Editor’s Note: Karla Argyropoulos ’18 shares how she found her calling to help people in need through a career in public health.

As I stand at a crossroads, a proud graduate of Lebanon Valley College, I can’t help but reflect on the incredible journey that brought me to this point. It all started with a simple act of volunteering for extra credit in one of my Global Studies courses during my senior year. Little did I know it would be the gateway to my future.

At that fateful event, I found myself interpreting and translating in Spanish for non-English speakers who had been denied medical attention due to language barriers or lack of insurance. I was their voice, their bridge to understanding. As I spoke the words that could mean the difference between sight and blindness, health, and illness, I knew I had found my calling.

I joined a large healthcare organization, Loudoun Medical Group in Virginia, and dove headfirst into the world of public health. My mission was to implement health programs within our medical practices that would provide better medical attention and support to patients on disability, Medicare, and Medicaid. When it came time for my first solo project, I knew exactly what to do.

I set out to promote Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs) and Physicals for Medicare patients. These visits provide clear guidance in the complex world of healthcare, shepherding both providers and patients toward early detection and prevention of medical issues.

This project required a large collaboration of diverse individuals to implement all resources accordingly and to ensure the quality of care did in fact improve and help doctors and patients.

My team and I use bilingual resources to educate Medicare patients about the benefits of AWV, which are covered by their policy. Medicare invests in AWV because these screenings and visits reduce late diagnoses, inpatient hospital admissions, ER visits, and total cost of care for both the patient and Medicare.

I am honored to be the first to execute this healthcare norm within all 148 clinical practices within our organization. As I continue to learn and grow along the way, I am forever grateful to Lebanon Valley College for setting me on this gratifying path in public health.