Dr. Reginald Jones, a trauma surgeon at Dignity Health – California Hospital Medical Center (CHMC), was born in July of 1964 at the same hospital he has provided his clinical expertise to patients for the last two years.
Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, CHMC was always his family’s hospital of choice – it is where his younger brother was born and where his mother underwent multiple surgeries. Jones’ upbringing was far from ordinary, however. In an area marred by gang violence, drug abuse, and impoverished neighborhoods, he always strived to achieve more with less.
“The way I describe my upbringing is that I survived my childhood,” said Dr. Jones. “My neighborhood, which was 68th Street between Budlong and Raymond Avenue, were tough streets in the late 1960s and early 70s.
“It obtained notoriety (street credibility) as one of the locations to the notorious Crips gang. Both Raymond Washington and Stanley Tookie Williams were familiar names amongst the older man-children,” he recalled.
Jones attended St. Raphael’s Elementary School near Vermont and Florence and graduated from St. Bernard’s High School. He said that his teachers regarded him with having “little or no professional potential” and advised Jones to attend trade school. Instead, he followed the example of his parents.
“My father and mother believed strongly in life of service, my brother and I were imbued with a philosophy that in order to receive you must give and there will always be inequality in giving more,” said Jones.
“My goal was to serve with the greatest amount of skill. I heard a singular burning drumbeat within me that guided to medicine. I found the rhythm in that beat to be surgery as my true calling.”
After completing his medical schooling at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Jones returned to Southern California and worked as an acute care surgeon at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood and as the trauma medical director at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.
Coming full circle, he joined CHMC, the hospital where he was born, which fulfilled his motto of “first, you learn. Then, you earn. And finally, you return.”
“Being able to return to the hospital that serves the same community I grew up in is an incredible blessing and gives me the opportunity to give back and inspire kids to dream big and set lofty goals for themselves,” remarked the doctor.
He is currently involved in numerous community organizations, including Crossroads, Inc., which helps prevent recidivism and gang violence. Jones also visits local schools with the hopes of inspiring children who come from neighborhoods with limited opportunities.
“I learned in my greater than 20 years as a trauma surgeon saving a community in which I have grown from that service is consumption and in the hand like George Bernard Shaw said, ‘I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work , the more I live,’ observed Jones.
“And if by any unfortunate circumstance or mechanism find yourself in some type of event that may threaten your life by your existence and if you need surgery, I will be there waiting for you to help you, to give, to serve you.”