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Background Information

Employment History

Medical Director
Villa La Paz Foundation

Emory University

Academic Position
Emory University

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Emory University

Catholic Church

Secular Franciscans





Jesuit High School

Web References (57 Total References)

Villa La Paz Bio

www.villalapazfoundation.org [cached]

Anthony Lazzara, M.D., Medical Director

Approximately 30 miles from Lima, the capital of Peru, in the foothills of the Andes mountains is located a home for destitute ill children directed by Dr. Anthony Lazzara, a parishioner of Christ the King Parish in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Lazzara is a pediatrician who left an academic position at Emory University in 1983 to begin an apostolate among the poor children of the Developing World.

Bio | Villa La Paz Foundation

www.villalapazfoundation.org [cached]

Approximately 30 miles from Lima, the capital of Peru, in the foothills of the Andes mountains is located a home for destitute ill children directed by Dr. Anthony Lazzara, a parishioner of Christ the King Parish in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Lazzara is a pediatrician who left an academic position at Emory University in 1983 to begin an apostolate among the poor children of the Developing World.

Anthony Lazzara, M.D., Medical Director

Information for Volunteers | Villa La Paz Foundation

www.villalapazfoundation.org [cached]

This Hogar was founded by Dr. Anthony (Tony) Lazzara to care for children who are both destitute and experiencing serious health problems in Peru.

Anthony Lazzara, M.D., Medical Director

Volunteers Support Villa la Paz Center for Destitute and Sick Children

www.craneware.com [cached]

The Villa la Paz was founded in 1983 by Dr. Tony Lazzara, a pediatrician and former tenured professor of Neonatal Medicine at Emory University. As 50 percent of all deaths in Peru occur in children under age 15, often because families are unable to afford medical care, Dr. Lazzara founded the children's clinic, located 30 miles outside of Lima.

Our volunteers were touched by the work of Dr. Lazzara and his team and were honored to work alongside them for a week. Meeting these remarkable children and helping them get medical care and treatment in the hope that they will soon return to their families, was a life-changing experience."
The financial contributions raised by the Craneware Cares program will help Villa la Paz care for the children and will allow the non-profit organization to purchase necessities.
"The hard work and fundraising support we received from the Craneware volunteers is a brilliant example of the kind of benefit corporate initiatives can bring to organizations around the world, like Villa la Paz, that are dedicated to changing the lives of sick children and their families," said Dr. Lazzara.
Approximately 30 miles from Lima, the capital of Peru, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains is located a home for destitute ill children directed by Dr. Anthony Lazzara. Dr. Lazzara is a pediatrician who left an academic position at Emory University in 1983 to help poor children of the developing world.

Catholic Online - Featured Today

www.catholic.org [cached]

Dr. Anthony Lazzara: Healing Peru's ChildrenCatholic Online - Featured Today

Dr. Anthony Lazzara: Healing Peru's Children
1/23/2004 - 6:11 AM PST
On a sunny, warm day in April 1983, Dr. Anthony Lazzara stepped off a plane in Lima, Peru.He had left behind in the United States a tenured post at Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia, where he supervised high-tech children's wards at two of the university's hospitals.He'd given up his job security and salary, his three-bedroom condo and his Datsun 280Z.
Dr. Lazzara carried a bag containing some medical literature, a few Spanish books and three basic medical instruments-a stethoscope, ophthalmoscope and an otoscope, a doctor's desert island kit for simple checks of hearts, eyes and ears.He spoke not a word of Spanish, the language conquistadors brought to Peru, nor Quechua, the surviving tongue of the Incas.
He came to work at a clinic for poor and abandoned children.And he's lasted 20 years.
Why did he leave his work in the United States to go to a country he had never seen and knew very little about?"I felt an unease," he says."A feeling that I was not where I was supposed to be.That the Lord would have me elsewhere."
'Party Guy'
A native of Tampa, Florida, Dr. Lazzara is the son of a self-made oil millionaire, the oldest of four boys.His younger brothers found their niches as a federal judge, a businessman and a heart surgeon.They all grew up in Tampa in the 1940s and '50s in a tight-knit Catholic family.
At Jesuit High, Lazzara described himself as an "indifferent" student at best, a "party guy."But he knew he wanted to be a doctor.After all, doctors had money and big houses and fancy cars.And to that end he enrolled in Alabama's Spring Hill College.
After he slid by with a 1.7 grade point average the first semester, his father told him to come home.He said Tony was wasting his time and the family's money.
"You can drive a fuel truck," he told his son."We'll put your name on the side of the truck."
As a child, Anthony Lazzara, Sr., had sold fruit from a pushcart in Ybor City, Florida.He started Lazzara Oil with a single delivery truck, building it into a million-dollar business.His boys remember him coming home late every night, smelling of oil.
Tony's father had done well for himself and his family, and while he meant the offer seriously, it wasn't the life the oldest son had dreamed of.Tony hit the books and didn't look up for four years.He graduated at the top of his class.He did the same at Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, graduating in 1968.
In just 15 years he built a reputation in cutting-edge pediatrics.As an associate professor of pediatrics at Emory, he spearheaded research on brain hemorrhaging in premature infants, supervised the 100-bed infant ward at Grady Memorial Hospital and ran the neonatal intensive care unit at Egleston Children's Hospital.
"We left it there," Lazzara said."We left."
That's when he decided he might do something else with his life."I thought what I was doing in the States, anybody could do, really."
Deeply religious and a secular Franciscan, he'd been studying the life of Mother Teresa.When a Franciscan priest visited his Atlanta parish to speak of the need for missionaries in Third World countries, Dr. Lazzara felt as though God was speaking directly to him.He sent letters around the world to charitable agencies, asking if there was a place where he was truly needed.
Six months later, he found the place.Franciscans offered him a room in a clinic for the poor in Chaclacayo, located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, 30 miles from Lima, Peru's capital.
When Lazzara started selling his possessions and handed in his letter of resignation to Emory, his colleagues were appalled.His family feared for his safety.But they knew he had to go.
"I never heard, ‘Why are you doing this?'" Lazzara says.
In 1987, Dr. Lazzara bought a three-story house with pink walls and bars on the windows and founded his own clinic in a more modern, middle-class section of town.He furnished much of it with donated furniture.
His own bedroom has a plain wooden bed and a single rack of clothes.
With beds full of terrified kids, Lazzara doled out as much reassurance as medication and learned to insert an I.V. and read charts by flashlight.
His worried family often couldn't reach him by phone."They were killing missionaries down there," says his brother Mike."They were slaughtering priests and nuns."
Stubbornly, Dr. Lazzara ignored the problems and forged ahead with his mission.
That was until the Peruvian Medical Society-for reasons unknown-demanded Lazzara obtain a Peruvian doctor's license to continue practicing.To comply meant the veteran physician must return to medical school in Peru.To refuse meant jail.
Lazzara was emotionally and physically exhausted.His father had died earlier that year, and, after nine years of struggling with the problems and politics in Peru, he was through.
"It might have been different if I'd been fresh," says Lazzara."It was just too much to ask of me at that point in time."
Going Home
Lazzara donated the house to the mission and went home to Tampa, where he moved into his mother's condo.He bought a new car and got a job with the Hillsborough County Health Department, treating the children of migrant workers.Their brown skin reminded him of the children he had left behind.
"It was clear his heart was breaking," says a childhood friend.
"I wasn't at peace," Lazzara says."I felt I was living the high life and it wasn't what I was meant to do."
He also felt as though he should be taking care of his mother now that his dad was gone.But his mother knew his heart was elsewhere.She told him not to worry about her, that he should go back to his clinic.
After struggling with the feelings for two years, he wrote to a friend in Peruvian medicine, explaining his dilemma with Peru's Medical Society.The friend forwarded Lazzara's American transcripts to one of Lima's top medical schools.Lazzara soon held a degree from the school.
He bought a plane ticket, said good-bye to his family and headed back to Peru.His brother Richard, a U.S. district judge, drove him to the airport.
To do the work God has led him to, Dr. Lazzara puts in a day beginning before dawn.From his room on the third floor he can hear the children stirring below, waking, complaining, some crying.There are four rooms on the second floor, separating the infants, the younger boys, the adolescent boys and the girls.The nurses dress the children, bathe them and get them ready for the day.
Dr. Lazzara makes his way through the infants' room, assessing how each child fared during the night.He then heads for the first floor to unlock the doors, open windows and turn on the well pump.
The next order of business is to clean the house.With between 40 and 50 (currently 54) children, the house is in constant need of cleaning, especially the bathrooms.The children who are able are assigned a specific task, such as cleaning a bathroom or sweeping a bedroom.
"It's organized chaos," says Dr. Lazzara, but it is usually done by 7 a.m., when the children eat breakfast.The children who are able attend school at the local public school.The remaining children are taught by a visiting teacher who comes in each morning.
By 8:30 a.m., Dr. Lazzara is making rounds with the nurse in charge, going over each child's chart.
Then his life might take many turns.He might climb into his Toyota minivan and bump down dirt roads to pick up donated milk and vegetables.He might head into Lima to buy medicine or equipment or visit a child in the hospital.Or he might need to remain at the home to receive admissions.
Patients have been coming this way since Lazzara arrived here.Staring at the newest arrival, Lazzara will forget that he's 60, that his bones ached when he crawled out of bed this morning, that he's very far from home in a country that often treats him not as a savior of its poorest children but as an outsider.
A couple times a week, Dr. Lazzara manages to find time to sit down with a strong cup of coffee at a local café.He also attends

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