The Partners for Life Season Opens with a Story of Healing
A beautiful evening, empowering messages, and a dazzling performance by Keisha D. This was the November 9 Season Opening Partners for Life event hosted at the home of Doug Chadwick, with catering provided by Lulu's California Bistro. It was the first Partners for Life gathering in almost two years continuing the theme of the organization's October 30 Desert AIDS Walk - Together Again.
DAP Health CEO David Brinkman addressed supporters, providing an update on the advocacy-based healthcare organization and its focus on health equity.
Explaining how DAP Health's roots in community care continue to guide future planning, Brinkman explained “We believe that everyone deserves to be healthy and that stems from our unique history."
“Our founding 37 years ago at the beginning of the AIDS crisis was fraught with horrific human suffering, denied medical care, and outright cruelty. Hard-won lessons learned throughout our history led us to our health equity movement: Our fight to be healthy, our fight for our human rights.”
Joining Brinkman on stage was singer and humanitarian, Keisha D who was honored with a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in 2020. Keisha D has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community and young people in our community. She established the Keisha D scholarship, an endowment through the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) that is awarded to underserved minority students who wish to pursue education in music and performing arts.
Keisha D shared her experience at DAP Health. When she arrived for her first appointment, she felt hopeless because of her medical challenges.
“I was lying in bed, I was 105 pounds, and I could barely lift my head,” Keisha D told attendees. “They rolled me in a wheelchair to see Dr. (David) Morris and I told him that all I want you to do is set me up for hospice. I am sick of this. I want to die. I don’t want to do this anymore."
“Dr. Morris (DAP Health’s Chief Medical Officer) told me, ‘That is not what we are in the business to do. We’re in the business to heal you."
"That’s what they have done". Keisha D pointed out as she confidently stood on the stage.
But Keisha D can do much more than that today. She performs every Monday night at The Purple Room in Palm Springs, as well as several other venues and events around the Coachella Valley. Her voice was strong and empowering as she performed “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” from the hit musical Dreamgirls.
She expressed what DAP Health means to her and the community.
Illustrating the importance of access to comprehensive health care. Keisha D pointed out her illness was not HIV-related. The care she received at DAP Health was something she was not receiving from her previous care teams.
“I’m telling you, from my heart, thank you for letting it be possible that this facility is open for anybody. I have a lot of other doctors who could not help me. And so, what you are doing, it's amazing.”
In his update, Brinkman shared that DAP Health is working hard to expand its services. Free STI testing and treatment has been extended, partially due to the growing demands during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, DAP Health opened the Marc Byrd Behavioral Health Clinic to address a growing need in mental health. A move that will double the organization's capacity to meet a growing and urgent need for care.
Sharing that DAP Health will soon break ground on a new affordable housing project, Brinkman said “Together we can build a more just, equal, and healthy community right here in the desert."
"Because of you, the DAP Health community is a leader in the work of health equity. Our founding, our advances in our health equity movement, drive us to find solutions for hunger, housing, addiction and to expand health access for our diverse community.”
About DAP Health's Partners for Life
For over 30 years, members of the Partners for Life (PFL) program have provided generous financial support to help DAP Health with their ongoing battle to end epidemics like HIV and COVID; to provide equitable patient-centered health care to anyone who needs it; and to focus on the entire person's health through behavioral health and addiction services, dentistry, career counseling and placement, housing, social services, youth outreach and education, and more.
As an advocacy-based health care organization, DAP Health offers access to care to over 10,000 clients annually, plus over 80 new individuals who visit our campus for the very first time every month.