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Where Did All This Peanut Allergy Come F …

Where Did All This Peanut Allergy Come From?

Words by Ellen Bluestein

 

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, as of 2017, 2.5% of children in the United States have peanut allergy. While that percentage may seem small, it translates to more than 1.8 million kids with a potentially fatal condition. 

 

“Probably about 20 years ago, it was clear that this was not only a growing problem, but it had already become a public health problem in the United States and around the world,” says Dr. Andrew Liu, a pediatric allergist at the University of Colorado. “I don’t know that we’re sure why or how peanut allergy has become so prevalent. But I think it’s pretty clear that it’s real.”

 

Researchers have been exploring several possible hypotheses. One — the hygiene theory — explores the idea that with the advent of germ-killing cleaning products, our environments no longer provide the exposure to microbes that the immune system recognizes and learns to fight off.

 

“What is a microbe-rich environment? One where we’re living around a lot of animals,” says Dr. Liu. “There have been a lot of studies where it looks like allergies are less common in kids growing up in farming environments or in developing nations where people live very closely to their animals. Some people think … that the immune system doesn’t see enough of those microbial exposures early because we’ve gone and cleaned up our environment.”

 

Early exposure to peanuts — between four and six months of age — may be one way to reduce the allergy. “The original observation was in Israel, where they had this teething cracker called Bamba which has peanut in it,” says Dr. Liu. “And they observed that within communities where this was a common cultural practice, the prevalence of peanut allergy in the kids was really low compared to what they were seeing in other communities.”

 

This led to more research and ultimately a definitive study on prevention. Children were given Bamba or a derivative, and then followed. Those who received the cracker were unlikely to develop peanut allergy compared to those who didn’t get it. “It looked like early exposure … when our bodies are learning about what is safe … is an essential time period,” says Dr. Liu. “If the immune system learns that the peanut is not something to be concerned about, then that stays.”

 

While there is still much to be discovered, Dr. Liu is optimistic that there will be remedies for those who suffer from the life-threatening condition. “There’s work going on to develop treatments to either reduce or prevent the severe reactions to those who are peanut allergic,” he says. “There continues to be investment in a lot of research … to try to get to that place where there are treatments that can be helpful for people and young kids who are allergic.”

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.

Making an IMPACT

Making an Impact

 

Behind The Scenes Of The Behind-The-Scenes Tour Dap Health Offers To Prospective Donors

 

Words by Rory Taylor

 

In 2021, Desert AIDS Project rebranded itself as DAP Health, a broader name to match a broader mission. “We’ve upgraded our services to include primary care and so much more,” says Director of Development James Lindquist. “You can now get mental health care, food, clothing — all these other services. These changes coincided with COVID-19-related interruptions in other fundraising efforts, so a novel approach was needed to connect partners to the expanded mission.”

In June of 2021, the IMPACT Hour — a facility tour for prospective donors that features behind-the-scenes spaces alongside testimonials — was introduced. The visit is intended to inform and to forge connections, rather than to ask for donations.

Entering the Annette Bloch CARE Building, DAP Health’s diversity of care immediately becomes visible in the several clinics within the structure, each named for a color corresponding to chakras: yellow for the solar plexus, green for the heart, blue for the throat, purple for the mind, and orange for the sacral region. Lindquist says this was done to promote privacy and dignity for patients and clients, and to avoid creating shame and stigma. 

“You can go to any primary care physician for your services at any of our clinics,” Lindquist continues. “If you go to the reception desk, you say, ‘I have an appointment in the Green Clinic,’ and they will direct you there. They’re not gonna know you’re here because of ‘X.’”

The tour consists of three primary stops, or “buckets,” focusing on ending epidemics, health equity, and mental health and addiction services. Each bucket features a storyteller — an employee, patient, or client — who helps demystify more of the organization’s operations and reach, following a “myth, fact, gap, need” framework. 

“With ending epidemics, we talk about a myth where people believe they’re not susceptible to infectious disease,” says Lindquist. “The fact of the matter is that everybody can get infected by something. COVID, HIV, mpox. Plus, in the Coachella Valley, 15% of people between the ages of 16 and 94 don’t have insurance, compared to the state average of 10%.”

One IMPACT Hour storyteller is LaWanda Manigo, a patient and client at DAP Health who challenges stereotypes about what is broadly perceived as queer health issues. “DAP Health is not just for what some people would typically believe would be [gay] white males,” says Manigo. “I’m letting everybody know there’s other options.” 

Meeting guests in the Blue Clinic, Manigo shares how living with HIV as a straight, Black woman impacts quality of life, and how a little education goes a long way. “They have educated me about my diseases, about my health, and have just made me, overall, a better person and a more informed patient, so that I can be more proactive and take a firmer stand in my own health care,” she says. “And that’s a benefit that’s gonna last me the rest of my life.”

That education comes not only in patient-practitioner relationships, but also through learning seminars with pharmaceutical representatives, group wellness programs, and social groups covering everything from cutting-edge HIV treatment and diabetes prevention to knitting and dog walking. 

At the core of the clinic cluster is the bullpen — the first tour stop, and one that exemplifies the broader mission DAP Health has taken on. “All the providers you have at DAP Health get together in the morning before your visit to discuss your case in what they call the bullpen,” says Manigo. “Everybody is touching base, so they get an overall view of what you’re dealing with as a complete person.” Lindquist echoes the great value found in holistic care. “I think a lot of times in our health care, you just get parts of people, you get fractions,” he says. “If you’re getting your primary care at one facility, but then you’re getting your dental somewhere else and you’re taking care of your sexual wellness somewhere else, and you’re getting your therapist somewhere else — that’s four places I’ve just named! And how many of those typically will be talking to each other?” 

The IMPACT Hour tours normally happen every second Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Invitations are made by staff and current donors. 

For more information, please visit: https://www.daphealth.org/support-our-mission/

Staying Health Can Save You Money

hand flip wooden block WEALTH to HEALTH with coins stack. Investment, Healthcare, Insurance and Work Life Balance concept

Staying Healthy Can Save You Money

Words by Dylan Foster

 

A healthy lifestyle is not only good for your physical health, but can also be healthy for your bank account. With smart planning and preparation, you can save money while living an active, healthy life. Here’s how:

Stay on Top of Your Health

Health care costs can add up quickly if you’re not careful. One of the best ways to save money on health care is to take advantage of preventative care services like annual check-ups or vaccinations. Many health insurance plans cover these services at no additional cost, and they can help detect potential issues before they become more serious — and expensive. Additionally, many states offer free screenings for cancer and other conditions that could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run.

Visiting a chiropractor can also be a worthwhile investment. A good chiropractor is often able to quickly identify the source of your pain and make a small adjustment to fix it. They will also tell you what behavior or condition led to that problem so that you can address the issue, instead of letting it compound, which can save you a lot of time and money. Plus, chiropractors are generally covered by health insurance, which makes visiting them more affordable.

Skip the Gym and Exercise at Home

Working out at home is a great way to stay fit without breaking the bank, especially if you consider the cost of gym memberships. With YouTube workouts and exercise apps, you usually won't need gym equipment, and can find free options. Simply power up your favorite device and get going without having to leave the house. Better yet, if you live near a park or beach, you can opt for simple outdoor activities like running or power walking, as these don’t require any investment at all.

Prepare Meals and Eat at Home

Eating out is often more expensive than eating at home, so cooking your meals from scratch is one of the best ways to stick to a budget while eating healthy. Taking some time each week to plan and prep meals will not only save you money in the long run but will also give you control over what ingredients go into your meals and how much food you consume. Meal-prepping also ensures you have something nutritious and tasty ready when hunger strikes.

Reducing your meat consumption is another great way to save money while eating healthier. Plant-based proteins such as lentils and beans are considerably cheaper than meat products and offer just as much protein. Gradually incorporating more plant-based proteins into your diet is an easy way to cut down on your grocery bill without sacrificing nutrition or taste.

Learning to brew your own coffee at home can also be a huge money saver. Instead of doling out $6 for your daily latte, educate yourself about coffee beans, quality, and caffeine. Then, apply your knowledge by preparing your latte or drip coffee at home. You may be surprised to discover you can make more caffeinated and better-tasting coffee in your own kitchen, and you don’t have to wait in line!

Buy Only What You Need

By meal-prepping, you can reduce spending as you can limit your shopping to what you need for the week. Also, buying nonperishable items like canned goods, beans, nuts, and grains in bulk will help reduce your grocery bill significantly over time. Women’s Day explains that these items last longer than their fresh counterparts and can easily be made into delicious meals with minimal effort. Just make sure to check expiration dates before making any purchases.

Keep a Healthy, Clean, and Sustainable Home

Even if you’re mindful of your budget, there are plenty of cost-effective ways to keep a healthy home. One of the simplest things you can do is to create your own cleaning supplies using natural ingredients like vinegar or baking soda — both of which will do an excellent job and provide great results.

To further reduce costs and be more mindful of your environmental impact, swap out disposal items such as paper towels with reusable cloth alternatives. You can also invest in cleaning tools like a vacuum cleaner — you might balk at the cost, but it will actually save you money in the long run. Make sure to read through user reviews of home products to ensure your investment is a worthwhile one.

If you decide you need a change of scenery, you could always move into a place that’s more conducive to wellness! Even if you’re only able to rent because of your budget, there are plenty of options out there, from apartments to houses for rent. In addition to checking prices, search for amenities to encourage your new lifestyle.

Earn Extra Income From Your Lifestyle Changes

For those looking for an extra source of income, monetizing your healthy lifestyle may be easier than you think, thanks to the internet and social media. Countless people visit platforms like Instagram or YouTube every day, looking for advice on fitness routines, meal ideas, etc. You can take advantage of this interest and start your own business by forming an LLC. This way, your business has its own legal identity separate from yours, keeping your finances healthy and protected.

If you’re not ready to be an entrepreneur, you can still use your healthy habits to help you get a new job. Update your resume with the strategies you have implemented, which could include your successful use of social media to promote your ideas. You can find free tools online to ensure your revised resume will turn heads. Most include templates so you don’t have to worry about the design aspects of your revision. Just focus on tailoring your content to the new job you want to pursue. 

Healthy, Happy Living Makes Cents

A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little bit of planning, it’s possible for everyone, including busy entrepreneurs, to enjoy the benefits that come with living a healthy and active life without spending too much money along the way. Find strategies that work best for you, and make them a part of your daily routine. You’ll find that you’re feeling healthier and saving money in no time!

Queerer by the Dozen

Queerer by the Dozen

12 recent LGBTQ+ films to watch during Pride month

Words by Trey Burnette

Last year was record-breaking for queer representation on the big and small screens. Below are 12 movies that were vying for Oscars in 2023, which you can stream and/or rent now.

Aftersun is a quiet and searingly emotional drama from writer/director Charlotte Wells. Through old family vacation videos, adult Sophie revisits her last childhood holiday spent with her father. While she treasures the rare and last time she saw him, she reconciles losing him to his depression and the weight of his world outside their relationship.

Star Attraction: The breathtaking Paul Mescal (the upcoming Gladiator, Stanley Kowalski in London’s recent Streetcar revival) as the young dad.

Bros is a romantic comedy about two gay men with commitment issues. Bobby is a neurotic and caustic podcaster who first spots shirtless Aaron, a well-muscled and emotionally shallow lawyer, on a dance floor. The two seem equally attracted and repulsed by each other, but Bobby stumbles away from his bitterness and into love with a somewhat maturing Aaron.

Star Attraction: Writer-lead Billy Eichner and dreamy holiday movie staple Luke Macfarlane

Everything Everywhere All at Once won the most recent Best Picture Oscar. This surrealist comedy-adventure centers on a Chinese-American immigrant navigating a tax audit for her laundromat. At the same time — in an unraveling multidimensional reality — she rectifies her relationships with her husband, queer daughter, and life choices.

Star Attraction: Six other Oscars, including Best Actress Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Best Supporting Actor Ke Huy Quan, and writing-directing duo The Daniels.

Fire Island revolves around a group of gay best friends who gather on Fire Island for their annual week of drinks and twinks. The gaggle gathering turns serious when Noah has a sudden meet-cute. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, this romantic comedy humorously explores the boundaries of chosen family when one friend finds love with an outsider.

Star Attraction: Writer Joel Kim Booster and his queer cronies Bowen Yang and Margaret Cho.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a whodunnit comedy that follows world-famous gay detective Benoit Blanc to a billionaire’s estate on a Greek island. There, he must peel back the layers surrounding the tech billionaire and his eclectic and questionable crew of friends. Everyone is a suspect when more than one dead body surfaces.

Star Attraction: The sparkling cast, led by Bond (Daniel Craig) playing Blanc.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody is a music-heavy bio-drama about Whitney Houston that, refreshingly, doesn’t shy away from her relationship with girlfriend Robyn Crawford. The story tracks her from New Jersey choir girl to international superstar while exploring the complex ramifications of unrequited love, homophobia, racism, and unhealthy relationships.

Star Attraction: Those golden top ten Whitney hits!

My Policeman begins with present-day Tom, Marion, and Patrick still filled with anger and regret about their complicated triangle and the compromises made to survive the dangerous society of their young adulthood. This poignant English drama about forbidden love and betrayal explores not only this trio’s past, but their last chance to free themselves by finding forgiveness for themselves and one another.

Star Attraction: Doubly cast roles, led by undeniably talented pop music god Harry Styles.

Spoiler Alert, based on Michael Ausiello’s memoir “Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies,” is a heartbreaking yet hilarious love story about his and photographer Kit Cowan's 14-year relationship, which ended after Cowan’s battle with cancer. You’ll laugh through your tears.

Star Attraction: Sally Field as Kit’s Mom, Jim Parsons as Ausiello, and hunky Ben Aldridge as Kit.

Tár is a psychological drama about Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer-conductors — the very first female director of a major German orchestra — and accusations of her sexual misconduct. Lesbian Lydia unravels as the film questions if she’s a monster, victim, or both, becoming a surrealist ghost story about power and cancel culture in the process.

Star Attraction: The inimitable double Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.

The Inspection was inspired by writer/director Elegance Bratton’s real life. The coming-of-age drama focuses on a young Black gay man who struggles with the intersectionality of racism, masculinity, and homophobia. By enlisting in the Marine Corps, he hopes to gain the approval of his misguided mom, but instead experiences further abuse via targeted military hazing. In the end, he finds community and belonging that reshape his identity.

Star Attraction: Rising queer actor Jeremy Pope.

The Whale is an affecting drama about a reclusive English teacher battling an eating disorder as he grieves the death of his boyfriend. His physical health quickly deteriorating, he tries to restore his relationship with his teenage daughter while seeking redemption and peace with the past.

Star Attraction: Best Actor Oscar winner Brendan Fraser.

Women Talking is based on Miriam Toews’s novel by the same name. Both are inspired by actual events, in which the women of an isolated religious commune suffer rape and other atrocities by the men in their community. Convening in a barn while their abusers are away, they debate how to move forward together to build a better world for themselves and their children. Shall they do nothing, stay and fight, or leave?

Star Attraction: Oscar-winning writer-director Sarah Polley, alongside her unforgettable cast.

Summertime, and the Protestin’ Is Easy

Summertime, and the Protestin’ Is Easy

Words by Trey Burnette

June is Pride month. Here are 10 fun, effective ways to incorporate activism into your summer activities.

1) Vacation Vacancy

Don’t just cancel your vacation reservations in places (Florida, Texas, Tennessee, etc.) that are passing discriminatory laws. Send the businesses, tourist board, and local city government an email or handwritten letter explaining why you will be unable to visit and spend your money with them this summer.

2) Postcard Picnic

Grab a picnic basket and some postcards with messages for political leaders, and head to the park with some friends. While lunching outdoors, stamp and address the postcards. Use Pride month to remind lawmakers what issues you care about and how legislation affects your life.

3) Banned Beach Reads

Book banning is nothing new in America, but unfortunately, extremists have recently stepped up their efforts. The best way to counter these actions is to head down to your favorite bookseller — like The Best Bookstore in Palm Springs, to support small local business owners — and buy banned books (and/or tomes by marginalized authors) for your summertime reads.

4) Pride Parade Protest

Many in the LQBTQ+ community wonder if we still needed Pride festivals and parades. The last several years have shown us we do. Plan a trip to experience Pride in a new city. Show the world our community is vibrant and proud, while connecting with new people and seeing how different cities celebrate their Pride.

5) Tea-Time Testimonies 

Find your voice with those you love. Invite friends over for some iced tea and share your stories. Let them know what you are going through, how you’re feeling, and give them space to share their own stories. The current social and political climate is overwhelming, and finding friends with whom to weather the storm is healthy for everyone. People need to be reminded they’re not alone and that solutions for a better tomorrow can be realized together.

6) Planned Parenthood Pool Plunge 

Remember, it’s not just LGBTQ+ people under attack in the current political atmosphere. Women and other marginalized people (some of whom are LGBTQ+) are also fighting to keep their civil rights. Find the organizations that support those groups — like Planned Parenthood or the NAACP — and host a pool party fundraiser for them. Show them they’re not alone and the LGBTQ+ community has their backs. No pool? Get out the Slip-N-Slide!

7) Lemonade Letters 

Unfortunately, many people aren’t always aware of what’s happening outside of their daily lives. If you have friends or family who live in a state where extreme and discriminatory laws are being considered — or passed! — take a minute to turn a sour situation into something sweet. Pour yourself a glass of lemonade, and craft a handwritten letter informing loved ones how these laws affect you and your community. A personal story brings advocacy home.

8) Mitzvah Margaritas

Going out for drinks, search for venues that provide stage time for queer and ally performers. The LGBTQ+ community has a long history of political activism throughout the arts. It’s essential to support not only those artists, but the venues that support them.

9) Camp Colorful 

The LGBTQ+ community pitches a big tent, and it’s important to remember the community’s diversity. Summer is a time for many art, music, film, and community festivals, and many of these have political undertones. Find some events off your beaten path. There may be an LGBTQ+ person who has an intersection with another marginalized group, and who can use your support at one of those affairs — or maybe you just have fun while proudly supporting another community.

10) Summertime Self-care

You have to advocate for yourself before you can advocate for anyone else. Start by checking if you are in tip-top shape. Look into DAP Health’s many services, like yearly medical exams, STI screenings, and behavioral health services. Or discover the benefits of their wellness programs and social services.

Opening of DAP Health’s Orange Clinic …

Opening of DAP Health’s New Orange Clinic Officially Commemorated

On the evening of Wednesday, February 15, some 75 invitees attended the formal ribbon-cutting of DAP Health’s new Orange Clinic, which is devoted to sexual wellness and housed in the Annette Bloch CARE Building at the main Palm Springs headquarters.

The occasion marked yet another important milestone for Vision Forward, the organization’s 10-year strategic plan that will see it grow to serve 25,000 patients a year by 2025 thanks to expanded medical, dental, and mental health clinics and a new on-campus affordable housing complex that will add 60 units at Vista Sunrise II to the existing 81 units at Vista Sunrise.

As guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres provided with compliments of major donor Jerry Keller’s Lulu California Bistro, DAP Health CEO David Brinkman took center stage first, announcing that 90% of Vision Forward’s required funding has been amassed, but stressing that $6 million remains to be raised.

Brinkman went on to thank not only the late, great Annette Bloch and her daughter Linda Lyon — who together bequeathed a total of $4 million to the effort — but other major campaign patrons such as Desert Care Network, Mark Adams and the Ridgeway-Adams Community Center, Dorothy and Mel Lefkowitz (in memory of Keller’s wife, Barbara), Steve Tobin and Johnny Krupa of the Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation (whose donation endowed the Orange Clinic reception area), Mike Feddersen and Tom McClay (who funded the Blue Clinic lobby), DAP Health Board Chair Patrick Jordan, Board Secretary Mark Hamilton and Juan Francisco (who gave to establish the café that will reside in the future Tenet Health Pavilion), Charles Robbins and Damon Romine (benefactors of Exam Room 1 in the Orange Clinic), Board Vice Chair Lauri Kibby, Board Member Kevin Bass and Brent Bloesser, Paul Kowal, Keith Kincaid and Chris Harms, DAP Health Chief Financial Officer Judy Stith, and Lulu’s Keller.

“From Day One, demand has been high and so has patient satisfaction,” continued Brinkman, speaking specifically to sexual wellness needs in the Coachella Valley — including free HIV and STI testing as well as prevention services such as PrEP and PEP. “But one thing was missing — a permanent home. A suitable home. A home that says everyone is welcome and everyone deserves to be cared for in a clean, professional, and dignified environment.”

Orange Clinic Nurse Practitioner Anna Daymon spoke more to that point when she related the story of a transgender patient, Erica, who is living with HIV and who had refused to seek care in the past for fear of attitudes of unenlightened health care professionals. “Erica immediately connected with our Orange Clinic staff, speaking openly with our nurses Chris and Johnny without embarrassment,” said Daymon. “She was shocked by the support that DAP Health’s team provided, which included transportation and insurance assistance. What she realized is that staying in care is actually really easy when one has the right team caring for you. At DAP Health, we accept all people — sex workers, male, female, and trans alike. They all come to the Orange Clinic because they know they’re going to receive competent, compassionate care without stigma or judgment.”

Before noting that in 2022, 5000 patients were cared for at the Orange Clinic — free of cost, as well — Daymon said many patients refer to themselves as “bad” or “stupid” for their actions. “Shaming themselves, just for living,” she revealed. “I simply say, ‘No’ to shame. It’s just sex. You’re just living your life and you’re taking care of yourself and others by being here today. And we got you.”

Charles Robbins — who has spent most of his life working in LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS nonprofit spaces — spoke last, adding to Daymon’s message on behalf of himself and of his husband, Damon Romine. “DAP Health is sex-positive,” he affirmed. “The staff is sex-positive. We know that in the Coachella Valley, and especially here in Palm Springs, there’s a lot of sex going on and we love it! It’s healthy, and we want to make sure people are not only taking care of themselves but of the community. That’s why coming in and getting regular testing and treatment is such an important activity. The fact that they can do so in a stigma-free and beautiful environment — that’s why my husband, Damon, and I decided to make an investment. We believe in this community. The work the staff does here is making a difference, making an impact in people’s lives. That’s why we made a gift. We’re just happy to be part of the family.”

It was at that point that Robbins, Krupa, and Tobin took giant orange scissors and — flanked by Brinkman, staff members, and other donors — cut the long orange ribbon, proving that, at DAP Health, everyone is part of the family.

Announcing The Chase 2023 Honorees, Ente …

DAP Health Announces Partnerships, Honorees, and Entertainment for Its Annual Fundraiser The Chase  

When the dazzling 29th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards (AKA The Chase) return as an all in-person event outdoors at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday, March 25, the show will feature Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor and musician Darren Criss as its headline performer. The DAP Health Equity Award will be presented to fashion icon and philanthropist Donna Karan. Desert Healthcare District & Foundation CEO Dr. Conrado E. Bárzaga and the organization’s board of directors will be honored with the DAP Health Humanitarian Award.

Karan believes that through creativity, collaboration, connection, and community one can change the world. This conviction lies at the heart of Urban Zen, established by Karan in 2007. The foundation is dedicated to three initiatives: preservation of culture (past); bringing mind, body, and spirit to health care (present); and education (future).

“The Desert Healthcare District & Foundation is the epitome of what the DAP Health Humanitarian Award stands for, and we can think of no organization more deserving to receive this honor,” says DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “It’s a testament to leadership shown by Dr. Conrado E. Bárzaga and the board during both the COVID-19 and mpox crises. It allowed our organization to make an enormous impact on the lives of valley residents.”

Attendees of The Chase can expect a fast-paced evening led by returning host Michael Urie (a Drama Desk Award-winning star of the new Apple TV+ hit comedy series “Shrinking”), with additional performances by Broadway’s Nick Adams (Hulu’s “Fire Island”) and Saycon Sengbloh, a Tony Award nominee.

“Your presence at The Chase, beyond signaling your support for our honorees, shows your continued commitment to DAP Health’s 10,000+ patients and clients,” continues Brinkman. “Every attendee can count themselves among the bighearted humanitarians who help remove roadblocks to quality care and supportive services for their neighbors and friends so that everyone may live life to their fullest potential.”

Presenting Sponsor Eisenhower Health

The event is presented by Eisenhower Health, a longtime supporter of DAP Health that shares its vision of creating a community where everyone has access to health care and to lives lived with wellness. Eisenhower Health’s President and Chief Executive Officer Marty Massiello explains, “The health care needs of the Palm Springs community present unique challenges. According to recent statistics, the prevalence rate of people living with HIV in Palm Springs is more than 21 times higher than California overall. Eisenhower Health, like our community partner DAP Health, is dedicated to understanding and treating the specific needs of this first generation of people who are aging with HIV. Providing HIV specialists and focusing on both prevention and treatment are vital to advancing health care equality in our community. It’s events like The Chase that help raise awareness, and much-needed funds, to meet these unique health care advancements that both organizations see among our patients.”

Eisenhower Health has been a supporter of DAP Health for decades. “DAP Health and Eisenhower Health share the same vision and the same values,” continues Massiello. “Our organizations envision a community where everyone has access to the care they need, when they need it. We continue to collaborate and innovate together to meet the expanding needs of our valley. We are proud to support the work DAP Health is doing to redefine what health care is and what it can be in the future — including the many social determinants that inform wellness, including housing, health care access, nutrition, and mental health.”

Special Thanks to Amazon for Its Support.

Preceding the main event, guest arrival will take place on an expanded Blue Carpet that honors health care workers and that will grant entrance to Amazon’s Amazing Cocktail Party, where local sensation DJ Modgirl will spin. Amazon is proud to invite attendees of The Chase to think big during the cocktail party. “We imagine a room filled with local leaders communicating bold ideas that inspire our community to create a better path to health care,” says Amazon’s Head of External Affairs & Community Engagement for The West and Inland Empire David Ambroz.

Explaining the synergy between DAP Health and Amazon, Ambroz continues: “What I saw during my first tour has stayed with me all year. I noticed that DAP Health approaches innovation the same way Amazon does — we start with our customers and work backward. DAP Health remains patient-centric in its delivery of human care and development of new ways to improve health and wellness.”

Brinkman: “Amazon serves the valley’s residents, business owners, and employees. The organization has made a long-term commitment to our community, having done business here for more than 10 years, and we are grateful for the company’s prioritization of equitable access to health care for everyone. DAP Health looks forward to partnering with Amazon all year long as we increase the positive impact we can make together. As a leader in our community, Amazon has a vision for — and commitment to — our success.”

The Chase

Created by (and named after) the late, world-renowned interior designer Steve Chase — an early DAP Health donor, volunteer, and board member who worked touring the globe but loved Palm Springs best — this glittery gala is a golden star on the desert’s social calendar.

Co-chairs Kevin Bass, Lauri Kibby, and Scott Nevins promise an evening rife with messages to inspire guests to think more boldly about the future of wellness throughout the Coachella Valley.

Tickets, and more information, are available at daphealth.org/thechase.

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 by 2025 thanks to expanded medical, dental, and mental health clinics and a new on-campus 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.

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.

About Eisenhower Health

Situated on 130 acres in Rancho Mirage, and with outpatient clinics across the valley, Eisenhower Health has provided a full range of quality medical and educational services for 50 years for residents and visitors to the greater Coachella Valley. Over the past decade, Eisenhower has added physicians specializing in HIV, including respected researchers, to provide high-quality care to patients. Eisenhower has twice earned ANCC Magnet Recognition® for professionalism in nursing and excellence in patient care. The first accredited teaching hospital in the valley, Eisenhower trains physician residents in internal medicine, family medicine, and emergency medicine, and offers fellowships in sports medicine, addiction medicine, pulmonary disease, and infectious disease. For more information, visit EisenhowerHealth.org or follow Eisenhower Health on social media.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon.

About Donna Karan

Donna Karan’s philosophy is reflected in the unique retail experiences her brand offers, which features globally inspired apparel as well as products she has sourced and developed with artisans all over the world. A voracious traveler and lifelong yogi — as well as a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother — Karan considers her foundation Urban Zen the realization of her dream not just to dress people, but to address them as well. Throughout her career as a designer, Karan has founded or helped lead many legendary philanthropic efforts, including Seventh on Sale benefiting AIDS research, Super Saturday supporting the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and Pediatric AIDS Foundation family carnival Kids for Kids.

About Desert Healthcare District & Foundation and CEO Dr. Conrado E. Bárzaga

The Desert Healthcare District is a local government agency formed in 1948 to build a hospital in Palm Springs. Today, through a robust grants program and collaborative community outreach, its mission is to achieve optimal health at all stages of life for all District residents. The District includes more than 400,000 residents and encompasses the entire Coachella Valley. It is governed by a seven-member board of elected directors. The District and Desert Healthcare Foundation, together, are one of the largest funders in the valley. The agency has awarded $92.7 million in funds since 1998. These funds are used to assist residents — especially the underserved — in accessing vitally needed resources, such as primary and behavioral healthcare.

Conrado E. Bárzaga, MD, is an internationally recognized public health leader with over 20 years of experience. He currently serves as chief executive officer of the Desert Healthcare District & Foundation. Since joining the agency staff in July 2019, Dr. Bárzaga has guided the District in achieving state certification from the California Special Districts Association and the Association of California Healthcare Districts. In 2020, he led the development of the Coachella Valley Equity Collaborative to implement an equitable COVID-19 response. He officially joined the Association of California Healthcare Districts Board of Directors in 2021, and currently is chairperson of its Advocacy Committee. Dr. Bárzaga has directed the development of public health programs in the U.S. and abroad. He is a fellow of the Global Child Dental Fund at King’s College, London, and a health leadership fellow of Coro, a leading nonpartisan public policy institution. A native of Cuba, Dr. Bárzaga has extensive experience in philanthropy and international public health systems, such as developing the community health infrastructure with the Bolivian Ministry of Health and Doctors without Borders. He earned his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from the University of Havana in 1994.

About Michael Urie

Returning for the second year in a row to do the honors as host of The Chase is Michael Urie, who found sudden fame soon after graduating from New York City’s The Juilliard School with 2010’s “Ugly Betty” on ABC, in which he played assistant Marc St. James and for which he was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. From there, Urie accumulated a slew of celebrated film and TV credits, including “Younger,” “Modern Family,” “Hot in Cleveland,” and “The Good Wife.” In 2021, he was the star of Netflix’s first gay-themed holiday movie, “Single All the Way.” Onstage, he originated the role of Alex More in Jonathan Tolins’ Off-Broadway Streisand satire “Buyer & Cellar,” which he then took on a national tour. He’s also stomped the boards as the lead of such revered pieces as “Angels in America,” “Torch Song,” “Hamlet,” How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “The Cherry Orchard,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “A Bright Room Called Day,” and “Jane Anger.” He currently co-stars with Harrison Ford in the Apple TV+ hit comedy series “Shrinking.”

About Darren Criss

Since bursting onto the pop culture landscape over a decade ago, Darren Criss has embodied the kind of kaleidoscopic artistry that’s entirely uninhibited by form or genre. For this concert, he will be performing a playlist of songs featured throughout his wildly eclectic career as both a songwriter and performer.

Before Darren Criss exploded into the internet’s subculture as both an actor and songwriter for the YouTube viral hit “A Very Potter Musical” in 2009, he had made a small name for himself playing unique interpretations of popular songs he’d perform at cafés and bars in his hometown of San Francisco. Little did he know that the same knack for covering tunes would serve him well in 2010, when he was cast on FOX’s massively successful musical series “Glee,” from which many of his performances of popular songs would lead to several Billboard-topping records. In 2015, his songwriting also landed him an Emmy nomination for Best Original Music and Lyrics for penning the song “This Time” for the show’s series finale.

Criss has continued to write and produce music extensively through the years, whether for his own releases as an artist or as a songwriter for theater, film, and television. In 2019, he created, executive produced, starred in, and provided all the original songs for his short-form musical comedy series “Royalties,” and earlier this year provided the music and lyrics for the opening number of the 2022 Tony Awards: “Act One.” As an artist, he most recently delivered a genre-diverse collection of “character-driven” singles as part of his 2021 solo EP titled “Masquerade” (BMG), and in the same year, released a full-length Christmas album titled — aptly — “A Very Darren Crissmas” (Decca).

Criss is also a stage veteran whose Broadway credits include the titular role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (2015), “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (2012), and the 2022 revival of David Mamet’s seminal play “American Buffalo,” alongside Laurence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell. In 2018, his work in Ryan Murphy’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” received wide critical acclaim, earning him a Primetime Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics’ Choice awards. Criss most recently starred in Netflix’s hit series “Hollywood,” for which he also served as executive producer.

About Nick Adams  

Nick Adams is an award-winning actor, singer, and dancer. He co-stars as Cooper in the critically acclaimed Searchlight feature film “Fire Island” (a Gotham Award winner, People’s Choice Award nominee for Comedy of the Year, and GLAAD Award nominee). Notably, Adams originated the role of Adam/Felicia in the Tony-winning Broadway musical “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” which earned him an honor from the American Theater Hall of Fame, two Broadway Audience Choice Awards, and an Astaire Award nomination for Best Dancer on Broadway. He received national critical acclaim for his portrayal of Whizzer in the North American tour of Lincoln Center Theater’s Broadway production of “Falsettos,” directed by James Lapine. Adams was the final actor to star as Fiyero in the first national touring production of “Wicked.” He recently originated the role of Alexis Gilmore in the Broadway World Award-winning world premiere of “Drag: The Musical” in Hollywood, California, and can be heard on the studio cast album.

About Saycon Sengbloh

Saycon Sengbloh is an award-winning actress with a gift for dramatic storytelling and soaring vocal prowess. The Atlanta native is known for her incredible breadth and versatility, both as an actress and a singer, and has had an exciting year with tentpole projects on the big and small screens. Sengbloh currently stars in the ABC reboot of the classic 1980s family comedy “The Wonder Years” from executive producers Saladin Patterson and Lee Daniels. Saycon plays Lillian Williams, the sharp and confident mother of the young protagonist Dean, narrated by Don Cheadle. She was also recently seen as Erma Franklin, sister to Aretha, in the biopic “Respect,” starring Jennifer Hudson (MGM/United Artists). Having started her career on the stage, Sengbloh has since appeared in nearly a dozen Broadway productions. She starred opposite Lupita Nyong’o in award-winning playwright Danai Gurira’s “Eclipsed” (both on and off-Broadway), which earned her a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, an Obie Award, and a Tony Award nomination.

SPONSORS

PRESENTING SPONSOR

Eisenhower Health

PLATINUM SPONSOR

Amazon

MAJOR SPONSORS

AEG

Desert Care Network

The Desert Sun / Local IQ

Barry Manilow and Garry Kief

Harold Matzner

NBC Palm Springs

Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa/Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation

STAR SPONSOR

Steven Anders/The Elizabeth Firth Wade Endowment

SUPPORTING SPONSORS

Kevin Bass & Brent Bloesser

Fromberg Edelstein Fromberg

Gilead

Scot & Lance Karp

KESQ

Lauri & Charles Kibby

Scott Nevins & Philip Hodges

Savoury’s

Trina Turk

Walgreens

Marc Walters

BENEFACTOR SPONSORS

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Daniel & Carolyn Caldwell

Coachella Valley Health Personnel

Diageo

HR Simplistic

JJLA

John Holley Pugh Gift Fund

Labcorp

Living Out Palm Springs

Maximum Security

Perry S. McKay

Palm Springs Disposal Services

Revive Wellness

PATRON SPONSORS

JP Morgan Chase

John Williams & Jean-Guy Lachance

Queer Works

MEDIA SPONSORS

Alpha Media

CV Independent

Gay Desert Guide

Palm Springs Life

PromoHomo.TV

The Hollywood Times

The Standard Magazine

Know Your PrEP Options

PrEP: So Many Options

As seen in GED Magazine

The HIV prevention world has changed dramatically in the more than 10 years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gilead Sciences’ Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in July 2012.

Following the discovery that Truvada can pose renal and bone density problems in some individuals (which, thankfully, go away after the medication is discontinued), the FDA approved Gilead’s more kidney-and-bone-friendly Descovy as PrEP in October 2019. While Truvada is currently available as a generic equivalent, Descovy is still under patent.

More than a year ago — on December 20, 2021 — the FDA approved GSK’s Apretude, the first and only long-acting injectable form of PrEP, which requires a new dose every two months.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), when taken as prescribed, PrEP reduces the risk of HIV infection from sexual activity by more than 99%, and by at least 74% for those who use intravenous drugs. You should be on PrEP for HIV protection if you are 18 years or older, are sexually active (or soon planning to be), and are HIV negative.

“The great news with injectable PrEP is that it is a wonderful alternative for people who have issues with adherence and may forget to take their daily pill,” says DAP Health Clinical Supervisor of Sexual Wellness, Nurse Practitioner Trent Broadus. “It’s also very helpful for unhoused people who may have nowhere to store their meds, or who may be concerned that they’ll be stolen. Even more exciting, longer-lasting forms of injectable PrEP are currently being studied. Data are promising on one injection that would last a full six months.”

Before starting PrEP — whether orally or by injection — you’ll need to get tested for HIV, STIs, kidney function, and Hepatitis B and C.

Some people experience gas, nausea, or headache when beginning PrEP. These side effects typically go away within the first week. Note that it takes at least one week on PrEP before you’re protected for anal sex, and three weeks for vaginal sex.

Most insurance plans cover oral PrEP for HIV. Injectable PrEP is covered by Medi-Cal, but some Medicare and private insurance plans may require you to go through your primary care provider.

All forms of PrEP require regular follow-up HIV, STI, and kidney function testing. Every three months for oral PrEP; every two months for injectable PrEP.

You should talk to your doctor before stopping any medication. And if you stop taking PrEP, talk to a health care provider about using other HIV prevention strategies.

If you’re interested in PrEP, contact a DAP Health PrEP navigator at 760.656.8400. You can also talk to any nurse or nurse practitioner during your visit if you want to discuss which PrEP may be right for you.

If you don’t have health care insurance, or if you need financial assistance, a PrEP navigator can also explain your options, help you get access, and answer questions about finding a doctor or working with your pharmacy.

And remember: All PrEP visits and lab work done at DAP Health’s sexual wellness clinics in Palm Springs and Indio are always free of charge to all patients.

A Long Life Well-Lived Through Service

A Long Life Well-Lived Through Service

Per Frank Sinatra, love is lovelier the second time around. For Connie Lobo, life is a waltz — one, two, three time’s a charm. A 15-year Revivals Palm Desert staff member, Connie is small in stature but mighty in knowledge. She brings more than 50 years of experience to the store. 

She came to Rancho Mirage 23 years ago to visit a friend when something unexpected happened: She met Denis. Their commonalities astounded them. Each is an only child, each has the same China pattern from previous marriages, each installed the same tile in their hallway, and their birthdays are five days apart in March. What didn’t they have in common? Their age. Denis is 12 years Connie’s junior.

But age is just a number. So, a year later, Connie sold her house in Arizona, and they moved in together. Her eldest daughter, Cecelia, joined them later. Immortalized in Joshua M. Dragotta’s 2012 documentary, Cecelia gained fame as exotic dancer and burlesque performer Satan’s Angel. Her specialty is in the film’s title: “Satan’s Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels.”

Connie and Denis never married because, she says, with a twinkle in her eye, “My first name is Constance, and his last name is Constant.” While that’s true, it was pragmatism that won the day. Both have children from previous marriages — Denis, one son; Connie, two, plus Cecelia. Their previous lives and estates were written in permanent markers. 

A home furnishings designer, Connie took a position at Wacky Wicker, but when the owner sold, Connie retired, something she’d tried several times. It never stuck. 

Cecelia suggested she volunteer. Connie resisted but interviewed as a gesture. She spent a year donating of her time at Revivals in Cathedral City. Her skill at identifying and pricing pre-loved home furnishings didn’t go unnoticed. Revivals Palm Desert offered her a staff position. Retirement just wasn’t sticky.

“Everyone knows and enjoys Connie,” says Palm Desert Store Manager Douglas Marriott. “Her wealth of knowledge helps me function better. We recently had a few statues that I thought were worth maybe $250.” Connie pipes in: “They were Rossi.” That’s Leonardo Rossi, whose work has brought up to $5,000 at auction. Connie’s pricing was fair, but nowhere near what you’d pay at auction or retail. “They didn’t stay around long,” Marriott says with a chuckle.

This year marks Connie’s 97th on the planet. When asked her secret to longevity, she quips, “Black coffee.” Her two boys — Ron (75) and Ray (65) — live in Texas and New Jersey, respectively. Cecelia passed away in 2019 at age 75. It’s still difficult for Connie. Cecelia was not only her firstborn. “We were the best of friends,” Connie says quietly. “The best.”

When a night out is called for, Connie and Denis enjoy La Tablita (near the Cathedral City Revivals), but she prefers to cook and stay in with Denis and their two rescue pups. Some believe if you’re over 60, you can’t find good, lasting friends, let alone love. After two marriages, and 70 years, Connie found both. She can’t tell you the recipe for love, but she can share her recipe for chili.

Connie Lobo’s Kansas Style Chili: Brown one pound of ground beef seasoned with salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and chili powders. Add two cans Mexican-style tomatoes and four cans of red kidney beans. Heat until done. Enjoy with corn chips.