VISALIA – Just before 2017 came to a close the Visalia Medical Clinic was able to land a set of experienced hands. Physician assistant Robert Cardenas has joined the Visalia Medical Clinic team of primary care providers, working with internal medicine and family medicine physicians.
Cardenas graduated from the Physician Assistant/Primary Care Associate Program at Stanford University and earlier earned his associate of science degree and emergency medical technician II training at Merced Community College. He has been a physician assistant since 1983, and also served as a part-time instructor at San Joaquin Valley College.
He speaks fluent Spanish and served as vice-president of the Tulare/Kings County NA/PA Association.
“I was a farm laborer as a kid, but my mom instilled in me the importance of education,” Cardenas recalled. “There was no way I wanted to keep doing farm labor work for the rest of my life! I had asthma and I used to see the doctor for it, and he was always there to help me. Ever since I was young I had an admiration for medicine.”
Cardenas is a native of Planada, a community of about 2,000 people near Merced. He was picking cotton by hand by the age of four, at his mom’s side, making a little money and “probably playing more than I picked!”
After graduating from the physician assistant program at Stanford, Cardenas worked with Family HealthCare Network, followed by a time with VMC’s QuickCare. Today, he offers a full scope of supplemental care to adult patients in the internal medicine and family medicine departments.
“Everybody at VMC is like a family,” he added. “They take care of each other and they provide excellent care to patients. They care about the patient as a whole, and I really like that.”
Cardenas was the recipient of the “Lifechanger Award” in 2016, an honor bestowed upon him by the American Academy of Physician Assistants. He was flown to the organization’s national conference in Texas, where he was presented the award.
Visalia Medical Clinic, an affiliate of the Kaweah Delta Medical Foundation, offers the expertise of more than 50 providers. VMC also offers a lab, imaging including CT and MRI, extended hours through the QuickCare walk-in clinic, a Sleep Disorders Center, as well as a Physical Therapy Department all in one location at 5400 W. Hillsdale, Visalia. The clinic is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; with extended and weekend hours at QuickCare. For information, call 739-2000 or visit www.vmchealth.com.