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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 7 Issue 12
December 2008

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

Visit our Facebook Page and become a Fan to receive exclusive information for applicants!

Now that the national election is over, new health care policy will be debated soon.  Stay tuned: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/

Remember, getting into medical, dental, pharmacy and the other health professions schools is getting HARDER! Applicant pools are still sky rocketing, for example, there is a national 8:1 ratio of applicants for pharmacy school positions, and double that for California pharmacy schools. 

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 information websites from Cornell Medical School Admissions staff: 
"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 (for interview ratings) and I am appalled at the amount of misinformation there. Most of the information given there will hurt students more than help them."

Sick of rumors and false reports?

Get information you can trust.

Lewis Associates website has factual information that you can rely on.

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

• Health Insurers Offer to Accept All Applicants, on Condition
• Obama win accelerates drive for health system reform
• What Our Historic Choice May Mean for the Future of U.S. Health Care
• Uninsured patients not driving ED overcrowding
• Drugmakers vow to disclose their payments to physicians
• Doctor-patient relationship goes both ways when judgment is at issue
• Students note: Steps to a nimble mind: Physical and mental exercise help keep the brain fit
• US trails other nations in chronic illness care
• Aspiring Doctors Video Contest, win a $1,000 credit redeemable for AAMC products
• Health plans feel economic pain, brace for more
• Washington becomes 2nd state to allow physician-assisted suicide
• Student Loan Aid Is Test for Treasury

Useful Links
• First for Medical Education: Financial Information, Resources, Services and Tools
• Explore The DO Difference
• FDA launches drug safety information Web site
• Summer Medical and Dental Education Program

Alumni Update
• Eunice Sanchez-Mata, M.D., Class of 1997, Stanford University, Family Medicine residency at Stanford University/O'Conner Family Medicine Program. Family Medicine & Urgent Care physician at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego, CA
• Sam, M.D., Class of 1996, UC San Francisco, Surgery residency at Oregon Health Science Center, Plastic Surgery fellowship at UC Davis.
• Pam Pettigrew, M.D., Class of 1999, George Washington University, Internal Medicine residency at Albany Medical Center.
• Joseph E. Allen, M.D., Class of 1995, Saint Georges University, Family Medicine residency and fellowship at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Sports Medicine Fellowship at UCSD, in private practice in San Diego.

Success Story of the Month
• G. , Where Ireland meets Peru, MSY1, Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Question of the Month
• What do I do if I have not heard from a medical (or other health professions) school where I applied? I am worried!"

Our Services


Welcome to Lewis Associates!

Unemployment spiked again in October to a 14-year high of 6.5%. The situation is even worse for younger workers. Nearly one in ten Americans aged 20 to 24 is unemployed. But, health care remains an economic bright spot.

On Nov. 8, the New York Times reported, "The health care industry, mining and public schools were the only sectors that showed more than modest growth [in employment] last month. Otherwise losses were deep and broad."

The U.S. Department of Labor expects the health sector to add more than 1.4 million workers over the next ten years. Students in college and even high school can start preparing now for a rewarding health career...

Are you ready?

Our Track Record
Entering Class of 2008...96% acceptance
Entering Class of 2007...97% acceptance
Entering Class of 2006...89% acceptance, 2 waitlisted
Entering Class of 2005...100% acceptance
Entering Class of 2004...100% acceptance

We have restructured our Advising package to reflect becoming competitive over the very long 18-24 month application process.

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

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!

How to Communicate With Us
Email: imaclewis@lewisassoc.com
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 Services: PHARMCAS and SOPHAS personal statement.
  • New Service: Resume development.
  • New preparation and application package: Ultimate Commitment package covers all advising.
  • After September 1, 2009, new Year-Long Packages may 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. 

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 college 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?

Michael Nevarez, Class of 2006, Harvard University School of Medicine.

"Dr. Lewis was a wonderful guide and mentor as I embarked on a medical career a number of years after graduating from Cal Poly (graduated 2001, applied to med school in 2006). She gave an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of my profile, and more importantly provided specific and personalized ways in which I could address my application and the process going forward. Her advice and experience was invaluable and I am very happy to have worked with her. "

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 Dr. Lewis 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 or 2011 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 multi-year 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. Dr. Lewis is thorough and professional.

Getting Started

Read on our website about getting your Personal Assessment done, 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
while helping hundreds of disadvantaged students enter health professions.

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.


Health Insurers Offer to Accept All Applicants, on Condition
The health insurance industry said that it would support a health care overhaul requiring insurers to accept all customers, regardless of illness or disability. But in return, the industry said, Congress should require all Americans to have coverage.

Obama win accelerates drive for health system reform
Democrats in Congress are laying the groundwork for a single, comprehensive bill compatible with the president-elect's proposal.

What Our Historic Choice May Mean for the Future of U.S. Health Care

Uninsured patients not driving ED overcrowding

Drugmakers vow to disclose their payments to physicians

Doctor-patient relationship goes both ways when judgment is at issue

Students note: Steps to a nimble mind: Physical and mental exercise help keep the brain fit

US trails other nations in chronic illness care

Aspiring Doctors Video Contest, win a $1,000 credit redeemable for AAMC products

Health plans feel economic pain, brace for more
Executives warn investors that health insurers can't boost profits in today's economy. Analysts wonder if some plans might have to be bought out to survive.

Washington becomes 2nd state to allow physician-assisted suicide

Osteopathic Medical School Application Trends Not Following the Conventional Wisdom

Student Loan Aid Is Test for Treasury
Student advocacy groups are urging the Treasury Department to prevent a new $200 billion consumer-lending program from benefiting private student lenders, which they say are largely unregulated and prey on students with risky, high-interest loans.


First for Medical Education: Financial information, resources, services and tools

Explore The DO Difference - Learn why nearly 1 in 5 U.S. medical students is training to be an osteopathic physician

FDA launches drug safety information Web site

Summer Medical and Dental Education Program

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

alumni updates

Eunice Sanchez-Mata
Eunice Sanchez-Mata, MD

Eunice Sanchez-Mata, M.D., Class of 1997, Stanford University, Family Medicine residency at Stanford University/O'Conner Family Medicine Program. Family Medicine & Urgent Care physician at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego, CA

"Hi Dr. Lewis
great hearing from you. 
Yes, I did do a Sharp HealthCare (TV) commercial (in San Diego, California).  Part of the Sharp Experience promotion. 
It was a great experience.

We are all doing well,  busy as always. I've been involved in several very rewarding community service projects.  Joel (Dr. Joel Mata, M.D., Stanford University, Stanford Anesthesiology Residency) has been extremely busy with his work.  Victoria (daughter) continues to grow like a weed.  She's doing great in school and we are now starting to look at colleges and SAT prep courses.  She's only a sophomore but I think it's never too early to start preparing for college.  Please let us know if you are ever in town.  We would LOVE to see you.
big hugs,


Baby Jacob
Baby Jacob

Sam, M.D., Class of 1996, UC San Francisco, Surgery residency at Oregon Health Science Center, Plastic Surgery fellowship at UC Davis.

Sam and his wife just had their second child, Jacob.

Baby Emily's first Halloween
Baby Emily's first Halloween

Pam Pettigrew, M.D., Class of 1999, George Washington University, Internal Medicine residency at Albany Medical Center.

Baby Emily's first Halloween


Joseph E. Allen
Joseph E. Allen

Joseph E. Allen, M.D., Class of 1995, Saint Georges University, Family Medicine residency and fellowship at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Sports Medicine Fellowship at UCSD, in private practice in San Diego.

Beyond his family and sports medicine practice in Point Loma, San Diego, California, Dr. Allen is also an artist who shows and sells his oil paintings. Following dreams can take one to many places!

Watch for Success Stories coming for some of these alumni!

success story

G. C., Where Ireland meets Peru, MSY1, Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine

When I was 4 months old, my father passed away from brain cancer, leaving my mom to raise me. I primarily identify as Latina, because from a young age, I have spoken Spanish and maintained my Peruvian traditions. But, as an effort to connect to my father’s roots, I began Irish dancing at 11 and aggressively pursued the sport, reaching the North American Regional Championships when I was 18. Dancing has been my means to manage stress and express my emotions. I take pride in my multicultural heritage and it helps define me.

As a Spanish-speaking immigrant with few relatives in the U.S., my mother lacked a support network when my father died. A year later my grandmother relocated from Peru to live with us. It was her selfless care, which guided our small close-knit family through a difficult time. For the last six years of my grandmother’s life, her health and mind deteriorated severely. She lost much of her identity and like a newborn, required our constant attention. Whether it was feeding, bathing, or administering medicine, we saw it as our responsibility to care for her ourselves. These events bolstered my interest in medicine and refined my purpose; I would like to practice geriatric medicine.

The trust given a physician demands full preparedness, but when I completed my bachelor’s degree I lacked the confidence and academic maturity for medical school. As Dale Carnegie said, "discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success". My setbacks inspired me to evolve and expand my understanding of health care. I completed an MPH in Health Promotions and in the process became a disciplined student. For my public health practicum, I evaluated outreach and enrollment efforts, with the goal of increasing accessibility to the Los Angeles County "Healthy Kids" program. It provides affordable coverage and is a model to help the large number of uninsured children in our country. Volunteering at UCSF, I observed patients who lacked insurance and only sought care as a last alternative. I recall one homeless woman for whom preventive care was not available. Her cold had developed into pneumonia, forcing her to seek costly emergency care.  Public programs modeled after Healthy Kids have the best chance of changing this unfortunate reality. These experiences will enable me to make better-informed decisions regarding my future patients’ care. Years from now, I will use these observations to help shape health policy.

After my graduate studies, I finished a science-intensive post-baccalaureate program in 50 semester units, earning a GPA of 3.6. During this time, I started working with USC Med-COR, instructing a classroom of inner-city teenagers in math, English, and science. Our program focuses on preparing disadvantaged students for college, and ultimately, health professions. In the past year, I have witnessed our students’ confidence increase, and one in particular stands out. Francisco started the school year very insecure with his writing and public speaking skills. After several months of working together, he improved so much that he was comfortable presenting his work in front of the entire class. Because of my leadership development and sense of accomplishment, I know that I have grown from my time in the program, as well.

Shadowing Dr. Sanchez-Mata (Note by Dr. Lewis:  Dr. Sanchez-Mata is one of Dr. Lewis' Stanford Medical School alumni, now practicing Family Medicine in San Diego, see Success Story DATE?), I was influenced by her approach to treatment. She cultivated a relationship with each patient, and took the time to understand his/her environment and circumstances. The elderly frequently suffer from multiple ailments, and dementia can affect their self-awareness and ability to describe symptoms effectively. Attention to detail and a strong doctor-patient bond make for an exceptional way of handling these challenges. For example, I observed an older man who was recovering from injuries due to a fall. Dr. Sanchez-Mata worked with him to develop a plan. They evaluated his home environment, daily activities, current medications, and how to best manage his pain. Although the patient lived by himself, and did not have any family to advocate for him, Dr. Sanchez-Mata made sure he did not feel alone. This approach gave him the confidence to believe that he would regain pre-fall mobility and prevent further incidents. I not only admire this strategy, but plan on emulating it when I work with my patients. Unfortunately, the elderly do not always have an advocate for their well-being, therefore it is important that physicians not only play the role of healer, but also of teacher and confidant. These experiences have shaped the person I have grown into. I am prepared for the hard work required to complete medical school, and to practicing geriatric medicine."

From Dr. Lewis:  This is G's "story" above.  But, of course there is more to it than that. When G. came to me in 2005, she had low science and overall GPAs, even after having earned a strong MPH record. Much of the trouble emanated from caring for her ailing grandmother who later died while G. attended a very competitive, non-user friendly undergraduate university.  G. traveled 2 hrs one way most weekends to go home for her grandmother.  Then, she lacked the confidence to ask for help from professors when she did not understand course material, and poor grades resulted.  So, we embarked on retaking many of her lower division premedical requirement courses for 3 purposes:

  1. To improve her GPA (Osteopathic medical applications will actually replace the old grade with a new grade!) and
  2. To actually learn the sciences in order to improve MCAT scores. 
  3. An additional perk is that medical schools see the determination, resilience and persistence in someone who will take the extra time to "take care of business" and really prepare academically for medical school.

G. did post-baccalaureate work at 2 undergraduate schools: San Francisco State University and Cal State Fullerton, earning a 3.6 GPA in 50 units over 2 years while working.  She was the first in her family to attend college, having no role models to help her consider how to prepare for college.  She was economically, educationally (small parochial high school where she was not challenged academically) and socially disadvantaged when she applied for both allopathic and Osteopathic medical schools. Osteopathic medical schools took her application seriously; she was invited to interview at 6 schools, waitlisted at one and accepted to 3, including her top choice: Western University.  I am very proud of her accomplishments!

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

What do I do if I have not heard from a medical (or other health professions) school where I applied? I am worried!

The first thing to do is to call the school and actually speak with someone in admissions.  If you have NOT received a secondary application, why not? Specifically, an advisee recently called a school to discover that they sent her their secondary, but she had never received it.  I also have had students who have not received MCAT accommodations communications (a very important communication!) due to AAMC using the "wrong" email address.  Make sure that you have set up an email account that accepts mass emails, which will be open during your entire application year.  Then, monitor that address frequently!

Determine that each school has received all parts of your secondary application by speaking directly to admissions staff on the phone if you have received a secondary application request, and that your file is considered "complete." Some schools have a status check for your application portal to do this, but many times it is incomplete. Always best to speak directly to admissions for specific questions unanswered by email or the website. This means having paid your fee, submitting an online or hard copy of a secondary application form with essays (did you submit it return receipt requested, so that you know it was received, and on what date?), requested your letters of recommendation be sent to the school (electronically or by hard copy) and if test scores are not automatically sent, make sure those are also specifically sent to your schools of application. 

Whew! That is a lot! 

You want to verify the date that your file was considered "complete". If you cannot figure this out online or via email, phone again.  It pays to be pro-active in the application process.

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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