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The Science of Positivity

The Science of Positivity

“Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” — Michael Jordan

Words by Kay Kudukis

 

In the 1990s, a recurring skit on SNL called “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley” had Al Franken portraying an insecure, support group-addicted, self-help schlub in a cardigan. He was the antithesis of the popular, flashy, mindset gurus like Tony Robbins. Stuart would frequently look at himself in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and, doggone it, people like me.”

Although Franken was poking fun at the new fad, it wasn’t very new. Over 3,000 years ago, the Greeks were writing meditations and guidelines touting the best ways to live. The idea is actually 5,000 years old, but back then there was no alphabet, which made writing hard.

By the 1800s, poets and renowned authors were onto it, but scientists didn’t take notice until the 1970s, when they asked, “Is there anything to this?” It took a few decades, and a lot of studies, but the answer is — in wildly unscientific terms — it’s definitely a thing. Turns out, there’s true power in the science of positivity!

Yes, science. The University of Chapel Hill conducts a Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory studying “how positive emotions affect people’s thinking patterns, social behavior, health, and physiological reactions.” Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic promote positive thinking to lower blood sugar and high blood pressure, and to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by lowering cortisol.

The human brain is the most complex thing in the known universe, and yours is fueled by your thoughts. Ever heard that if you repeat a lie long enough it becomes the truth? If your brain is filled with negative self-chatter, it will come to believe it. If your inner monologue is positive, the brain responds, and your stress levels decrease along with your blood pressure.

There is another tool called “reframing” that makes you more productive. It’s where “I hate doing the dishes” becomes “I can’t wait to get these dishes done and have a nice clean sink.” Such positivity releases dopamine and serotonin into your system, and if you add a smile? Well, a study at the University of Kansas concluded that smiling is such a powerful source of endorphins that your stress levels go down even when you fake a smile. So now you’ve got a buzzy cocktail of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins in you, and the dishes are done.

If you need a little extra help, DAP Health is here for you. Its medical professionals won’t do your dishes, but they do have some unique Wellness Services, including a Zoom group based on positivity and related to achieving goals.

Michael Jordan didn’t get to be the GOAT by talent alone. In fact, he attributes his success to positive thinking. He never told himself he couldn’t. “I can accept failure,” he famously said. “Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

So be like Michael. Flip that switch. It’s not going to make you a great basketball player, but you’ll absolutely, positively, win at this game we call life.

9 Bad Habits for the Brain

9 Bad Habits for the BRAIN

For a more positive headspace, avoid these negative behaviors

Words by Dr. Jill Gover

We all want healthy aging, and most of us know a good diet and exercise are essential for a happy and healthy brain. That said, there are also a number of bad habits that can undermine cognition. Altering just one of the following nine bad habits can change how the brain works and help you age better, with reduced risk of dementia. Even people with memory problems can benefit from changing these harmful behaviors. Here are the nine bad habits that hurt your brain:

1. Accentuating the Negative

Ruminating on the negative has been linked to more amyloid and tau deposits (microscopic protein shards that decrease one’s capacity to think and remember) in the brain, which increases risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Negative rumination is associated with a decline in cognition and memory in people over 55, and an increase in depressed mood. Negative self-talk arises from faulty thinking that overemphasizes the destructive aspect of a situation and neglects or ignores the positives. To counter these intrusive negative thoughts, therapists recommend writing a daily gratitude journal, practicing deep belly breathing techniques, learning cognitive behavioral therapy interventions to counter negative self-talk, and employing mindfulness strategies such as greeting the negative thought with “hello,” then telling it “goodbye.”

2.  Skipping Vaccines

A recent study of adults 65 and over who had received the flu vaccine showed they were 40% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. Those who received the pneumonia vaccine were 30% less likely to develop dementia. 

3. Drinking Sugary Beverages

A 2022 research study found that sugar-sweetened beverages (soft drinks, sweetened tea, fruit drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks) were linked to a decline in cognitive functioning. It’s better to eat whole fruits instead of fruit juice. Sugar is not good for the brain. 

4. Maintaining Unhealthy Sleep Habits

Quality sleep is crucial to a sharp, productive mind. Creating a consistent sleep schedule allows for more restoration. It’s important to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Too much caffeine, or a room not cool or dark enough, can cause sleep problems as well. In addition, untreated sleep apnea can lead to memory and cognitive disturbances due to a buildup of amyloid material in the brain.

5. Listening to Loud Music

In a study of 639 adults aged 36–90, mild hearing loss was associated with double the likelihood of developing dementia. If someone else standing next to you can hear your earbuds, they’re too loud! If you’re standing within three feet of someone and can’t hear them, the world around you is too loud. It’s a good idea to wear earplugs at concerts, and to remove yourself from loud environments when possible. Continuously subjecting your ears to excessively loud noise when you’re young may harm your hearing and increase your risk of developing cognitive impairments later in life.

6. Excessively Using Drugs That Block Acetylcholine

Tricyclic antidepressants, some bladder medications, and antihistamines can block production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Studies have found that higher cumulative use of these drugs is associated with dementia. If you regularly take several of these drugs, ask your doctor about the risk of anticholinergics and if you should explore alternative medications.

7. Having No Sense of Purpose

Having a reason to get up in the morning contributes to healthy aging, and is an essential element of good self-esteem. Researchers at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago found that those who scored high on a purpose-in-life assessment were 2.4 times less likely to develop the illness. Whether you are young or old, working or retired, it’s important to explore and create a passion project. Look for new opportunities to engage in something meaningful to you. Volunteer. Travel. Deepen your relationships with others.

8. Not Flossing Your Teeth

Lackluster oral hygiene leads to buildup of bacteria in the mouth and inflammation of the gums, which untreated, can cause periodontitis. Poor periodontal health and tooth loss can increase risk of cognitive decline and dementia, as bacteria and inflammation can make their way from the mouth into the bloodstream, and eventually into the brain. Research has found that people missing several teeth had a 48% higher risk of cognitive impairment. 

9. Drinking Alcohol

In a 2022 study at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers found that even moderate drinking can cause reduced brain volume in older adults. A 50-year-old who went from one alcoholic drink a day to two drinks per day had changes in the brain equivalent to aging two years. Alcohol interferes with brain functions such as speech, memory, judgment, and balance. Cutting back on alcohol is a smart strategy for brain health. It’s a good idea to avoid the urge to drink when you feel sad, mad, tired, or bored. When you drink alcohol to get relief from unpleasant emotions, you inhibit the ability to process and resolve those feelings, which can lead to negative outcomes later. 

My professional advice: Eliminate as many of these bad habits as possible and you will improve your brain health and increase the likelihood of aging well!

DAP Health Continues to Fight for LGBTQ+ …

DAP Health Continues to Fight for LGBTQ+ Health Equity

 At the 2023 Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival, the organization will celebrate its long history of championing health care access for the queer community.

As it has done since the first Greater Palm Springs Pride in 1986, DAP Health will raise its rainbow flags high in the air and proudly participate in the 37th annual iteration of the event, to be held November 2 to 5.

With the recent integration of Borrego Health, DAP Health’s team now consists of 850 dedicated health care professionals serving 100,000 diverse patients in 240 of Southern California’s rural and urban zip codes, from the Salton Sea to San Diego.

In addition to hosting its DAP Health Wellness Pavilion along Palm Canyon Drive (directly across the street from Lulu California Bistro) — from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 4 and from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 5 — more than a hundred of the organization’s employees, patients, donors, volunteers, board members, and other supporters are expected to march shoulder to shoulder in the Sunday morning Pride Parade.

“Participating in Greater Palm Springs Pride is always a personal highlight of the fall season, not just for me, but for everyone who calls DAP Health home in one fashion or another,” says longtime CEO David Brinkman. “At DAP Health, we have always fought for the LGBTQ+ community, championing health care access for nearly four decades. Our acquisition of Borrego Health hasn’t weakened our commitment; it’s fortified our resolve.

“With our expanded size and reach, we pack a mightier punch in our quest for health care justice. Our unified voice, advocating for our communities alongside elected officials, is now louder than ever, and our team of dedicated care providers has grown threefold. We believe health care should know no boundaries. Our goal is to continue to honor the memory of those lost to HIV/AIDS by removing barriers, and by creating a more just world through equitable access.”

Employees from the nonprofit’s 25 clinics will carry signs emblazoned with the name of their home location. Others will carry placards sporting such slogans as “Mental Health is Health Care,” “LGBTQ+ Care is Health Care,” and “Drag is Love” (the catchphrase printed on DAP Health’s official 2023 Pride Parade T-shirt).

Riding in a vehicle just ahead of the group will be Donald Beck, one of the founders of Desert AIDS Project (as the nonprofit was originally known) who is this year’s recipient of Greater Palm Springs Pride’s Spirit of Stonewall Lifetime Achievement Award.

Loudly announcing DAP Health’s presence will be a large assortment of blue/robin’s egg, purple/lavender, and orange/red balloons respectively spelling out the D-A-P of the organization’s acronym and hoisted high above a banner that will read “Together for Better Health,” a nod to DAP Health recently absorbing the Borrego Health system.

Also part of the DAP Health delegation, riding in a vintage convertible in glorious full drag, will be Les Dames du Soleil Dottie & Maude (AKA Douglas Woodmansee and Marshall Pearcy). The tribute is designed to honor the longtime married couple of entertainers — who were at the forefront of early HIV/AIDS efforts, raising much-needed funds for DAP at the dawn of the epidemic, when other resources and supporters were scarce — for their vital role in DAP Health’s history of LGBTQ+ activism.

“Long before our community had the economic and political strength we now proudly possess, before the emergence of LGBTQ+ advocacy or health care organizations, drag queens were tirelessly raising funds for our cause, one dollar at a time,” says DAP Health Chief of Brand Marketing Steven Henke. “They courageously championed our rights and well-being until we found the strength to fight for ourselves. We should never forget the legacy they forged in high heels.”

As for the Wellness Pavilion, it will be staffed with employees and volunteers from DAP Health’s community health department, who will be providing full, free sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, harm reduction services, and general outreach. Representatives will also be talking with attendees about the free pregnancy testing and birth control consultations now available at its sexual wellness clinics.

The Pavilion will also be home to a Recovery Oasis, where revelers can pick up information about DAP Health’s host of recovery services, including various meetings and its Outpatient Drug-Free (ODF ) program.

Behavioral Health Resources for the Lake …

Behavioral Health Resources for the Lake Arrowhead and Surrounding Mountain LGBTQ+ Community

At DAP Health, we recognize the profound impact trauma can have on individuals. Whether it’s the aftermath of a hate crime, perceived threats, or other distressing experiences, we understand that the effects of such events can be long-lasting.

It’s crucial to remember that healing begins with sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone who understands and cares. Even in a virtual setting, DAP Health’s dedicated professionals are here to support you every step of the way and provide a safe and empathetic space for you to process, heal, and reclaim your mental and emotional well-being.

We will continue to reach out to partner organizations to update this list of mental health resources that can be accessed in person or virtually. If you are a partner organization that can support the community, please use the form below to submit your organization’s information, and a DAP Health team member will contact you to validate your information before adding it to this list.

Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ (lakearrowheadlgbtq.org)

From the nonprofit’s website, its mission: We will create an all-inclusive, safe community for everyone. Our goal is to raise funds to create a LGBTQ+ Center for resources, recreation, learning, counseling, and health care. Our building will be available to anyone who needs it.

Furthermore: Lauri Carleton was not only a beloved mother, wife, and friend but a founding member of our Mountain Provisions Co-op community and a fierce advocate for love, equality, and human rights. Her tragic death has left a void in our hearts, but her vision for a more caring, inclusive, and engaged community lives on.

Lauri’s vision for a better world: Lauri was a pillar in our community, an unwavering champion of values that sought to break down barriers and build bridges. Her dedication to equality and her courage in flying the LGBTQ+ flag exemplify her commitment to creating a world where love knows no boundaries. The Lauri Carleton Memorial Fund aims to keep her spirit alive, by supporting local and inclusive community-building initiatives that reflect these same values.

SAC Health (sachealth.org)

A dedicated Lake Arrowhead support line was established at 909.219.6880 on 9.14.23 and will be available Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., for as long as needed. After-hours, the line accepts messages. Behavioral health offerings include individual in-person counseling for adults and youth (IEHP, Molina, Risk Management, Medicare, Medical). Virtual options are available (except for Medicare). Group counseling is available, with coverage requirements. Appointments for one-on-one counseling are available at the end of the month. Group sessions will be held virtually once a roster is developed.

DAP Health (daphealth.org)

DAP Health’s department of behavioral health provides services focusing on treating mental health and substance use with individual therapy or medication management, as necessary, and specializes in serving the LGBTQ+ community. Appointments are in person or virtual via phone, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Call 760.992.0450 to schedule.

 

Queer Works Therapy (queerworks.org/freetherapy)

Appointments can be requested online, with intake within 48 hours and the first appointment within a week. Behavioral health services include LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy (virtual sessions open to all California residents, with fees based on income level), LGBTQ+ trauma-informed therapy (specializing in care for victims of hate crimes or perceived threats), trans-affirmative therapy (focused on transgender, gender-diverse, and intersex care).

The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert (thecentercv.org)

Affirmative, virtual, low-cost therapy is available to all California residents. For more information, or to be added to the waitlist, call 760.416.7790, Ext. 3.

 

Photo courtesy of Mountain Provisions Cooperative, Lake Arrowhead.

Dine Out For Life to End HIV on April 27

It’s Time to Dine Out For Life on Behalf of DAP Health on April 27

Dining Out For Life® — the annual, North American gastronomic fundraising event that has collected more than 100 million dollars for community-based organizations that serve people living with or impacted by HIV since its inception in 1991 — will take place in Palm Springs and across the Coachella Valley on Thursday, April 27, 2023.

Every year since 2005 — save for 2020 and 2021, when COVID-19 derailed best-laid plans — Greater Palm Springs has participated in the all-day/all-night affair on behalf of DAP Health. And on each of those occasions, locals, snowbirds, and even tourists have swelled with pride and come out with a vengeance to earn much-needed monies while enjoying the generosity of participating local restaurants, bars, and bakeries that donate anywhere from 30 to 110% of their entire day and evening’s receipts — not just the profits — to the popular effort.

Thanks to the benevolent support of participating restaurants, volunteers, and community members, Greater Palm Springs has grown to become the second-most-successful market in the country. In 2022, 68 desert restaurants participated to raise $207,000 — more than San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and other large urban centers. In fact, the desert — with its Indio-Cathedral City-Palm Springs 2022 metro population of 487,000 — came in second only to Denver, whose current population is almost 3 million!

With more than 12,000 local bighearted gourmands expected to dine out for life at breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner this year, the 2023 goal is for Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs to grab the number one spot.

Eager participants are urged to visit daphealth.org/dofl, make reservations well in advance, and prepare to sate their hunger and thirst three times or more on April 27 to beat the North American record right here in our back yard. If their favorite breakfast, lunch, or dinner spot hasn’t yet made its participation public, diners should speak up and urge the powers that be to sign up ASAP.

The umbrella organization’s website states that each year, “more than 50 local HIV service organizations partner with 2,400+ participating restaurants, 4,100+ volunteers, and 300,000+ diners to raise over $4.5 million for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and Canada. The best part? All funds raised through a city’s Dining Out For Life event stay in that city to provide help and hope to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS.”

“At its heart, Dining Out For Life is a win-win community event where people get together with friends to feast for the greater good,” says DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “Each year, I’m awestruck not only by the generosity of our participating restaurateurs, but by the enthusiasm and pride of our deeply committed desert dwellers. What a genius way to have fun while giving back.”

To register as a Dining Out For Life in-restaurant volunteer ambassador on April 27 — or to sign on as a participating establishment — please contact Avery Bell at abell@daphealth.org or 760.992.0441, or Bruce Benning at bbenning@daphealth.org or 760.320.7854.

Why DAP Health

Today, thousands of our friends and neighbors have no access to health care. Together, likeminded philanthropists of all stripes can change that by joining the nonprofit’s mission to create a healthier tomorrow by giving a voice to the often forgotten and by making sure none of us ever forgets that health care is not only human care, but a human right.

About DAP Health

Founded in 1984 by a group of community volunteers, DAP Health is an internationally renowned humanitarian health care organization and federally qualified health center (FQHC). In 2012, the nonprofit expanded its scope to care for all people.

Thanks to nearly 40 years of caring for people both directly and indirectly affected not only by the HIV/AIDS epidemic but by various other public health emergencies, DAP Health has the physical and intellectual resources, the desire, and — most importantly — the imagination to effect even greater positive change in the desert and beyond.

The next epidemic hasn’t surfaced — yet. But just as DAP Health met earlier community health crises decisively and successfully, its experts stand at the ready.

Vision Forward

DAP Health currently serves more than 10,000 patients annually, and every month, more than 100 new patients walk through its doors seeking comprehensive, quality health care. Clearly, there is unmet need.

Vision Forward is DAP Health’s 10-year strategic plan that will see the nonprofit grow to serve 25,000 patients a year at its main Palm Springs campus by 2025 thanks to expanded medical, dental, and mental health clinics and a new affordable housing complex that will add 60 units at Vista Sunrise II to the existing 81 units at Vista Sunrise. Grand total: 141.

The future of health care is holistic, innovative, agile, collaborative — and above all — patient-centric. DAP Health puts humanity back into health care. It meets community members where they are. It seeks out and lifts up allies for the betterment of all.

HIV/AIDS at DAP Health

Despite its substantial growth, HIV/AIDS care remains a cornerstone of DAP Health. Today, the nonprofit continues to:

  • Offer free onsite and mobile HIV and STI testing, including the mailing of at-home HIV tests to those unable to access its main Palm Springs campus.
  • Link people newly diagnosed with HIV to care — and help them remain in care — so that they can be undetectable, therefore unable to transfer the virus to others (U=U). 
  • Provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). 

2022 Community Impact

  • 32,496 HIV tests administered at the main campus and in the mobile clinic
  •    1,062 HIV self-test kits mailed to homes 
  •          75 patients welcomed into HIV care immediately after testing positive 
  •        130 people resumed antiretroviral treatment (ART) after lapses
  •        639 patients accessed PrEP for the first time
  • 35,000 condoms made available through DAP Health’s Condom Club 

Health care is...

Advocacy • Cultural Competency • Dental Care • Ending Epidemics • Equitable Access

Food Assistance • Gender-affirming Care • Harm Reduction • HIV Care • Housing

LGBTQ+ Health • Mental Health • Mobile Health Care • Primary Care • Recovery

Sexual Health • Social Services • Women’s Health

DAP Health... is health care.

Participating Restaurants at Press Time

 533 Viet Fusion

1501 Uptown Gastropub

Alcazar

Aspen Mills Bakery & Café

Birba

Blackbook

Chicken Ranch

Clandestino

Coachella Valley Coffee

Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge

El Mirasol at Los Arboles Hotel

El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana

El Patio Palm Springs

Elmer’s

FARM

Gelato Granucci

Hunters Nightclub Palm Springs

Impala Bar & Grill PSP

Johannes

Johnny Costa’s Ristorante

Juniper Table

King’s Highway

Lulu California Bistro

Mr. Lyons

Palm Greens Café

Purple Room

Seymour’s

Shop(pe) Ice Cream & Shop

So-Pa at L’Horizon

Tac/Quila

The Front Porch

The Tropicale Restaurant & Lounge

Toucans Tiki Lounge

Townie Bagels Bakery Café

Trio Restaurant

Willie’s Modern Fare

Proud 2023 Dining Out For Life Sponsors

Gilead

Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa/Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation

Roadrunner

Media Sponsors

100.9 FM NRG The Deserts Dance Station

Alpha Media

CV Independent

Gay Desert Guide

NBC Palm Springs

PromoHomo.TV

The Desert Sun / Local IQ

The Standard Magazine

DAP Health Thrives on Community Collabs

DAP Health Thrives on Community Collaboration

No individual is an island. There’s strength in numbers. That’s what friends are for.

These maxims don’t just hold true for human beings, but for organizations as well. That’s why DAP Health is so deeply committed to collaborating with other local non-profits, as it did with Brothers of the Desert for its Desert AIDS Walks last October, with the Riverside County Department of Public Health at its Pride Pavilion in November, and with Presenting Sponsor Eisenhower Health at its upcoming annual benefit gala The Chase (AKA The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards) on March 25.

DAP Health’s most recent collab is between the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert (thecentercv.org) and Revivals Thrift Stores (revivalsstores.com). The Center, plus all four resale retail locations (Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and Indio) are currently welcoming donations of pre-loved red wear and red accessories as they ramp up toward the big Red Sale event, to be held only at the Palm Springs Revivals Thrift Store on Friday, February 24 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Anyone who has attended the Center’s annual Red Dress Dress Red benefit knows that — alongside The Chase — it’s one of the hottest tickets on the desert’s social calendar. Regular revelers of that cherry-colored soirée also probably have enough dresses, skirts, tutus, gowns, frilly frocks, uniforms, gear, jackets, pants, hats, shoes, belts, ties, purses, and costume jewelry to style the entire current cast of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” All red-hued items are graciously being accepted so that other partygoers may benefit from the recycled couture and accouterments. Who knew that by donating red, one could actually go green?

Drop-offs can be made during regular business hours at the Center (1301 North Palm Canyon Drive) or at any Revivals locations, no later than Thursday, February 23. Bequeathed merchandise will then be consolidated at the Palm Springs Revivals outpost on the day of the Red Sale event.

Seriously — why would one hang on to garb in which one has already been seen? And don’t just drop off your claret, cardinal, and carmine trappings and trimmings — come back to shop for yourself at Revivals Palm Springs on February 24. Who knows? You might just find your fabulous 2023 Red Dress Dress Red ensemble. Monies raised at the Red Sale will be shared between the Center and Revivals.

“No good work can be accomplished in a vacuum,” says Center Membership Manager Charles Huff. “Assisting, lifting, and partnering with others is paramount to the word ‘community.’ When we had the idea to have people donate their previous Red Dress Dress Red wardrobe, the natural choice was Revivals, due to DAP Health and the Center’s collaborative relationship. We’re very happy another first can be accomplished between our agencies.”

“DAP Health takes every opportunity to partner with other local non-profits for the benefit of everyone in the community, and the same can be said for Revivals,” adds Director of Retail Dane Koch, explaining that in addition to joining forces with Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert on its popular Revivals After Dark affair, the brand has teamed up with the likes of Sanctuary House, Martha’s Village & Kitchen, the Salvation Army, Mizell Center, and Angel View. “It is the Palm Springs Revivals store’s great pleasure to host the Red Sale event in tandem with the Center. May an endless sea of ruby, scarlet, and crimson flow out our doors that evening.”

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 Is This Weekend

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 Is This Weekend

Media Alert

What:              Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is this weekend.

When:             Saturday and Sunday, October 23 & 24, 2020.

Where:            Online plus walk routes in Palm Springs and surrounding desert cities.

How:                Go to desertaidswalk.org for information and registration.

Why:                DAP needs community support for programs that offer our community:

          • Healthcare Access for All 
          • HIV/AIDS Education, Prevention & Care 
          • COVID-19 Clinic 

Health & Wellness Virtual Forum
Brought to you by Walgreens

Learn more about DAP's programs and services, our sponsors, and community partners. Since we can't inform, educate, and entertain in person we created a virtual forum for you to learn more about DAP's programs and services, our dedicated community sponsors, and the extended work of our partners. We'll send you a link before the virtual doors open.

Multiple Ways to Walk your Walk

We invite you to walk the familiar route that traditionally kicks off at Ruth Hardy Park where you might see a few surprises, but there are so many wonderful parks and trails across the Coachella Valley, why not visit one or more. Walking is good for the heart and soul. Click here to download the Ruth Hardy route. Suggested parks and trails in other neighborhoods include:

Demuth Park (Palm Springs)

Panorama Park (Cathedral City)

Guy J. Tedesco Park (Desert Hot Springs)

Michael S. Wolfson Park "Butler-Abrams Trail" (Rancho Mirage)

Civic Center Park (Palm Desert)

Bagdouma Park (Coachella)

South Jackson Park (Indio)

Capture and share your HOPE

Along the way there are plenty of opportunities for walkers to safely take selfies, like at new art installations, or designated stops to say hello to local businesses—all with the intention of sharing messages of HOPE via social media. 

In many ways, Desert AIDS Walk has always been virtual.  When it began thirty-four years ago, the first organizers say they did not know if the community would support it, but they knew the only way forward was together. Support from was instant, and their HOPE started to grow.  

 When walkers register, they will be given three clear reasons to walk in 2020:   

    • Healthcare Access for All 
    • HIV/AIDS Education, Prevention & Care 
    • COVID-19 Triage Clinic 

The reason for the Walk has never really been about balloon arches or walker t-shirts. It’s always been about the collective power of community and our shared vision of a future where everyone has the comprehensive care that they need to live their best lives.    

Desert AIDS Walk Paved Way For COVID Response

Because of community support, DAP developed the services needed to respond to the AIDS epidemic while creating a patient-centered model of care that helps people with HIV. 

Thirty-four years of walking created the roadmap DAP used to quickly open a COVID-19 Triage Clinic, which has provided testing and respiratory treatment to almost 3,500 residents since the pandemic began. Together we are boldly applying lessons from our past to today's crisis.  

 
Desert AIDS Project CEO, David Brinkman explains: "By opening one of California's first COVID clinics, DAP made a choice.  We are survivors; fear cannot rule us; when crisis sets it, we step forward."  

  • We have the ability to end epidemics, including HIV and COVID 
  • We integrate Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment as critical components of Primary Care 
  • We address Social Determinates of Health, including racism and poverty, through our inclusive model of healthcare. 

With the ongoing courage and support of this community, our organization thrives.    

The AIDS crisis left unhealed wounds and it’s understandable that we may resist leaving our comfort zone.  But AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response.  It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help.   

And as we’ve learned through our recent human rights and health equity movements, equality cannot be experienced by one until it is experienced by all.     You can find out more at www.DesertAIDSWalk.org.  

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit www.desertaidsproject.org to learn more.

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2020 Voter Information

2020 Voter Information

Due to the pandemic, all Californians with active voter registrations will automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Elections offices will send out vote-by-mail ballots by October 5. Confirm your registration to make sure elections officials have your current mailing address and language preference.

You can also vote in person in all Southern California counties. Below is a summary of your options to cast a ballot this November. Find more information below about your county.

Cast Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

Casting your vote-by-mail ballot will allow you to vote safely and will reduce crowding at polling locations or vote centers for individuals who need to or prefer to vote in-person. You can return a completed vote-by-mail ballot on or before Election Day by:

  • Mailing it to your local elections office Mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day, November 3, 2020. There is no postage required to return a vote-by-mail ballot.
  • Dropping it off at your local elections office or at any ballot drop box, polling place, or vote center.
    • Palm Springs City Hall and Demuth Community Center
    • Cathedral City 68700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero and Date Palm Country Club
    • Banning: 99 E. Ramsey St.
    • Beaumont: 440 E 6th St.
    • Hemet: 445 E. Florida Ave; Seven Hills Members Club; Valley Vista Library
    • Desert Hot Springs: 11999 Palm Drive
    • Rancho Mirage: 69825 Hwy 111
    • Palm Desert: PD City Hall
    • Indo: City Hall; Indo Corporate Yard; Indio Public Library 200 Civic Center Mall]

Vote-by-mail is a safe and secure option. Remember to sign your vote-by-mail envelope. You can track your vote-by-mail ballot to make sure it’s counted.

Voting Options by Southern California County

In California, you can always vote-by-mail by Election Day. If you decide to vote in-person or drop-off your ballot, you have options. Select your Southern California county of residence to learn more:

Riverside County

San Bernardino County

  • Polling Place. San Bernardino County will use a polling location model this November. There will be 210 polling locations. Voters will receive a polling “assignment” printed on the back of their Voter Information Guide, but they will be able to vote in-person or drop-off a ballot at any of the County’s 210 polling locations. A select number of locations will be available for early voting beginning October 26, and the rest will be available beginning October 31. Polling locations will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the early voting period. On Election Day, polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Ballot Drop-Box. San Bernardino County plans to have 70 secure Ballot Drop-off locations available beginning October 6.
  • See the final list of polling locations and Ballot Drop-Off locations in San Bernardino County as they are updated.

Using Tools That We Trust

Using Tools That We Trust 

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 19, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

Committed to Preventing Flu  

By missing a flu shot, as many as 50 million Americans may catch influenza this year, but now it can be much deadlier. 

Experts warn that it is possible to catch the flu on top of a COVID, but there is something everyone can do now to make a huge difference. Flu season starts in late fall, and getting your vaccination is recommended by October 1, 2020. 

Now is the time to schedule your flu shot with your DAP doctor by logging onto MyChart, or by calling (760) 323-2118. Please read more here

Flu season often is delayed in Southern California, meaning we see cases peak in January through February. DAP is timing its flu shots so that patients retain immunity during peak months. 

If you have HIV, you are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. In addition to taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), the best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu shot.  

Questions About Flu? Call Us! 

Our COVID Clinic also specializes in multiple upper and lower respiratory diseases, including flu. Anyone interested in talking about the flu should call 760-992-0407 to talk to a clinician.  

Desert AIDS Walk Paved Way for COVID Response 

36 years of walking created the roadmap DAP used to quickly open a COVID Clinic, which has provided testing and respiratory treatment to almost 3,500 residents since the pandemic began. Together we are boldly applying lessons from our past to today's crisis.  

Because of community support, DAP developed the services needed to respond to the AIDS epidemic while creating a patient-centered model of care that today helps more than 7,000 patients, regardless of HIV status. 

The AIDS crisis left unhealed wounds and it is understandable that we may resist leaving our comfort zone.  But AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response.  It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help. Read more here

Spike in HIV and STIs Troubles Preventio …

Spike in HIV and STIs Troubles Prevention Experts at DAP

Palm Springs, CA (July 16, 2020) -- Steadily rising rates of HIV, syphilis, and chlamydia in the Coachella Valley are showing that the last five months of living in the “new normal” has interfered with people taking care of their sexual health. These rates pose a significant threat to our community, one that is already fatigued from socially isolating and nervous about coming indoors for testing and medical visits.

By using DAP’s new at-home HIV testing resources, clients no longer have to put their health on hold if they are sheltering in place. Anyone interested in using these resources or have questions about accessing sexually health services should email testing@desertaidsproject.org or contact April Cruz, Community Health Diagnostic Testing & Outreach Manager at 760-656-8425.

DAP Testing data from June shows why community health experts have reason to worry. According to DAP, there were:

  • Triple the amount of new HIV infections, compared to any other month in the last year and-a-half,
  • Double the amount of new syphilis infections compared to May,
  • Double the chlamydia cases (a six-month trend!).

“If we take our finger off the pulse of the existing HIV and STI epidemic, we will undo the progress we’ve made in preventing new transmissions,” said C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health. “The lack of routine testing and treatment is only going to add to the tragedy of COVID-19.”

What Is A Syndemic?

Together, HIV, HCV and STIs create a syndemic—a set of linked health problems that interact synergistically and exacerbate poor health outcomes.

For example, having an STD increases the likelihood of acquiring HIV.  Among people who are living with HCV and HIV, HCV progresses faster and more than triples the risk for liver disease, liver failure, and liver related death. These epidemics are also driven by similar social and economic conditions and disproportionately impact many of the same disadvantaged communities.

DAP is part of End The Epidemics, a statewide working group of approximately 160 public health and community organizations urging Governor Newsom and the California Legislature to empower key stakeholders as soon as possible to fund and implement California’s strategy to end the HIV, HCV, and STI epidemics.

About End The Epidemics

The California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers, together with HIV, viral hepatitis, and STD community-based organizations across California, have launched a community-driven effort to inform development of a statewide plan to end the HIV, HCV, and STD epidemics in California. What makes this initiative innovative and unique – in addition to community leadership – is its ambitious goal of addressing these health conditions as a syndemic – a set of linked health problems that interact synergistically and exacerbate poor health outcomes. The syndemic approach differs from the biomedical approach in that it treats diseases concurrently and also addresses the social determinants of health that drive these epidemics. To learn more, visit: www.chprc.org/end-the-epidemics/

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Community Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services.  DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment for only $25 per visit, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future.  DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the sixth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.