(San Bernardino, Calif.) Frederick Robert Vinton, Jr., has recently joined LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc., as a Physician Assistant. In his last position Vinton spent 22 years as the founder, physician assistant and administrator for a district hospital in a remote area of Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mission Grace Ministries International and Grace Church of the Congo sponsored the medical mission. Vinton founded an 80 bed hospital that now has a staff of 42 including two doctors and 15 nurses.
“Working in the Congo had lots of challenges, but we were able to make a big difference in peoples’ lives. It was very rewarding to deliver healthcare to so many people who had never received treatment before,” said Vinton.
His desire to serve started when he visited his grandfather for a year from 1980 to 1981 while a college student.
“My grandfather served in the Congo as a medical missionary for 75 years. He started when he was age 20 and served until he was 95 years old when he had a stroke and returned to the US. He died a year later.
“When I visited Africa as a young man and saw the great need for healthcare and how my grandfather’s faith led him to serve God by helping his fellow man, I was humbled. It changed my life and I decided to commit myself to helping people through the practice of medicine,” said Vinton.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaïre, is a very dangerous place and has been since its inception. The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to the Congo. Armed groups, bandits, and elements of the Congolese military are known to pillage, steal vehicles, kidnap, rape, kill, and carry out military or paramilitary operations in which civilians are indiscriminately targeted.
In 2011 Vinton and his wife made the decision to leave the Congo and return home to Southern California. “It had been our goal to start a medical work which we could eventually turn over to the Congolese church. We felt that goal had been reached,” said Vinton.
Returning to California after 22 years in a remote area in the Congo proved difficult for Vinton and his family. Although they visited the U.S. every three to six years, there were still many adjustments to make. Where they lived there were few stores, few supplies and fewer medicines.
When Vinton and his team built their hospital in the Congo, they sawed their own lumber from the trees they cut down and made their own furniture using hand tools. They also made and fired their own bricks.
“Now I walk into a place like Home Depot and all of those items are made and ready to go. It is very different,” said Vinton.
There is also access to many more medicines that can prevent illness, or help patients recover faster with less pain. “At LaSalle we have access to the best medicines in the world. Learning about all of the new medications, treatment regiments and therapies has been exciting,” Vinton said.
Despite the changes and adjustments to California’s healthcare industry, Vinton is glad he joined the team at LaSalle Medical Associates as a Physician Assistant.
“When I learned of the opportunity to join LaSalle, I did my homework on the company,” said Vinton. “I am impressed with LaSalle’s mission to proved high quality healthcare to individuals and families with courtesy and respect.”
LaSalle’s President, Dr. Albert Arteaga is no stranger to missionary work. As the son of an Adventist Minister he spent several years as an adolescent in Argentina when his father was sent as a missionary.
“It’s nice to know that the President of LaSalle understands the many definitions of a mission include: a calling, an assigned task or a place that helps needy. I learned that Dr. Arteaga has made the delivery of high quality healthcare in California LaSalle’s mission,” said Vinton.
“What I most enjoy about working with the staff at LaSalle is how they express the company’s slogan “We Care” by serving each and every patient that walks through the door with quality healthcare, every day,” said Vinton.
Every LaSalle Doctor and physician assistant also shows the “We Care” attitude by using a chart with every four-dollar generic prescription available at Wal-Mart pharmacies.
“When I have a patient that does not have health insurance, I can prescribe a medicine my patients’ can afford to take. That means that our patients can use their medications and get better faster,” said Vinton.
“We are honored that Frederick chose to work with us at LaSalle Medical Associates,” said Dr. Arteaga. His dedication to people and medicine are demonstrated by his 22 years of service to people in the dangerous, war torn country of the Congo. I am confident that Frederick delivers excellent healthcare to every patient he sees, everyday.”
Vinton graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson and the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science Physician Assistant (PA) Program.
A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who works as part of a team with a doctor. A PA is a graduate of an accredited PA educational program who is nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine with the supervision of a physician.
PAs perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and make rounds in clinics, hospitals and nursing homes.
Vinton works in LaSalle’s Hesperia clinic and the Mt. Vernon clinic in San Bernardino.
For more information or an appointment call (909) 884-9091for LaSalle’s Mt. Vernon clinic or (760) 947-2161 for its Hesperia office.
About LaSalle Medical Associates
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc., operates four clinics employing more than 120 dedicated healthcare professionals, treating children, adults, and seniors in San Bernardino County. LaSalle’s patients are primarily served by Medi-Cal and they also accept Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Molina, Care 1st, Health Net and Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP). LaSalle’s clinics are at 17577 Arrow Blvd. in Fontana, 16455 Main St. in Hesperia and 1505 West 17th St. and 565 N. Mt. Vernon Ave. in San Bernardino.
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc., is also an Independent Practice Association (IPA) of independently contracted doctors, hospitals and clinics, delivering high quality care to more than 245,000 patients in Fresno, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin and Tulare Counties.
LaSalle’s IPA members in the Inland Empire include: LaSalle Medical Associates, Arrowhead Orthopedics, Arther Medical Group, Rancho Medical Group, Rancho Paseo Medical Group, Alessandro Medical Group Banning Medical Group, and San Bernardino Urological Associates. Hospital affiliations include: Rancho Springs Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Community Hospital of San Bernardino, St. Bernadine Medical Center, Mountains Community Hospital, Redland Community Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Corona Regional Medical Center, Riverside County Medical Center, Parkview Community Hospital.