Tamara Lazic Strugar, MD, FAAD
Dr. Lazic is a board-certified dermatologist, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She is committed to excellence in delivering dermatologic care to patients of all ages.
She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she graduated summa cum laude, with highest honors and various awards, including the Outstanding Senior Award and the Tom Brokaw Award for Life Achievements. Dr. Lazic obtained two degrees from Yale, completing both her medical school training and internship in internal medicine. She went on to complete dermatology residency at Boston University’s Roger Williams Medical Center, where she served as Chief Resident and received multiple awards for patient care and academic excellence. Dr. Lazic also studied dermatology at the University of Rome in Italy, as well as HIV Primary Care in Santiago, Chile. She is fluent in Spanish and Serbian, and conversational in Italian.
In 2012, she accepted an academic position at Mount Sinai’s St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals. Currently she is Associate Clinical Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she continues to teach dermatology residents and medical students, while seeing patients in Midtown Manhattan. She has published numerous peer reviewed articles and book chapters.
Dr. Lazic’s dermatologic interests include medical and surgical treatment of skin disorders, and she particularly enjoys and specializes in diagnosing and treating skin allergies.
Looking back at it now, it is hard to believe I grew up in the middle of a civil war, incomprehensible in the last decade of the 20th century, in Europe, and that I am now a citizen of the country that bombed the city of my birth and of my youth, Belgrade. It is a chaotic web of improbable events that led to where I am, and to opportunities. As boundaries were falling all around Europe, they were rising all around me. With a Serbian mother and a Croatian father, the crossing of boundaries is what I was. I could feel the irrationality of nationalism and tribal hatred in the way complete strangers reacted to my accent, or my last name. I rejected boundaries instinctively, by turning outward, learning foreign languages, traveling, and crossing borders whenever I was given a chance. As a child, despite the fact that my mother was a lawyer and my father a prominent photographer, I gravitated toward science and mathematics, which universally belong to no one and everyone. Science made borders senseless, and that is what I wanted to do.
At eighteen years of age I left my war-torn country for America, leaving behind the familiar sounds of a language and way of life, knowing that from then on I would return to my childhood home only as a visitor. In coming to America, I arrived to opportunities inexhaustible in a lifetime. From all the choices before me, my choices remained my passions: I learned science and languages, and I insisted on supporting myself financially through something I enjoyed, teaching (mathematics). The decision to pursue medicine was made fairly early on, and although I loved the basic sciences, I felt biology without a patient was like a sailboat without the wind. This perspective carried over in my research, which continued to be patient focused. My Yale thesis project on Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia, a part of which was carried out in Italy, became something more meaningful and vivid as I learned to communicate with my patients in Italian. As I acquired more medical knowledge, I continued to utilize my language skills in international settings, including dermatology training at the University of Rome, and learning to care for HIV patients in Santiago, Chile. Understanding a language, like crossing a border is not the end point, but rather it is the point of departure.
Dermatology, like a photograph, is an open secret. The lesions present on the surface, the diagnoses, however, can lead to the most remote of etiologies, making the clinical work a daily discovery. Skin may seem like a border between individuals and their environment, but really it is a window to the diseases experienced by the body. By practicing Dermatology, I crossed over yet another border as a physician who understands that what matters most about what one sees is its link to what lies beneath. In my quest to shed boundaries that are either trivial or artificial, I have chosen a profession in which I will cross daily the very boundary whose integrity is the sine qua non of our existence: the skin.