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DAP Transgender Health Program Earns ELEVATE Certification

Palm Springs, CA (December 5, 2019) — Desert AIDS Project (DAP) has earned certification in ELEVATE gender-affirmation healthcare training by Annenberg Center For Health Sciences at Eisenhower Health. This nationwide initiative sets a high bar for cultural competence in healthcare professionals involved in primary care and HIV care for the transgender, intersex and gender diverse clients. 

Transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people are disproportionately affected by HIV in the U.S. and globally. ELEVATE certification shows that DAP clinicians and personnel have the empathy and expertise to welcome and retain members of our TGNC community in HIV care.

“This designation reflects the commitment we have as an organization to our transgender, intersex and gender diverse clients,” said Anthony Velasco, NP and Co-Chair of DAP’s Transgender Health Program. “Our services and programs are most effective when we address intersectionality issues that contribute to stigma and discrimination unique to their struggle.”

The ultimate goal of ELEVATE is to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care for TGNC patients. In addition to barriers accessing primary healthcare and sexual health check-ups, competent HIV care is commonly elusive for them.

This is especially troubling, as the percentage of transgender people who received a new HIV diagnosis was 3 times the national average in 2017. (CDC)

Not enough health care clinicians receive proper training or are knowledgeable about TGNC health issues. This can lead to limited health care access and negative health care encounters. (CDC) DAP is seeking to reverse this trend, especially in the Coachella Valley.

“By providing services designed to empower and engage our clients in ongoing relationships with their primary care clinician, we address the full spectrum of health and wellness needs,” Velasco said. “We also seek opportunities to equip all of our staff with the knowledge and skills to achieve cultural competency and cultural humility.”


The Annenberg Center has established a special designation certificate program to recognize individuals and healthcare practices for environments that ensure optimal, culturally sensitive, and culturally competent care for TGNC patients. ELEVATE is a nationwide initiative to create welcoming, gender-affirming healthcare environments for transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) patients. By improving the cultural competencies of healthcare professionals and personnel involved in primary care and in HIV care, the ultimate goal of ELEVATE is to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care for transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) patients. To learn more, visit www.elevate.annenberg.net

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified 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.