumuus rushed out the doors heading for my table.  Chit-chatting about personal and political issues, I checked the blood pressure of over 50 people encouraging some to make an appointment at Guam's only free clinic.  This mass was for Guam's immigrant Chuukese population, the native people of Chuuk.  I targeted the Chuukese because they are mostly left out of Guam's health programs.  Chuukese immigrants and others with little access to medical care, i.e., most Guamanians, are unable to meet their medical needs in our threadbare healthcare system.  Although our program started small, I solicited the help of 5 local college students.  Guam businesses donated money and materials, and we were able to offer more screening events to residents.  The positive response of Guam's community was not surprising. 
Chamorros, indigenous people of Guam, in our collectivist culture do not just believe it takes a village to raise a child, most believe that a village must also care for its manamko (elderly) and its sick.  My immediate and extended families reflect this belief.  My family on Guam thinks nothing of family and friends stopping by our house for plates of adobo (chicken dish) and latiya (custard dessert).  Relatives gain a belly full of rich food and leave us with tales of their sorrows and joys.  Having lived on a small island for most of my adolescence and then in San Jose, I learned to appreciate different cultures.  I majored in Psychology to understand these differences. I attended many schools throughout my youth while my family traveled back and forth from California and Guam.  It was not always easy being the new girl at schools where cliques had long since been formed.  In Guam, my classes were not as academically challenging as the courses on the mainland.  Thus, when I finally settled in California my senior year, I found it very difficult to concentrate and keep up academically.
After a difficult senior year, I started taking courses at a local community college.  Learning how to study and succeed in school was a challenge for me that I eventually overcame. I would come to find solace in succeeding in the academic world and in my full-time job at NASA, which helped increase my self-esteem and self-awareness.
My path to medicine first seemed to lead to a career as a clinical therapist.  In Abnormal Psychology class, I learned about psychological disorders that I had seen on Guam.  I desired real-world counseling experience, so I volunteered at a local suicide hotline.  There, I saw the connection of biological mechanisms to mental illness.  My interest in medicine was kindled.  As a crisis counselor, asking a client about his medication regimen was sometimes more important than discussing their feelings.  Tom (a regular caller), during his un-medicated stints, would spend our calls trying to convince me that his schizophrenic hallucinations were real.  However, when medicated, I was able to encourage him to take a shower and eat, things he neglected to do off his medications.
With every experience from the crisis line to arranging a sexual assault awareness campaign to organizing a meeting of religious leaders on reproductive rights, I discovered my voice as a leader.  At Guam and San Jose community meetings, I learned about the lack of health care individuals without insurance or resources face.  At a Guam village meeting, an epidemiologist discussed the rise in tobacco-related cancers in the Chuukese.  Most Chuukese do not have access to regular doctor visits so they continue to suffer from diseases that are reduced in more affluent groups.  Another issue Guam faced was that cardiovascular disease was on the rise, particularly in the Chuukese.  The simplest way to make individuals aware of heart disease and encourage them to see a physician was to measure blood pressure in the community.
In 2006, I shadowed doctors in Stanford's SCOPE (Student Clinical Opportunities for Premedical Experience) program.  In the ER, I witnessed many challenges physicians face.  One evening, an ambulance dropped off a dying 97-year-old man accompanied by his granddaughter.  She told the physician that he was having difficulty breathing, so his assisted living home had called her.  He stopped breathing when she arrived.  Suddenly, machines began to beep as his breathing stopped again.  Quickly, the doctor injected him with medication as other family members began to arrive.  Relatives surrounded the man whose vitals were finally stable.  Later, reflecting on this event, I grasped its importance.  The doctor gave life back to a dying man and allowed the family time to pay their final respects.  There are few jobs that can provide individuals with these special moments.  After that day, I was confident that I had made the right decision to become a physician as I wanted to provide others with these final moments or provide them treatment to lead healthier lives.
There is no better way to accomplish these goals than to become a physician who serves communities most in need of medical services.  There are many social classes in the US that suffer from the same health issues Guamanians face.  Of particular interest to me is to work in preventing lifestyle diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.  I will work with community-based health organizations that allow urban and rural communities to promote effective and sustainable high-quality medical care.  I foresee my career in family medicine to accomplish these goals.  The future is my opportunity to encourage others to lead healthy, sustainable lives.

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 important are deadlines set by medical/other schools to receive secondary applications?

This question is illustrated by something that happened to a strong class 2009 candidate.

Question:"I was printing out materials for the X school application this morning and saw that it is due 30 days after secondary request...9/26!  I missed that!  Got me a bit nervous. I am going to go through all of my remaining applications this afternoon and check very carefully for this phenomenon, but off the top of your head, do you know which schools in my list use this style of submission deadline?" 

And, student: " I made a mistake.  I thought my Z application was due 9/22 when in fact it was 9/20. (I logged in 8/22 and assumed it was 1 month later, 9/22...they actually start counting from the day they send you the email plus 30) Regardless, I missed the deadline.  I remember you mentioning that I could call to extend my deadline, but can I do this after the fact?  Oh my, this is embarrassing, and I apologize.  Is there anyway to fix this problem?  I have the application ready to submit tomorrow, 9/22.  Should I call and attempt to persuade admissions?"

Answer: This "deadline" phenomenon is only a few years old...and  which schools stick to it vary ...and it varies year to year. Thus, I would call EVERY school where you have NOT yet submitted and discuss your date. Be clear and talk directly to schools!  This is WHY you never should get close to any deadline.

Anyone can make errors.  And, this is why you want to be in close contact with schools directly...talk to them. Ask questions.  CALL TODAY. Tell them you believe, but are not sure that you have missed your deadline and ask for an extension. I hope they will extend it...they should.  Let me know the outcome.

Student:  "I just spoke to the admissions office, and they are not being flexible. They would not accept my argument that I received their secondary request on Aug 22nd, (which is true) and not Aug 21st.  All they care about is what is posted on the application portal, which is Aug 21st, deadline at Sep 20th.  I said, "what if I never went to the portal until last night to check the deadline?"  He said "you had 30 days."  He is correct, but technically, I think it is a grey area.   I hope there is something we can do.  But nonetheless, this is a humble learning experience.  I put in extension requests for X and Y (they seem to be the only other two with this style of deadline.)  No waiting until the last minute for me anymore!!"

From a medical school admissions office:
"As for requests for extensions, I checked with the Dean of Admissions about this particular situation in order to prepare him for appeals and letters to the SOM.  There have been at least a dozen requests for an extension today.  My orders are to not grant any extensions. Each applicant invited to submit secondary materials know from the time they've received a secondary request their deadline date.  This is information is posted on the applicant portal as well as a part of the secondary request.  

It is unfortunate that some applicants do not read the instructions/information BEFORE they begin completing the application materials NOR will take the time to check the applicant portal.  The applicant portal was created in order for applicants to be aware of how much time remains to submit the materials requested.  

However, as the Dean of Admissions explains, if an applicant is unable to follow simple instructions regarding something as important as an application deadline, how will they handle similar expectations while in medical school.  It's a potential red flag as it relates to professionalism."

Another medical school admissions office regularly grants a 1-week extension. 

So, can you see how important it is to read what the schools send you?

and to keep in close communication?…and NEVER, EVER get even close to a "deadline"?

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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