Hidden Figures: Angeline Beltsos, MD
Angeline in Marie Curie 2.0 dress
AmorSui’s “Hidden Figures” series features frontline workers who, throughout the pandemic, have worked fiercely behind the scenes. In this interview series, we introduce you to the people who turn up every day to keep things running, often without acknowledgment, during these unprecedented times.
Each year, over 1.6 million people in the United States experience difficulty getting pregnant. To increase awareness of infertility and identify opportunities to prevent and reduce infertility, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated a week during the month of April as National Infertility Awareness Week. For our April feature, we are getting to know an expert in this field, Dr. Angeline "Angie" Beltsos, CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Vios Fertility Institute, to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected infertility, and what to expect as a new normal from the fertility industry.
Thank you for your time today Dr. Betsos. We wanted to learn more about how your amazing journey in fertility all started. First of all, where did you grow up?
Angie: I am a Midwestern girl. I grew up in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Most of you may know it as the home of the University of Michigan or the Wolverines.
You were named a “Top Doctor” and are one of the most popular speakers on the topic of infertility. What got you interested in in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the first place?
Angie: It is a unique job being able to combine state-of-the-art science with the miracle of life and fulfilling couples’ lifelong dream of having a baby. Reproductive medicine is an ever-changing area of medicine, so using high tech scientific advances in clinical practices is quite exciting to me.
Angeline in Marie Curie 2.0 dress
I am sure for those struggling with infertility, COVID-19 has probably added to the challenges of having a child. From your perspective, how has the pandemic changed the fertility industry?
Angie: It has reminded people of some of the things that are most important to them, such as starting or building their family. Life keeps us all quite busy, but the pandemic has allowed for some honest thinking and planning for the future. For those of us in the fertility industry, the pandemic has provided a dramatic increase in the number of patients we see who want treatment and care.
We have seen in the news that the COVID-19 pandemic had halted or reduced the frequency of many healthcare visits and procedures, including infertility services. How do you and Vios Fertility Institute help your patients with fertility issues during the pandemic?
Angie: During the pandemic, we have become very thoughtful and careful about the social distancing recommendations and making sure that Vios’ staff and patients have masks on at all times and honor 6 feet of distancing. We make sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize our space (as we always have) between patients. But most importantly, we have been very nimble and compassionate to offer our patients flexible ways for us to provide care through telehealth.
That is so great to hear! Obviously, adapting to a new system of interacting virtually with patients is probably not an easy thing. Who inspires you as a person to continue to push the envelope?
Angie: Helen Keller. I have simply been in awe of her ever since I was young, and more so now in my role as a medical leader and businesswoman. Helen was blind at the age of nineteen months, but she did not let her disability stops her. In fact, she become the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and uses her experience as a platform to advocate globally for those with vision loss for others. To me, she represents strength, grace and resilience and I am forever inspired to make a difference in the lives of others through medicine.
Wow. Helen inspires us as well. On to the next topic, self-care is one of the major must-do’s during the pandemic. With you working so hard to serve others and continuing to pave the way to combat infertility, we are curious…what does a successful woman like you do to unwind?
Angie: I love to cook and find it very therapeutic. I’m always up for trying new recipes! I also work out regularly and love a good sweat! Other ways I unwind are listening to music, spending time with family, or surfing listings on Zillow.
Last but not least, any books you would recommend?
Angie: I have a couple. I have been reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I strongly recommend it for those in leadership positions. Another one that I think is a great ready is “The 4 Disciples of Execution” by Chris McChesney, Jim Hulling, and Sean Covey. The book does a good job of outlining strategies for those wanting to make a difference.