Call: (760) 323-2118
8am to 5pm Monday - Friday

Call: (760) 323-2118
8am to 5pm Mon - Fri

DAP Health offering “Mind Over Mood” …

DAP Health offering “Mind Over Mood” group to help individuals battle Holiday blues

 

The Holidays are a time of joy, Black Friday deals, and endless hours of Hallmark Christmas movies.  

But they can also bring an unwelcome guest – depression, and anxiety.  

DAP Health is offering Mind Over Mood, a structured support group to help individuals change negative thinking patterns that often can lead to challenges such as anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, substance misuse, and relationship problems.  

The program begins November 4 and the group will meet every Thursday for 12 weeks at DAP Health. The sessions run from 2-4 p.m. and are free and open to the community.   

For more information, or to register, call (760) 323-2118, ext. 567. 

The holiday seasons can be a very difficult time for many people, but especially in the LGBT community, when family becomes such a major focus or in the holidays,” said Dr. Jill Gover, the Director of Behavioral health at DAP Health. “It can be a very distressing time. It was important to offer this group that provides a very specific tool, a psychological tool that can really help people change their negative thinking and really help them alleviate some of the depression and anxiety you might experience in holidays.” 

Gover said this year was particularly crucial because of the COVID pandemic, which left people more isolated and created more mental health issues for individuals.  

“That's one of the reasons why I thought it was so important to start this group this holiday season because we're coming out of almost a two-year period of extreme stress that is really unprecedented,” Gover said. “There's a pent-up demand to celebrate this holiday because so many people have had to put that on hold and, and so many families have been unable to come together because they weren't able to be geographically in the same place.  

“This year, as we move towards the new normal, we're starting to resume a lot of those activities that we had pre-pandemic. Because of that, there's a heightened intensity, a pent up demand for the best holiday season ever to make up for all the really crappy ones we had last year.” 

The program is also part of a new clinical instructor training program at DAP Health. One of the new interns, Chris Cassirer, will run the group. Gover said it allows Cassirer a chance to learn how to facilitate a group as well as hone his clinical skills.  

The service is available to the entire community.  

Gover also points out that the program is based on a cognitive-behavioral therapy model developed by Christine A. Padesky, a clinical psychologist who is also the co-founder of the Center for Cognitive Therapy in Huntington Beach and author of seven books.  

“It’s a wonderful book that I think everybody should learn because it really helps with daily living, and it will be particularly useful as we head into the holidays,” Gover said. “So many of us are going to feel that excess stress.”  

Over the summer, mental health took center stage in the sports world when top tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open because she wanted to prioritize her mental health.  

It created a much-needed discussion in the sports world, with other athletes chiming in on the lack of help or understanding about mental health.  

“Mental health matters, right?” Gover said. “It’s so important and it’s so important to publicize it. In the media, it’s so important in terms of how it tells the story. If we can eliminate the stigma associated with mental health services and allow people to really talk about their emotions, their feelings, their mental health issues, then we can intervene before they get so far upstream. That’s really my goal here at DAP Health. I really want people to come in before things get to a crisis point that they’re off the cliff.  

And that's really what this group is about. It's for the community.” 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

If you've been seeing more pink ribbons lately, it's because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an event that began in 1985. 

You've probably seen people wearing little pink ribbons from time-to-time and know that they symbolize the fight against breast cancer.

One of the most prominent people involved with that first event was former First Lady Betty Ford, wife of President Gerald R. Ford. Mrs. Ford was a survivor of breast cancer and was diagnosed while her husband was still in office. (The Fords enjoyed a very happy retirement in Rancho Mirage after leaving the White House and, in 1982, Mrs. Ford established the city's Betty Ford Center, which specializes in treatment programs for addiction to alcohol and other drugs.) 

Today, the ongoing goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to not only educate women about symptoms, but also to learn about early detection tests that allow you to take charge of your breast health. Aside from self examination—feeling the breasts for lumps—a routine screening mammogram is a quick and simple process, and you'll often receive results the same day, or within 24 hours. 

If you're wondering about other possible symptoms of breast cancer, the World Health Organization lists some things to look out for: Alteration in the size, shape, or appearance of a breast; dimpling, redness, pitting, or other alteration in the skin; a change in nipple appearance, or alteration in the skin surrounding the nipple; and abnormal nipple discharge. 

While many people put off preventive care visits to their doctors during the pandemic, now is not the time to skip an annual mammogram. "The past year has posed a challenge to just about everything and breast cancer prevention is no exception," says Dr. Shubha Kerkar, DAP Health's Director of Infectious Diseases. 

"For the past 30 years, the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) has supported women by helping them get access to the education, screening, and support they need," she adds. And echoing the motto of the NBCF, Dr. Kerkar says, "This is our moment to rise up and do even more. October is the month of raising awareness." 

Dr. Kerkar also notes that there are charitable organizations that can help women who are unable to afford mammography services. A couple of local resources you can contact are: Borrego Health, 855-436-1234; and the Department of Health Care Services' Every Woman Counts, 800-511-2300. 

If you're a cancer survivor, like Dr. Kerkar who survived breast cancer in 2015, she highly recommends a support group called Shay's Warriors: Life After Cancer that was initially founded to help women who had gone through breast or other reproductive cancers. "It is now helping women and men to have a healthy, inspiring, and safe space for survivors to thrive," says Dr. Kerkar. Their website, www.shayswarriors.org/community, also lists many local resources. 

In addition, you can visit the DAP Health website, daphealth.org, to learn about the many client wellness services we offer, such as behavioral health, yoga and meditation, nutritional counseling, group therapy, and more. 

Together Again, a community comes togeth …

Contact: Leighton Ginn
Public Relations Specialist
(760) 567-2983
lginn@daphealth.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 22, 2021

Together Again, a community comes together to end HIV and fund comprehensive care at DAP Health

IN-PERSON EVENT RETURNS TO RUTH HARDY PARK ON OCTOBER 30

PALM SPRINGS, CA –   More than 2,000 local humanitarians will come together to end the HIV epidemic, expand healthcare access, and remember those friends and family members who we lost because of AIDS.

The 2021 Desert AIDS Walk, presented by Desert Care Network, will be an in-person event Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, beginning at Ruth Hardy Park and following a route through downtown Palm Springs. The family and pet-friendly event includes a Health and Wellness Village presented by Walgreens.

WHO: DAP Health

WHAT: Desert AIDS Walk 2021 ’Together Again'

WHEN: Saturday, October 30

  • Registration and Health & Wellness Village Opens 7:00 am
  • Main Stage Entertainment and Presentations 8:00 am
  • Walk Kick-Off 9:00 am
  • Walkers Return to Park 10:30 am

WHERE: Ruth Hardy Park - Route through Downtown Palm Springs

WHY: End HIV/Fund Comprehensive Health Care

HOW: Register Today www.desertaidswalk.org

The annual Desert AIDS Walk helps fund the vital work of DAP Health, previously Desert AIDS Project, an advocacy-based health care organization that provides service to more than 10,000 individuals. DAP Health CEO David Brinkman says, "We remain committed to ending the epidemic and caring for people living with HIV. That work includes the vital services we offer, including HIV prevention and specialty care, STI screening, and treatment, housing support, benefits navigation, medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare.”

The goal for this year’s event is to raise $350,000. With 5 days to go, fundraising is already at a record pace.

This year marks 40 years of HIV with the first reported cases about what would become known as HIV and AIDS published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Brinkman says, “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 have learned through our recent human rights and health equity movements, equality cannot be experienced by one until it is experienced by all.”

Since 1984, residents of the Coachella Valley have been coming together as a community in action caring for those living with and now aging with HIV. DAP Health Chief Development and Strategy Officer Darrell Tucci says, “Desert AIDS Walk brings together the collective power of community and our shared vision of a future where everyone has the comprehensive care they need to live their best lives.”

Revivals Stores has been donating 100% of their profits to DAP Health each year since it first opened in 1994. Director of Retail, Dane Koch will join leaders from each of the four Revivals stores for a special check presentation before the walk. “Our team of volunteers and employees came together this year to make an impact.  Over 6,500 customers donated an average of three dollars as they were checking out of our stores.  The collective impact of their generosity resulted in $20,000 being raised at our stores for this year's walk. To me, it’s a great reminder that every person's effort matters when we come together with a shared purpose.”

The presenting sponsor of the walk’s Health & Wellness Village, Walgreens, got its team members and customers involved in the fundraising effort again this year setting a new fundraising record. Walgreens will present DAP Health with a check for $17,000 when they take the stage before the walk.

Health and Wellness Village presented by Walgreens

  • Over 40 Booths including DAP Health, Desert Care Network, Eisenhower Health, Desert Oasis Healthcare, The Center, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, and IEHP.,
  • Urban Yoga, G-Force Workout, Club Pilates,
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Breakfast and Coffee by Koffi starting at 7 AM
  • Lunch provided by Sysco at 10:30 am (sandwiches, chips, fruit, granola bars)
  • Hot Purple Energy will be powering the main stage with their solar truck – a first for the walk!
  • The Memorial Wall is where walkers can write notes to loved ones that have passed or are currently living with HIV.

This year’s walk will be kicked off by Ted Guice, who created the G-Force Workout Crew, a grass-roots fitness group that began during the darkest times of the pandemic, and now boasts 585 members on its Facebook page. His free workouts at Ruth Hardy Park kept the community active and connected during COVID-19 attracting anywhere from 60-100 participants each morning. “I’ve been teaching the class at World Gym for 11 years, but when COVID hit, we moved outdoors into someone's back yard.  As the class grew, we transitioned into Ruth Hardy Park.  I don’t think anyone imagined how important the daily workout and the sense of community it created would become when we began.” 

Jase Nagaia is one of the people who participate in the G-Force work-out and looks forward to the warmup. “Ted has that energy to warm people up. It’s going to be exciting to be upfront helping get people pumped up for the walk. I'm hoping that we have a good turnout because DAP is a wonderful organization and I really love what they do for the community. I really think the energy we bring to class is great energy to bring to the walk.

Guice promises to bring that G-Force level of fun and fitness to the pre-walk warm-up “It's going to be a fun time. We promise them that they'll be ready to walk.”

DAP Health Director of Development, James Lindquist remembers his first Desert AIDS Walk.  He moved to Palm Springs from Oregon in 2016, and the first thing he did was volunteer for the Desert AIDS Walk. He helped register volunteers and handed out ice cream.

“By the end of the day, I was covered in ice cream. It was a lot of fun,” Lindquist says. “I told my friends when I moved to Palm Springs, my goal was one day to be the Director of Development for DAP Health. I just knew it was something I wanted to do.

Ending HIV stigma is a passion for Lindquist who lives with HIV. “It’s the stigma that was associated with it and just the feeling of being lesser when you would talk to people about it,” Lindquist says. “It took a while for me to find my voice and it was not until I started working for an AIDS organization that I found that. And so, for me doing this job, is helping somebody else find their voice and knowing that they are important and cared about. We are people living with HIV, but it doesn't define us. It's not going to dictate how I'm treated.”

“I just think it's such a great inclusive, fun event that raises money for the bottom line, because it's underwritten by some very generous sponsors,” says DAP Health Board Chairman Patrick Jordan. “So, every cent actually goes directly to client care. And to me, that's the most important part.”

Desert AIDS Walk 2021 Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor: Desert Care Network

Health & Wellness Village Sponsor: Walgreen’s

Major Sponsors: Avita Pharmacy, Desert Sun, Gilead Sciences, Inc., NBC Palm Springs, Steve Tobin, Johnny Krupa and the Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Revivals, The Chandi Group, The City of Palm Springs

Sponsors:  Abbvie, Heffernan Financial Services HR Simplistic, Inland Empire Health Plan, Janssen Therapeutic, Lovitt – Touche’, Palm Springs Disposal, Palm Springs Motors, SBEMP, SoCalGas, The City of Cathedral City, The Stonewall Group at Morgan Stanley

Breakfast Sponsor: Koffi

Lunch Sponsor: Sysco Riverside

Media Sponsors: Alpha Media, Channel Q, Desert Health, Gay Desert Guide, GED Magazine, KGAY Radio, Metrosource, Promo Homo TV, Radio 111, The CV Independent, and The Standard Magazine.

About DAP Health

DAP Health is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, Calif., serving more than 10,000 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab services. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.

DAP Health opened one of California’s first COVID clinics and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP Health also is working to address the social determinants of health that are causing negative health outcomes during this pandemic, like food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and access to ongoing healthcare.

DAP Health’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) testing. DAP Health has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the twelfth consecutive year — landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that DAP Health exceeds industry standards in terms of financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.

Revivals Back Alley Event 2021 Shines a …

Revivals Back Alley Event 2021 Shines a Light on Leather Community

This community is ready to start coming out again, and the numbers prove it.

The Revivals Back Alley After Dark event brought in $13,000.00 for patient services at DAP Health, more than double from last year’s, and $3,000 more than the team’s goal. In its first collaboration, co-sponsoring was Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert (PSLOD), a significant fundraiser for HIV and health equity in the Coachella Valley. PSLOD will also host Palm Springs Leather Pride Weekend, from October 28-31.

Event organizers and partners say After Dark’s healthy turnout is a sign that people are feeling safer and eager to re-connect with others.

“These sales numbers are unheard of,” says Revivals volunteer Mark Musin.

Eager for the hunt, 278 shoppers didn’t mind queuing up at the Palm Springs Revivals for almost three hours before doors opened at 6 p.m. More than 700 shoppers had made purchases by closing time.

Very little was left after two hours and more than 1,000 clothing items, including leather jackets, chaps, vests, and hats were scooped up.

It was easy for shoppers to fill containers with leather and other treasures after finding them neatly displayed on racks by friendly volunteers who offered sizing and selection advice. This included an impressive amount of revamped and shiny leather shoes and boots.

Check-out lines never stopped moving, and volunteers engaged customers to collect hangers and help guide them as they finished.

Volunteers Make the Difference

After Dark brought together 30 volunteers from all four Revivals stores, ten more compared to last year.

“We all like working together so much,” says Mark. “It was a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to see each other and even for some to meet for the first time.”

When Mark saw volunteers from other Revivals locations working so naturally with the Palm Springs team to straighten and restock items, plus help customers, he knew it was all worth the effort.

“It’s about the community they love to serve, and it’s the camaraderie they share,” he says. “It had them all joining in, and they did a great job!”

Saving Best Inventory for Back Alley Event

Leather themed clothing and gear is always costly, and many find exploring the subculture intimidating.  But at Revivals, shoppers were able to pick up leather chaps for $20 used, instead of $400 new. Leather jackets were plentiful and started at $10 instead of $500 new.

Harnesses, suspenders, and belts sold out in the first ten minutes.

Special toys for grownups, gay literature and nude magazines, movies,  and framed art that need new homes wind up at Revivals year-round. Saving them for an appropriate and safe venue like After Dark means that these items can be re-used, and members of this community continue to enjoy great care from DAP Health. 

The idea for Back Alley After Dark was born over three years ago as Revivals Stores took a stand on recycling and decided that tossing donations that were considered too racy was not an option. And the more Revivals talked to the community it serves, the more it learned this gently used merchandise is in demand in a valley where economic disparities abound.

“We live in a desert mirage of two valleys,” says Steven Henke, director of brand marketing at DAP Health and in charge of marketing and communications for Revivals. “There are lucky folks with great jobs, who can afford to buy new leather gear and brand new anything they want, and there are other folks who need to find things on a budget.”

With Revivals After Dark, anyone who wants to be part of the leather community or even just buy the look can find truly affordable deals, he says.

“That is so on-brand for DAP Health, because we are all about inclusivity, collaboration, and bringing folks together in a positive way,” Steven says.

Health remains the driving motivation for this event, with proceeds funding comprehensive medical care at DAP Health, including through Desert AIDS Walk, and a donation to PSLOD.

“We are so grateful for this collaboration with Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert,” says Steven. “We can’t wait to see what the future holds through partnering.”

More freedom this year to socialize

Thanks to vaccinations, masks, and a public eager to experience our Southern California fall, outdoor events like Desert AIDS Walk 2021 and Palm Springs Gay Pride 2021 will return to being “peopled” for the first time since the pandemic began.

And for largely indoor events like Palm Springs Leather Pride, safety protocols ensure everyone in attendance can enjoy and explore without forfeiting safety.

This is good news for a very in-person community beginning its social season. After more than 18 months of avoiding crowds, people want to see each other again.

“It’s becoming so nice to approach people whom I haven’t seen since the pandemic started, simply to say, ‘I’m happy you’re here still here’,” says Dan Smith, co-chair of Leather Pride Weekend.

Charitable PSLOD Helps Members Honor True Selves

Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert has raised and donated over $250,000.000 for HIV services and health equity in the Coachella Valley in its almost 30-year history. The organization is honoring more diversity within the LGBTQ population here, and Dan Smith, co-chair of Leather Pride Weekend, is ready.

“We’re really looking forward to re-inventing the club, including making it a place for everyone,” Dan says.

More inclusion for PSLOD means welcoming more people of color, more women, and more transgender folks as new members. It also means challenging longstanding assumptions about what it means to be “leather”.

According to Dan, if it isn’t about pursuing your own authenticity, it’s time to challenge your perception.

“There’s this idea that a leather person has to be male, macho, hairy, have a beard, and be gruff—the whole hyper masculine image,” he says.

The truth is that there is room for everyone, no matter what they look like, he says.

“I just want people to be who they are, and we all struggle with that.”

PSLOD is experiencing a surge itself with 12 new members joining in the last two months and counting.

“I don’t want anyone prevented from exploring the leather community,” Dan says. One of his trusted methods for helping first timers feel OK exploring new things is simple; be friendly. 

“I would rather step up our hospitality, rather than have someone come to an event and experience no one talking to them,” Dan says. “People are starving for some type of connection.”

Find out more about Palm Spring Leather Order of the Desert (PSLOD) and Palm Springs Leather Pride Weekend [October 28-31, 2021] here.

About Revivals

The very first Revivals store was opened in 1995, in a back corner of the Desert AIDS Project office on Vella Road. Since those earliest days, the funds raised through selling donated goods at Revivals has gone back to support comprehensive care at DAP Health, while also providing a great volunteer opportunity for those who wanted to support the organization with their time and retail talents. Today, all of the stores are largely volunteer-run, enabling Revivals to make a significant financial contribution to the annual budget of DAP Health.

About DAP Health

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 10,000 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.  Click here to read more about our commitment to health equity.     

DAP opened one of California’s first COVID clinics and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP is also working to address social determinants of health that are causing negative health outcomes during this pandemic, like food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and access to ongoing healthcare. 

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that DAP exceeds industry standards in terms of financial health, accountability, and transparency.     

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.     

Coachella Valley Housing Coalition Secur …

Coachella Valley Housing Coalition Secures Funding for Special Needs Housing Development on DAP Health Campus

October  6, 2021 (Indio, CA) – The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC) in partnership with  DAP Health, announced today the successful award of $10,809,380 in federal tax credits and $8,107,033 in State tax credits from the California Debit Limit Allocation Committee and the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. The successful award of financing is needed to begin construction of the 61-unit special needs affordable housing development known as Vista Sunrise II.  The Vista Sunrise II development will be constructed on the DAP Health campus at Sunrise and Vista Chino in Palm Springs.  This new development consists of studios and one-bedroom units for individuals and families who experience chronical illnesses, physical or mental disabilities, or those who are homeless.

The award comes just weeks after the announcement by the Riverside University Health System-Behavioral Health (RUHS-BH) that the development would be awarded $6,769,577 in No Place Like Home Funds (NPLH). One million dollars of this award was allocated directly through the NPLH Riverside County allocation for RUHS-BH, the remaining funds were awarded through a competitive state application where the project was one of the highest scoring applications in this funding round. In late June, the Federal Home Loan Bank announced that the project was awarded $900,000 in Affordable Housing Program funds. Earlier this year the City of Palm Springs committed $3,600,000 in Housing Homeless Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) funds along with a 100% reduction in development impact fees. 

Vista Sunrise II was also awarded 35 project-based section 8 vouchers from the Housing Authority of the County of Riverside; the award of these vouchers will allow individuals who might otherwise not have any resources to pay rent, even at rates which are lower than fair market rents, to obtain an apartment. The Vista Sunrise II development will cost just over $30M to construct and would not be possible without the collaboration of numerous funding sources and the partnerships of CVHC and DAP.

The City of Palm Springs is making major efforts to address the housing crisis as well as the mental and physical health disparities that are often linked to inadequate housing. Partnerships with the CVHC (the largest provider of affordable housing in the Inland Empire) and DAP Health (a premier Federal Qualified Health Center serving over 10,000 patients annually) are perfect as it relates to reducing homelessness and increasing decent and safe housing. Residents of the development will live only steps away from many of the critical services they need on the campus of DAP Health. In conjunction with RUHS-BH, DAP will provide wrap-around supportive services for residents and their families.

This project benefits the community in multiple ways beyond providing affordable housing. It also:

  • Brings jobs to the community: the project provides prevailing wage construction jobs to locals
  • Energy Efficient: This community also meets energy standards through the Energy Star Program, Build It® Green—Green Point Rated Program and Green Property Management. It will also offer the same energy-efficient standards through its refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves/ovens, and other appliances.
  • Outdoor recreation: A dog park and green space which will offer seating for Vista Sunrise II residents, Vista Sunrise I residents, and DAP Health staff and visitors will be constructed as part of the development.
  • Computer Center: All residents will have access to the computer center located in the community room.
  • Demonstration Kitchen: Residents will learn to prepare healthy meals through free classes and workshops offered at the demonstration kitchen located within the community room.

 “For our community to achieve health equity, affordable housing must be a part of the healthcare continuum.  Partnering with CVHC allows us to strengthen the housing stability safety net for residents in Palm Springs.  We are fortunate to have a strong and like-minded partner in CVHC,” says David Brinkman, CEO of DAP Health.  

“It takes a village to be able to build high quality affordable housing development for a well-deserved special needs population.  CVHC is extremely grateful to all the funding agencies that are financially supporting this much needed development in the city of Palm Springs.  Thank you to DAP Health for choosing to partner with CVHC to develop this much needed affordable housing project and to provide supportive services to the residents. We look forward to begin construction of this development in the coming months” says Pedro S. G. Rodriguez, Interim Executive Director of CVHC.

####

Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC) is a nonprofit community development corporation serving farmworkers, veterans, families, seniors, and other low-income residents.  Founded in 1982, CVHC's mission is to improve low-income individuals and families' living conditions by constructing and operating affordable housing infused with community services programs and other opportunities that enrich, build, and grow their lives. 

For more than 39 years, CVHC has been providing affordable housing and community development programs to hundreds of individuals and families.  To date, CVHC has developed close to 5,000 homes and apartments throughout Riverside and Imperial counties. In addition, CVHC provides its residents access to a variety of programs, including early childhood education centers, after-school and recreational programming, medical clinics, cultural music, art and dance classes, computer technology instruction, STEM-blended Lego Robotics, an Alternative High School and GED Diploma program, Financial Literacy, English as a Second Language courses, homeownership counseling and other opportunities that improve their lives and livelihoods.  For more information, please visit www.cvhc.org.

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over  10,000 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.     

DAP opened one of California’s first COVID clinics and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP is also working to address social determinants of health that are causing negative health outcomes during this pandemic, like food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and access to ongoing healthcare. 

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing.

DAP has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that DAP exceeds industry standards in terms of financial health, accountability, and transparency.  

Transgender Night of Empowerment Strengt …

Transgender Night of Empowerment Strengthened Community Bonds

By Leighton Ginn

The Transgender Night of Empowerment held Sept. 13 at Oscar’s in Downtown Palm Springs was a night defined by enlightening conversation and community connection.  

Organized with TransPower Project and Oscar’s Palm Springs,  the night featured three charismatic panelists who shared their stories of going from abandonment into empowerment by finding loving and supporting communities that accept them.

Jazzmun Nichcala Crayton said she hopes events like the Transgender Night of Empowerment will help facilitate discussions and education. 

Crayton, who says her pronoun is “gender fierce,” hopes that the conversations lead to greater acceptance. She says, “I’ve seen change with my own eyes,” 

Crayton was part of the three-person panel that discussed challenges faced by transgender individuals.

Jacob Rostovsky, the CEO and founder of the TransPower Project, said he was humiliated while he was in urgent care for an ear issue. Upon reading he was transgender, they began asking about his genitals.

“I was so shamed because that was all he could see of me,” Rostovsky said. “Many feel vulnerable because providers don’t see us.

“Aren’t they all supposed to do no harm?”  

Rostovsky left urgent care without treatment, resulting in a worsening ear infection. He canceled other appointments because he feared how he would be treated.  

But Rostovsky said his life has changed for the better. He’s engaged with plans to be married soon.

“When I was younger, I thought I would be dead before I was 15, 16. I never thought anyone in my entire life would love me in a romantic way. I never thought I would find love or be valued, especially as a gay man,” said Rostoveky, who shared the news of his engagement.  “I felt true love so I’m getting married. I continue to celebrate my authenticity as a Trans gay male every single day that I wake up and every single day I go to sleep because he’s there to remind me.”

Fernanda Quiroz, a patient at DAP Health, said when she came out, she was abandoned by her family, members who said they would stick by her through anything.

But thanks to DAP Health, and particularly moderator Michael Malfavon, she feels like she’s home when she goes into the clinic.

Explaining the importance of collaboration, Rostovsky said is grateful to DAP Health for partnering with TransPower Project on events that bring the transgender community together.

“Having community is immensely important,” Rostovsky said. “We’re a new organization and it means a lot to us when a big organization like DAP Health welcomes us with open arms.

The 2021 Desert AIDS Walk returns to Ruth Hardy Park!

Our community’s largest gathering of HIV advocates comes together on Saturday, October 30, 2021, to walk toward ending the HIV and AIDS epidemics in the Coachella Valley. The 2021 Desert AIDS Walk, presented by Desert Care Network, will be an in-person event beginning at Ruth Hardy Park and following a route through downtown Palm Springs. This family and pet-friendly event includes a Health and Wellness Festival presented by Walgreens. Register today at www.desertaidswalk.org.

Community Comes Together, Provides Inspi …

Community Comes Together, Provides Inspiration at 2021 Aging Positively – Reunion Project

By Leighton Ginn

When the top organizations in the area got together for the Aging Positively – Reunion Project Conference on September 19, it sent a powerful and inspiring message.

The event was  aimed at providing information and inspiration for those aging with HIV. The event showcased community leaders who provide services to improve the quality of life for those older adults living with HIV.

Attendee David Parry felt  the conference was uplifting after what he experienced in the early days of the crisis.

“I lost many, many friends, too many friends to count, in the late 80s and early 90s,” said Parry, a Rancho Mirage resident. “Now today, people aren’t just surviving with AIDS, but truly living full lives. It’s an amazing recovery story. … To have the emphasis on living full lives and the resources available to us to make that possible is really empowering.”

This year’s event was headlined by Andy Bell, the lead singer of the pop group “Erasure,” and Karl Schmid, co-creator of +Life Media and ABC7 Los Angeles contributor.  

Jeff Taylor, the executive director of the HIV+ and Aging Research Project in Palm Springs, interviewed Schmid. He said having both Schmid and Bell sent a positive message. When they came out as HIV positive, they didn’t suffer as bad a backlash as feared and were embraced.

But an even more powerful message was having eight local organizations come together to provide an event that attracted a record 274 registered guests. There were attendees from all over the country as well as Thailand.

“I was pleasantly surprised at how well the virtual format worked and how well people responded to it,” Taylor said. “It’s really great to see that group come together. We’ve been collaborating for about four years now and it just gets better and better each year. It’s a delight to work with these people.”

There was a wide array of topics covered, such as research updates, which featured DAP Health’s Research Coordinator Greg Jackson and caregiving. But the event went deeper with other topics such as meditation, an end-of-life doula, sustaining and making new friends later in life, and HIV in the media.

"It was an energizing experience for our team at DAP Health to collaborate alongside other local organizations committed to supporting community members living and aging with HIV. We were all grateful for the opportunity to connect around a shared vision for this event and for the leadership of its committee members," said Steven Henke, Director of Brand Marketing at DAP Health.

Bell spoke about his career in Erasure, which produced the pop hits “A Little Respect,” “Chains of Love,” and “Oh L’Amour.” Bell’s session, which ended the conference, had a memorable moment when Parry got on the line. Parry was an accountant for one of Erasure’s tours, and Bell remembered him as being a “hunk” and wearing bicycle shorts.

“I was shocked he even remembered my name. I was really touched, and a little embarrassed he referred to me as a hunk, ” said Parry, the Senior Director, Executive and Internal Communications for Blue Shield of California. 

“Whatever short shorts I had on at the time, I’m sure they were much longer than what he was wearing.”

Taylor said the committee, inspired by the success of the 2021 version of the conference, is already planning next year’s conference, which they hope can be in person. Even so, Taylor said he would like to see a hybrid conference to maintain the virtual element to extend their reach beyond the Coachella Valley. He likes the idea that the conference could be available to people in the Midwest and South, where they don’t have the kind of resources the Coachella Valley does.

“People reach out to me to see and ask, ‘How can we make it happen here?’” Taylor said. “We forget how fortunate we are here, so to make it available to people elsewhere who don’t have it, and make it a springboard to capacity building for them is really exciting.”

How is DAP Health caring for people living and aging with HIV? Dr. Tulika Singh, Director of Research, Associate-Chief Medical Officer, explains.

Help us continue to provide compassionate health care by registering now for the 2021 Desert AIDS Walk at www.DESERTAIDSWALK.org.

5 Reasons to Particpate in the 2021 Dese …

5 Reasons to Participate in the 2021 Desert AIDS Walk

From the home offices, here’s a look at why you will want to participate in the 2021 Desert AIDS Walk, a Palm Springs tradition since 1989.

1. YOU MIGHT SEE SOME FAMOUS FACES: The Desert AIDS Walk brings together the community, including celebrities and leading businesses. At the very first Desert AIDS Walk in 1989, screen legend Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne were there to add their celebrity and support. “Let’s walk, run, do whatever we can to eradicate AIDS,” Douglas said during his opening remarks in 1989. Joining the post-walk event was former President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford. Other former participants included former Palm Springs mayor and singer Sonny Bono.

2. GREAT FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY (INCLUDING YOUR FUR-BABIES): This year’s event will include the Health and Wellness Fair, sponsored by Walgreen’s. The fair offers opportunities for participants to restore their mind, body and spirit. There will also be activities for children. Congressman Raul Ruiz brought his two young children to the 2016 Desert AIDS Walk for another reason. “We started them young, we start them early to believe in equality, to believe in social justice, to help us eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS. To encourage our friends and other families to get tested,” Ruiz said from the stage. “This is not something we go halfway; we go all the way in order to protect our community members and our loved ones.”

Pets are welcome to walk the course that begins at Ruth Hardy Park and take participants around some of the legendary landmarks around Palm Springs.

3. CELEBRATING LIFE: Many who participate will do so to honor a loved one lost to HIV and AIDS. “I walk because other people can’t. I also walk to support all the programs and services that (DAP Health) provides to its clients. It’s unparalleled and unmatched in the country,” said board member Patrick Jordan in a 2015 video. “Come get inspired.”

4. REUNITED AND IT WILL FEEL SO GOOD: It is a chance for our community to get together, safely, to celebrate and walk together again in person. Due to the COVID pandemic, last year’s walk was a virtual one. If people are vaccinated, they can be together again to celebrate at one of the most beloved events in Palm Springs. Desert AIDS Walk also helps kick off Pride Week!

5. THE FIGHT TO END HIV ISNT OVER: When the Desert AIDS Walk began in 1989, a positive diagnosis was a death sentence. Today, DAP Health treats many long-term survivors who led full and healthy lives.

Join more than 2,000 local humanitarians and come together to end the HIV epidemic, expand healthcare access, and remember those friends and family members who we lost because of AIDS. Walker Registration is now available online at www.desertaidswalk.org.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month 

By Leighton Ginn

HIV has disproportionately affected the Hispanic population, but DAP Health’s Ruth Diaz De Leon said what has hurt the community will also be its most valuable weapon in stopping the spread – communication.  

A CDC report said a fifth of the population with HIV are Latinos, and a quarter of all new cases are Latino. In 2018, Hispanics and Latinos made up 27 percent of the 37,968 new HIV diagnosis in the US.  

As we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, we take a look at how HIV has affected this segment of the population, which has been hit hard.  

De Leon, the community health educator, said the main issue is communication, or the lack of it.  

In the CDC report, 1 in 6 Hispanic/Latinos with HIV are unaware they have it.  

“From what we’ve seen with patients here, typically they grow up not speaking about sexual health with their families because there is some shame that comes with it and being judged. It hinders them from learning about protection and how things are transmitted,” De Leon said.  “It can be pretty difficult just because most of them are in that mentality that they weren’t raised to speak about this and they don’t want to know about this.” 

What has been effective for De Leon is understanding how to relate to them. When patients come into DAP Health to talk about HIV and AIDS, De Leon presents the facts to them. While the facts are important, she said the next level is to relate to them by sharing antidotal information that will resonate with them.  De Leon is a native of the Coachella Valley, having grown up in Desert Hot Springs, and understands the nuances of the community.  

“I’m also Hispanic and I can relate to them pretty well. I’ll let them know, ‘I know this is how it was, but let me just tell you what I know and we can go from here.’ We also let them know it’s confidential what we speak about and if they have any questions,” De Leon said. “That usually breaks down the wall with them. They’re like ‘OK.’  

“We’ve provided them with the tools in a judge-free zone, so they know to come here.” 

De Leon has worked at DAP Health for three years and feels they have made progress.  She feels that by reaching out to the community, they have built up DAP’s reputation through word of mouth.  

“That’s what has been happening with us here. That’s how it’s gotten better,” De Leon said. “It’s about providing a judgement-free conversation. It opens them up to want to wanting to learn more and being open minded.” 

 

 

History hides in the initials we use for …

History hides in the initials we use for the lesbian, gay and transgender communities

Sometimes an abbreviation or acronym is more than the sum of its letters.

Take the well-known abbreviation LGBT and longer variants, like LGBTQQIAAP. Those letters represent our entire community, lesbians; gays; bisexuals; transgender people; and those identifying as queer, intersex, asexual, and more.

Did you notice the letter with which all those abbreviations start? That L represents a long history and a lot of controversy in the gay rights movement.

About 70 years ago, people sexually attracted to the same gender used to be called homosexuals. That word didn't age well.

Then in the 1950s and 1960s, people began referring to homosexuals as homophiles. That didn't age well either.

In the 1970s, the word gay became embraced by the men formerly known as homosexuals. As the gay rights movement grew, lesbians wanted to create their own identities.

Unfortunately, during this turbulent time, animosity began to grow between gay men and lesbians. The genders simply were in different camps, says Dr. Jill "Dr. G" Gover, Director of Behavioral Health at DAP Health.

The women felt gay men were sexist and behaved the way all men did at the time, which was to marginalize them, Dr. G says. There was even a subgroup of lesbians who wanted to separate and have nothing to do with gay men. They were more aligned with straight women around feminist issues.

As the gay rights movement expanded during the late 1970s, the abbreviation gays and lesbians began to use for their large, varied community was GLBT. It started with a G, which only underscored how many lesbians felt about their place in the community.

Many women active in gay rights felt it was time to address that issue, says Dr. G., who taught LGBTQ+ history at California State University, San Bernardino. And people started to become more aware of the role lesbians played within the gay rights movement.

Moving an L in front of a G may seem trivial to many, but symbols don't have to be grand gestures. That change was meant to honor the women who also were part of the gay rights movement, Dr. G says.

The AIDS crisis in the 1980s changed everything.

As the Reagan Revolution swept across the nation and the Material Girl told us she felt "Like A Virgin" before assuring us she would keep her baby, scores of gay men contracted HIV and died of AIDS. It was an exploding, unstoppable pandemic whose barbarity is too easy to forget 40 years later.

We learned that "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" while "Video Killed the Radio Star." MTV landed on the moon and shaped a generation. Steven Spielberg introduced us to E.T., while ALF hid out in the San Fernando Valley. Betamax lost to VHS. The United States boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics. Four years later, the Soviet Union followed suit. Pac-Man took the country by storm, and everyone tried to solve a puzzle in a cube. Freddie Mercury stole the show at Wembley Stadium in 1985 during Live Aid. Two years later, he tested positive for AIDS and died four years after that.

That was the 1980s, and it felt like no one in America cared about those who died of AIDS.

Many of the sick and dying men didn't have children or were estranged from their biological families, says Dr. G. Too many had no one. Lesbians stepped up and started to take care of those dying of AIDS, becoming primary caregivers to the sick and dying.

"That was a huge shift in terms of the community coming together and healing around the riffs between the men and the women,"  Dr. G says.

Because of the compassion and humanity lesbians showed gay men, much of the separatism of the 1970s disappeared in the 1980s. The LGBTQ+ community began to see their future linked as they worked together to survive the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

The LGBT community is large and complex, with many groups, subcultures, organizations, and histories. There are many initials people use to identify it, including LGBTQ+, LGBTQIA+, LGBTI, LGBTQQ, and more.

Each one of those initials starts with an L. The placement of that L is far from trivial. It's a recognition that lesbians are not second-class members of their community. In reality, they kept the community together during its darkest days.

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