Doctor marks 3 decades of practice

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 2010

For three decades, Dr. Angelo Agro’s career has enabled him to make life better for the people he meets.

“I enjoy being a doctor because it gives me a chance to connect with people of all walks of life and to talk to them one-on-one,” he said. “I love to talk to people. I have found after moving to the South, people are very genuine and appreciative, and that respect is a two-way street.”

Dr. Agro said he decided at a young age he wanted to be a doctor.

“Somewhere around the sixth grade, I decided I wanted to be a doctor.”

And he had just the right encouragement to make him want to excel.

“My parents went to a chiropractor named Wayne Charleson in southern New Jersey who let me read his ‘Gray’s Anatomy’ book,” Dr. Argo said. “He encouraged me to think about medicine as a career.”

And not only did he think about it, he did it, graduating cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and then attending Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University for medical school.

While Dr. Agro knew he wanted to be a doctor, it wasn’t until he was working on his residency that he found his true calling.

“I was originally going to be a general surgeon, but during my residency, they let me watch an ear surgery and I fell in love with the microscope and microscopic surgery. So I became an ear, nose and throat doctor.”

After some 23 years of practice as an ear nose and throat doctor in the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey area, Dr. Argo decided he needed a change and Andalusia is where he wound up.

“After I finished my term as the president of the Medical Society of New Jersey, I realized I had done all the teaching and medical politics I wanted to do,” he said. “I wanted to get back to patient care. I was ready for a less stressful, less crowded environment, and I found that here.”

Dr. Agro said he searched the county in for the right place to call home.

“We came down for a visit in the December 2002, and we immediately felt like we were home,” he said.

For the past seven years, Dr. Argo has been “doctoring” Covington County residents.

As for medicine over the last 30 years, he said, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

“When I first entered the emphasis was on basic care, compassion and communication with patients,” he said. “Over the 30 years, public access to info has exploded, technology has exploded. Now there is an even greater need for care on a personal basis, especially one-on-one for communication.”

Dr. Agro said he sees more allergies now than he did 30 years ago, and that’s something he said is a national and even worldwide trend.

“I see even more allergies having moved from the Northeast to the South, where it is an almost universal complaint,” he said. “I also see more serious infections from bacteria that are becoming resistant to antibiotics. It’s a big challenge for my specialty and probably all physicians.”

When he’s not seeing patients, Dr. Agro has two hobbies he said he enjoys.

“I appreciate art, but I cannot paint and I cannot draw, but I like creative writing and photography,” he said. “I’ve been working seriously for 10 to15 years on photography,” he said. “I’ve always appreciated design and visual concepts. Eventually I discovered that with a camera , I could manage light and see things in ways that are not possible without an artistic eye

“The most important thing is to be able to record those vision and share with other people.”

Dr. Agro said his most favorite photograph he has taken is a courtyard in a very small town in Tuscany.

“It has the right mix of newness and maturity of dreams and reality and nature and the supernatural,” he said.

His other hobby is cooking.

“I like to cook and be in the kitchen with my wife,” he said. “If it wasn’t for my wife, I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything.”

“My favorite things to make are risotto and my spaghetti sauce,” he said. “I make my risotto from scratch including the stock. It takes a long time to develop and reach perfection. If you don’t eat it when it reaches perfection, it deteriorates – it’s a question of timing.”

As for his spaghetti sauce, he said it’s very personal and it’s only his because everyone else wants to “doctor” it, adding additional ingredients.

But, above all, Dr. Agro attributes his success to his parents.

“I owe everything to my parents – I was an only child – and to their raising me in faith,” he said “All of my life I have felt that God has opened doors for me, whether I realized it or not, to get to where I am today. I now feel that I am building a legacy that includes my friends and patients, but especially my wife, children and their children. That’s what makes 30 years more precious than life itself.”