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From Rome, with love

Doctor learns the art of family practice in Italy

Created date

March 22nd, 2010
Cedar Crest sMedical Director Roland Lascari, M.D., believes in treating all patients like family members with care, patience, and support. [caption id="attachment_8993" align="alignright" width="168" caption="Roland Lascari, M.D. (File photo)"][/caption] At medical school in Rome, Italy, he learned to develop relationships and care for patients across multiple generations. In Italy, all the doctors are family practitioners, Lascari says. You don t just treat one patient there; you get to know and treat the whole family. And that means treating them as they grow and age. That was how I ve always modeled my practice.

Going abroad

After growing up in Madison, N.J., and graduating from Rutgers University with bachelor s degrees in both biology and chemistry, Lascari decided to go abroad to study medicine. With a last name like Lascari, I had to stay true to my roots, he says with a laugh. In truth, he chose the University of Rome for its history as one of the oldest in the world it was founded in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII and becauseof its reputation for pulling the brightest students and professors from around the world. Rome was a great cultural experience and a great clinical experience, he says. The university makes a conscious effort to draw a mosaic group of students and professors, and the culture there is second to none. During my time in Italy, I saw two popes inaugurated. Plus, I have family there and had a chance to see them fairly often. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Medically speaking

I got a feel for a different diversity of people, Lascari says of his six years learning the medical profession in Italy. It also made me appreciate a lot of the things that we take for granted in the U.S., like access to and availability of medical services. One thing he did appreciate was the level of care. In Italy, I learned that you always make time for your patients. When you re a physician there, you are responsible to your patients first, not paperwork or budgets, he says. Lascari decided to join theCedar Crestmedical practice in 2001 because it allowed him to stay true to the personal style of care that he learned in Italy. When I returned home, I was in private practice in New Jersey for 18 years, he says. And because of insurance, at the end of that time, medicine was starting to change. I still wanted to spend time with my patients, but financially it was becoming necessary to see a certain number of people each day. And I firmly believe you need to make a deeper connection with each patient. He explains, That s why I came toCedar Crest. The medical center here is one of the most well-run I ve ever seen. And I get to practice medicine the right way. I am allowed to get to know my patients, just like those doctors did with their families in Italy. Lascari says he ll never forget his time abroad: It taught me some important lessons about medicine and people. It helped me become the type of doctor I am today.