• Sexual Wellness Services

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

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

The 2023 DAP Health Equity Walk Funds Ca …

The 2023 DAP Health Equity Walk Funds Care for Those Living with HIV


The Desert AIDS Walk may have been renamed the Health Equity Walk this year, but the fight against HIV/AIDS will forever be at the heart of the nonprofit’s work. On National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, DAP Health reaffirms its commitment to all those living with the virus.

Earlier this year, the internationally renowned humanitarian health care organization and federally qualified health center (FQHC) whose goal it is to protect and expand health care access for all people — especially the marginalized, regardless of who or where they are, their health status, or whether they have health insurance — made a successful bid to acquire the Borrego Health System, enabling it to now serve more than 100,000 patients of all populations, genders, and ages (from newborns to seniors) at a total of 25 Southern California clinics located within 240 rural and urban zip codes from the Salton Sea to San Diego.

To some, this expansion signals that the organization — founded as Desert AIDS Project in 1984 by a group of community volunteers determined to provide support, care, and treatment options to gay men with HIV who had been ostracized by the mainstream and abandoned by their government — is drifting from its initial mission.

In truth, HIV prevention, testing, and treatment remains as central to DAP Health’s work as it ever has been, and will forever remain so.

Indeed, it is precisely thanks to the nonprofit’s nearly 40 years of experience and proven success in the field of HIV/AIDS that it has been able to thrive and grow as it has. The agency’s hard-won expertise in providing health care to one marginalized community has permitted it to transfer its unique, patient-centered model of care to a vast array of other such groups, including women, people of color, the poor, the undocumented, those with substance use disorder, and more.

By standing on the shoulders of all those lost to HIV/AIDS, and all those living and aging well with the virus today, DAP Health’s broadened mission remains perfectly in line with that of its founders, whose singular goal was to provide for those dismissed by the mainstream. Expanding health care access is just one of the ways DAP Health honors the memory of those lost to HIV/AIDS.

“While I may consider myself to be somewhat of an open book, I realize most people don’t know I once experienced the stigma and shame of being gay, that I live today with HIV, that I once was unhoused, and that I long ago faced mental health issues,” says DAP Health Chief of Community Health C.J. Tobe. “I am a survivor who is as thankful as I am excited about the tremendous impending expansion of our community health department. I believe it is my and my team’s duty and privilege to advocate and fight daily on behalf of every member of our diverse communities — but especially for those who are LGBTQ+ and/or living with HIV — so that they may get the second, third, and fourth chances I received, which enabled me to see my bright future and to live my happiest and healthiest life.”

Just some of the ways in which DAP Health daily confirms its commitment to those living with HIV — while honoring the memory of the millions who have succumbed to the disease in the last four decades — include:

  • Providing free HIV testing and treatment (such as Rapid StART antiretroviral therapy) plus free access to preventive measures (such as PrEP and PEP) not only at its sexual wellness clinics in Palm Springs and Indio (and soon at the Stonewall Medical Center in Cathedral City) but via its mobile clinic’s presence throughout the Coachella Valley.
  • Delivering primary, mental health, and HIV care to people living with the virus.
  • Offering a host of client wellness initiatives and other social services — including affordable housing at our 81-unit, on-campus Vista Sunrise complex at DAP Health Sunrise — to clients with HIV/AIDS.
  • Serving as the co-presenting sponsor of the Positively Aging Project, the eighth annual Coachella Valley conference on HIV and aging presented as a hybrid gathering (in person at the Mizell Center and virtually via Zoom) on September 23, 2023.
  • Donating $50,000 to the AIDS Memorial Sculpture created by acclaimed artist Phillip K. Smith III, which will be prominently displayed at Palm Springs’ Downtown Park located at Belardo Road and Museum Way.

At its 2023 Health Equity Walk — which kicks off at 9:00 a.m. at Palm Springs’ Ruth Hardy Park on Saturday, October 28, 2023 — DAP Health will honor long-term HIV survivors and those lost to AIDS via:

  • A special tribute performance by the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus.
  • The observance of a minute of silence.
  • A memorial pavilion where Health Equity Walk participants and supporters can display photos of loved ones living with, or lost to, HIV/AIDS.
  • The display, at the pavilion, of two AIDS quilts, one of which is made of 20 vintage Desert AIDS Walk T-shirts.
  • A keynote address by DAP Health CEO David Brinkman about what loss has taught us. 
  • A ribbon-cutting by DAP Health’s Community Advisory Board, made up of long-term HIV/AIDS survivors.

“The mission, vision, and purpose of DAP Health’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) is to advocate for its clients and patients while considering diversity, equity, and inclusion,” says CAB Co-Chair Michael O’Neill. “We CAB members congratulate the organization’s staff and leadership on its 2023 Health Equity Walk, which continues the commitment to existing and identified needs while expanding the lens throughout Southern California. This act of ‘paying it forward’ includes those often ignored or forgotten, giving everyone a place to be honored and embraced. We stand completely by this greater care and respect for all, marching alongside DAP Health with pride.”

For more information about DAP Health’s efforts on behalf of all those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, please contact Chief of Brand Marketing Steven Henke at 760.656.8401 or [email protected].

Behavioral Health Resources for the Lake …

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

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

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

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

Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ (lakearrowheadlgbtq.org)

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

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

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

SAC Health (sachealth.org)

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

DAP Health (daphealth.org)

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


Queer Works Therapy (queerworks.org/freetherapy)

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

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

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


Photo courtesy of Mountain Provisions Cooperative, Lake Arrowhead.

DAP Health Unveils Coachella Valley' …

DAP Health Unveils Coachella Valley's First Free Harm Reduction Vending Machine

The revolutionary dispenser, just one aspect of a broad harm reduction strategy, debuts at Hunters Nightclub on Arenas Road in Palm Springs.


On September 14, 2023, DAP Health unveiled an innovative vending machine that dispenses free harm reduction materials to interested parties. Located inside Hunters Nightclub on Arenas Road in Palm Springs, it’s the first of its kind in the Coachella Valley. Similar dispensers have recently popped up in other parts of California, as well as in other states. New York City debuted its first such machine in Brooklyn last June. 

“The impetus behind making this vending machine available to desert residents is all about expanding access to life-saving tools,” says DAP Health Chief of Community Health C.J. Tobe. “It extends the reach of our harm reduction program team, which has worked in the field, as well as out of our Palm Springs headquarters, since 2022. It’s all about bridging gaps and building trust so that we can bring more vulnerable people into care — and into recovery if that’s something that appeals to them.” 

To provide information to interested community members — and to actively listen to their concerns and answer their questions — members of DAP Health’s harm reduction team hosted a Raw Talk at Hunters last June. Panelists included DAP Health Harm Reduction Supervisor Neil Gussardo and Peer Support Specialist Hans Kowall, as well as Palm Springs Fire Department Public Information Officer Nathan Gunkel and members of the Palm Springs Police Department. The panel was moderated by popular local drag personality Rusty Waters.  

The vending machine at Hunters — the first of more than a dozen the nonprofit eventually plans to pepper throughout the Coachella Valley, including at locations that would enable 24/7 access — will initially offer six complimentary items: Narcan (the brand name for naloxone, the nasal spray that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose), HIV self-test kits, GHB safer-use kits, fentanyl testing kits, safer-boofing kits, and safer-snorting kits. Except for Narcan, all products will be displayed in unmarked, color-coded bags. Consumers will use a touchscreen panel to answer an anonymous nine-question survey about age, gender, race, drug(s) of choice, and HIV/HCV status to gain access to the free lifesaving supplies. The information gathered will assist the harm reduction team in future efforts. 

“The great thing about the data collected is that it will enable us to learn how best to allocate our resources in the future,” says Gussardo. “It’s an invaluable opportunity for the team to educate ourselves about what the most popular products are and who is using them.” 

“All of us at Hunters care deeply about our clientele and the larger community,” says Hunters co-owner (with Mark Hunter) Jennifer Seymour. “When DAP Health approached us to partner with them on this groundbreaking desert initiative, we jumped at the chance. We are very proud to host the first harm reduction vending machine ever to be installed in the Coachella Valley.” 

What is harm reduction? 
According to the National Harm Reduction Coalition, harm reduction is “a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.” 

Why did DAP Health launch a harm reduction initiative? 
Consistent with the organization’s nearly 40-year history of protecting and expanding access to health care, DAP Health recognizes that addiction and overdoses are public health emergencies. Fentanyl poisoning is now the #1 killer of adults 18-45 (above death by suicide, motor vehicle accidents, COVID-19, gun violence, or cancer), claiming the lives of more than 100,000 Americans in 2022. That same year, provisional data indicated more than two thirds (68%) of the reported 107,081 drug overdose deaths in the United States involved synthetic opioids other than methadone, principally illicitly manufactured fentanyls (IMFs). 

Doesn’t DAP Health’s harm reduction program enable people who use drugs? 
Yes! Again, entirely consistent with the nonprofit’s history and commitment to end HIV and to provide comprehensive health care to all, the program enables people to be safer, and to live their healthiest and happiest life through education and connection to care. 

Who supports DAP Health’s harm reduction program? 
The California Department of Public Health, Inland Empire Harm Reduction, Martha’s Village & Kitchen, Operation Safe House, Palm Springs Chief of Police Andrew Mills and members of the PSPD, members of the Palm Springs Fire Department, Palm Springs Homeless Outreach Coordinator Roman Ruiz MSW, Palm Springs R.I.S.E. (Resilience, Inclusion, and Support for Ending Homelessness), Tenet Health, and United Methodist Church of Palm Springs. 

DAP Health meets people where they are. At various locations throughout the Coachella Valley, its harm reduction team provides: 

  • Free HIV, STI, and hep C testing. 
  • New syringes to reduce HIV and hep C transmission. 
  • Other harm reduction items such as GHB safer-use kits, safer-boofing kits, safer-snorting kits, safer-smoking kits, and new cottons, cookers, tourniquets, and other injecting supplies. 
  • Safer-sex kits (condoms, lube). 
  • Fentanyl and xylazine strips for testing drugs before use to decrease the likelihood of overdose. 
  • Narcan (naloxone) to help reverse the potentially fatal effects of opioid overdose. 

DAP Health’s harm reduction team reduces stigma and builds trust via community outreach. When someone who uses drugs makes the choice to stop, available referrals include: 

  • DAP Health’s ODF (Outpatient Drug-Free) program. 
  • DAP Health’s peer support specialists. 
  • DAP Health’s early intervention specialists (for those with HIV and/or hep C who need treatment). 
  • Local recovery and treatment centers, and substance use counselors. 
  • Insurance enrollment and connection to health care/other social support services. 
  • DAP Health’s sexual wellness clinic (Palm Springs and Indio) for STI testing and/or PrEP. 
  • Food. 
  • Housing. 

Harm reduction saves lives. DAP Health success statistics since the program’s inception (May 2022 to June 2023): 

  •   3,059 patients served 
  • 65,000 syringes taken in/given out via organized community pickup 
  •   1,500 referrals to recovery centers, primary care, and mental health 
  •      350 lives saved 

DAP Health is keeping tourists — and therefore, locals — safe. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend One 2023 statistics: 

  • 204 Narcan kits distributed (168 at shuttle stop; 36 at festival grounds) 
  • 400 fentanyl test strip kits distributed (300 at shuttle stop; 100 at festival grounds) 

To learn more about DAP Health’s harm reduction program — funded in part by grants from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (naccho.org), Walgreens Pharmacy, and the California Department of Public Health — please visit daphealth.org/harmreductionfaq. 

How does DAP Health’s harm reduction vending machine work? 
Except for Narcan, all products will be displayed in unmarked, color-coded bags. Consumers will use a touchscreen panel to answer an anonymous nine-question survey about age, gender, race, drug(s) of choice, and HIV/HCV status to gain access to the free lifesaving supplies. The information gathered will assist the harm reduction team in future efforts. 


Detailed List of Harm Reduction Vending Machine Items


Red-Dotted Brown Bag 1 (Safer-Boofing Kit) 

2 cookers 

2 sterile water/saline  

2 personal lubricant packets 

2 needleless syringes  

2 benzalkonium chloride towelettes 

1 paperclip 

1 instruction sheet 

1 DAP Health harm reduction program mobile and brick-and-mortar location card 


Yellow-Dotted Brown Bag 2 (Fentanyl Testing Kit)     

2 testing strips 

2 cookers 

2 sterile water/saline 

1 instruction sheet 

1 DAP Health harm reduction program mobile and brick-and-mortar location card 


Blue-Dotted Brown Bag 3 (GHB Safer-Use Kit)      

2 oral syringes 

1 plastic bottle cap 

1 packet of fizzy drink mix 

1 emergency card 

1 instruction sheet 

1 DAP Health harm reduction program mobile and brick-and-mortar location card 


Green-Dotted Brown Bag 4 (Safer-Snorting Kit)   

2 straws 

1 plastic card  

1 plastic razor 

2 sterile water/saline 

1 tiny spoon  

2 alcohol wipes 

1 personal lubricant packet 

1 instruction sheet 

1 DAP Health harm reduction program mobile and brick-and-mortar location card 


Orange-Dotted Brown Box (HIV Self-Testing Kit) 


Narcan/Naloxone Box (contains 2 nasal sprays) 

What Is NOT in DAP Health’s Harm Reduction Vending Machine? 

Syringes or meth pipes.

DAP Health Co-Presenting Sponsor of 8th …

DAP Health Co-Presenting Sponsor of 8th Annual Conference on HIV & Aging 

Positively Aging Project, the annual Coachella Valley conference aimed at providing practical information and inspiration for those living long-term with HIV, will bring together community leaders to improve the lives of older adults living with HIV for a hybrid in-person and virtual conference on September 23, 2023. 

The conference will feature top experts in HIV research on a panel discussing HIV and aging issues in our community with a focus on “Mind, Body & Soul” and the integration and importance of each in thriving with HIV.  

Historically, the conference is held on or around National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day on September 18th — a day to call attention to the growing number of people living long and full lives with HIV, and to aging-related challenges of HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care.  

The virtual conference is free to attendees and open to the public. Co-presented by DAP Health and Mr. Bruce Purdy & Mr. Barrett Shepard, this year’s event is a result of a unique collaboration among local service providers and organizations focused on improving the shared experience of older adults living with HIV.

People with HIV are living longer lives, thanks to advancements in scientific research and medical treatments: Today, 50% of people living with HIV in the U.S. are age 50 and above. That number is expected to rise to 75% by 2030.

Individuals aging with HIV have experienced tremendous loss, stigma, and discrimination throughout their lifetime and within the health care system. In comparison to similar HIV- negative populations, individuals aging with HIV may experience an early onset of aging complications, such as neurocognitive decline, impaired physical function, frailty, and psychosocial challenges like isolation, depression, and PTSD from living through the early HIV pandemic.

Keynote Speaker: Peter Staley

Peter Staley has been a long-term AIDS and gay rights activist, first as a member of ACT UP New York, then as the founding director of the Treatment Action Group (TAG). He was a 2016 fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and is a leading subject in the Oscar-nominated documentary “How to Survive a Plague.” More recently, Staley co-founded the PrEP4All Collaboration and the COVID-19 Working Group-New York, and is the lead named plaintiff in Staley v. Gilead, a major federal antitrust case against big pharma set for trial next year. Staley recently published his memoirs, titled “Never Silent: ACT UP and My Life in Activism.”

Other Speakers Include: 

HIV Research Update Panel

▪           Bios Clinical: Golkoo Morcos, PharmD

▪           Desert Oasis: Brook Yates

▪           Eisenhower Health: Ann Stapleton, MD

▪           Palmtree Clinical Research: Carlos Martinez, MD

▪           HIV+ Aging Research Project: Jeff Taylor, Executive Director

Ted Guice, personal trainer focusing on HIV & fitness after fifty

Jack Newby, presenting the Brain Game Program offered at the Joslyn Center

David Grelotti, MD, UC San Diego Medical Cannabis Research, and Ruth Hill, RN, speaking on the use of medical cannabis

Thomas Roth, certified instructor, Transcendental Meditation, and director of the David Lynch Foundation HIV Wellness Initiative

The Roundtable - Conversations that build friendships and communities



The Positively Aging Project 8th Annual HIV Conference is a collaboration between the HIV+ Aging Research Project and other nonprofit community partners. It is a hybrid (in-person and virtual) conference consisting of a mix of facilitated discussions, panels, and presentations led by key researchers, advocates, and long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS.


September 23, 2023


9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262 ... and online via Zoom 


Registration is free and now open here ... or through the HIV+Aging Research Project site.

Participants may also attend via Zoom by using this link.



Mr. Bruce Purdy & Mr. Barrett Shepard

This is the second year in a row that Mr. Purdy and Mr. Shepard are presenting sponsors for the Positively Aging Project. Together for 38 years, they actively support and serve organizations that focus on gay health and the gay community. They reside in both Maryland and Palm Springs.

DAP Health

DAP Health is an internationally renowned humanitarian health care organization and federally qualified health center (FQHC) whose goal is to protect and expand health care access for all people — especially the disenfranchised — regardless of who or where they are, their health status, or whether they have health insurance.

In 2023, the nonprofit made a successful bid to acquire the Borrego Health System, enabling it to serve a total of more than 100,000 patients of all populations, genders, and ages — from newborns to seniors — at a total of 25 Southern California clinics located within 240 rural and urban zip codes from the Salton Sea to San Diego.

Founded as Desert AIDS Project in 1984 by a group of volunteers, and thanks to nearly 40 years of experience caring for those affected not only by the HIV epidemic but by various other public health emergencies (COVID-19, mpox), DAP Health has the physical and intellectual resources, the drive, and — most importantly — the vision to effect even greater change by positively impacting its diverse patient populations’ social determinants of health (SDOH).

According to the World Health Organization, SDOH are “the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.”

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. (daphealth.org)



Eisenhower Health 

Eisenhower HIV Clinic: Recognizing the complex health care needs of the LGBTQ patient population, Eisenhower Medical Center offers a comprehensive range of clinical, research and education resources — starting with a team of dedicated primary care doctors and infectious disease specialists who have exceptional experience and expertise.

Eisenhower HIV Clinic Primary Care Services: Providing state-of-the-art care for HIV patients requires knowledge of the latest treatments and best practices in the detection and treatment of HIV. Eisenhower’s HIV primary care program is focused on the overall health of each patient, including:

  • Appropriate utilization of advances in HIV care to sustain the best possible quality of life, including appropriate STD and cancer screening as well as healthy aging.
  • Best practices to prevent the spread of HIV.
  • Compassionate access to new medicines for highly drug-resistant patients.

Our team includes HIV primary care doctors board-certified in internal medicine or family medicine, with an additional certification as an HIV specialist with the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM).

Eisenhower Health is proud to collaborate with many nonprofit organizations here in the Coachella Valley providing HIV and related health care services, through partnership connectivity of services, referrals, and education. (eisenhowerhealth.org)



Desert Oasis Healthcare

Formed in 1981 as one of the first medical groups in the desert communities of Southern California, Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC) continues to advance with changes in the health care market. DOHC provides primary and immediate care, home health, palliative care, clinical research studies, and other services to more than 60,000 members/patients living in the Greater Coachella Valley and the Morongo Basin of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The multidisciplinary and comprehensive care programs of DOHC are committed to educating individuals on preventive health care in their daily lives, reflected in the DOHC motto, “Your Health. Your Life. Our Passion.” (mydohc.com)



Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association has been serving the Coachella Valley for 24 years and works to provide care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. We are here to help. We provide caregivers and families with comprehensive resources and information, including care and support services, education, and social engagement opportunities. Our office is located at 74020 Alessandro Drive, Palm Desert. Reach us at 760-996-0006. We conduct face-to-face and virtual support groups and education programs throughout the Coachella Valley, and work to ensure that these services reach diverse and underserved populations. All programs offered by the Alzheimer’s Association are completely free of charge to our desert community. (alz.org)

Brad Fuhr - Moderator

As owner of KGAY 106.5 and 103.1 MeTV Music radio, as well as “The Gay Desert Guide,” all of which are media sponsors of The Positively Aging Project, Brad will be moderating our event for the fifth year in a row. Brad also operates OMGPSP (Oasis Marketing Group), a digital and social media agency.

GayDesertGuide.com is a top digital destination for locals and visitors alike, with a robust online events calendar; attractions, bar, and dining guide; and tips for travelers. Brad’s weekly blog and newsletter is read by thousands as they plan their Palm Springs weekend.

KGAY 106.5 is one of the top radio stations in the Palm Springs market, with award-winning personalities, dance hits, and community service elements, including the “KGAY Cares” program, which donates airtime to local nonprofits.

MeTV Music radio 103.1 is a soft rock radio station featuring timeless and memorable music spanning the decades from the ’60s through the ’80s. 

Brad was recognized by the Desert Business Association as 2015 Business of the Year, and in 2018 as Businessperson of the Year. The city of Palm Springs Human Rights Commission honored him with its Community Service Award for “Promoting Universal Human Rights Closer to Home” in February 2018. He used the award to springboard into starting a Gay4Good community service organization chapter in Greater Palm Springs. He serves on the board of the LGBTQ+ Archives Project and the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast committee (GayDesertGuide.com)

Brothers of the Desert

Brothers of the Desert (BOD) is a nonprofit organization formed in 2017 that provides a growing network of support for Black gay men and allies in the Coachella Valley. Its mission is to “Nurture and support Black gay men and allies through philanthropy, volunteerism, mentorship, education, advocacy, and social networking.” Some relevant activities include:

  • Annual Wellness Summit meetings focused on physical and mental health issues affecting Black gay men, including HIV/AIDS.
  • A Black HIV/AIDS Awareness broadcast program providing testimonies on HIV in the Black gay men’s community.
  • Participation in and fundraising for the DAP Health Equity Walk. (brothersofthedesert.org)

HIV+Aging Research Project-Palm Springs

The HIV+Aging Research Project-Palm Springs is a community nonprofit that conducts research and provides education to improve the quality of life for long-term HIV survivors here in the Coachella Valley.

We collaborate with academic partners throughout Southern California and nationally to conduct socio-behavioral research on issues like resiliency & COVID affecting HIV survivors.

HARP-PS was the first organization to take the lead on the mpox (MPX) epidemic by conducting biweekly town hall meetings with community members, state, county, and city public health officials and providers, as well as a weekly task force meeting with the state, county, and city.

We provide the monthly Positive Life HIV Education Series, with topics and speakers tailored to the unique needs of our HIV survivor community.

HARP-PS conducts monthly provider/clinician education programs to educate them on advances in HIV treatment and relevant care topics for our unique aging HIV+ population. This is the only cross-institutional program for clinicians in the valley, and they value this opportunity to meet and interact with their peers.

We created the annual Positively Aging Project (formerly the Aging Positively Reunion Project) daylong regional seminar to bring together the HIV and aging community in Southern California which is held each year on or around HIV & Aging Awareness Day. (HARP-PS.org)

Jewish Family Service of the Desert

JFS is a nonsectarian, nonprofit, social service agency serving the needs of Coachella Valley residents. JFS offers services for all, in the areas of mental health counseling, case management and community programs.

Since its inception as part of the Jewish Federation of Palm Springs and Desert Area in 1982, JFS has grown, not just in size, but in its ability to serve the people of the Coachella Valley.

Beginning as a small group of volunteers who checked in on seniors and disabled people who lived alone, JFS Desert has evolved into an organization of professionals and volunteers who provide a broad range of support and services to thousands of Coachella Valley residents each year.

Our experienced case managers can assist in exploring potential resources. They will assess clients’ eligibility for services and programs and can help facilitate the application process to obtain benefits and support. 

Our case managers are a resource for the Coachella Valley, providing emergency financial assistance to prevent homelessness. JFS also works with local and county organizations to advocate for the rights of seniors in the valley. 

The JFS case management team takes a holistic service approach, collaborating with internal departments to ensure clients’ needs are addressed. 

We are dedicated to making sure that mental health issues and affordable housing stay front and center for our valley citizens (JFSDesert.org)

Joslyn Center

The Joslyn Center is dedicated to leading the way in enhancing the well-being of adults 50+ through innovative programs and services. We help older adults and seniors live healthy and fulfilling lives through a variety of classes, activities, social services, and counseling. Join us and take a look at our calendar with over 65 classes and activities to keep you active and engaged. (JoslynCenter.org)

Let’s Kick Ass

Let’s Kick Ass Palm Springs is an inclusive social group seeking to reduce the stresses of AIDS  Survivor Syndrome. We welcome members regardless of HIV status, race, gender, age, or sexuality, believing that the individual is the best judge of the impact of HIV on their life. 

We organize social functions providing opportunities to develop friendships and community.

We support education and advocacy to raise awareness of AIDS Survivor Syndrome, long-term survivors, and the challenges they face. 

People feel better when engaged in social activity. LKA Palm Springs helps long-term survivors overcome isolation by creating social opportunities — from our popular monthly potlucks, twice-monthly coffee socials, the bowling team, and our movie nights, to now establishing annual events such as our June 5 Long-Term Survivors Day reception and our Thanksgiving Day feast. 

LKAPS benefits its members through engagement with our local community of HIV survivors. (Lkaps.org) 


PALS (Planning Ahead for LGBTQ Seniors) is a volunteer-led community initiative based in Palm Springs that helps LGBTQ+ adults and friends to plan ahead before a health or other life-altering situation arises. Having a plan in place mitigates stress and anxiety, ensures that you are in control of your future care and legacy, and relieves the burden on family and friends.(palsinthedesert.com) 

The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert

At the Center, our goal is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all members of our vibrant LGBTQ community.

Our vision is to create a vibrant community of love and support that stretches beyond our Center’s doors, where we strive to meet all members of the LGBTQ community where they are and provide them the services they need to thrive.

Our mission is to provide an open and welcoming environment for all members of the LGBTQ family. Through the use of our individual lived experiences and collective power, we host community events, assistance programs, and various other forms of support in our efforts to create a loving community where everyone belongs.

Come join us at The Center, a space where you can belong and be unconditionally you (thecentercv.org)

DAP Health Announces Date For Its 2023 H …

DAP Health Announces Date For Its 2023 Health Equity Walk


The popular event, formerly known as the Desert AIDS Walk, kicks off at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 28

at Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs.


Consistent with DAP Health’s almost 40-year history of protecting and expanding access to health care, the organization has renamed its perennially popular Desert AIDS Walk the DAP Health Equity Walk as an affirmation of its mission to remove all barriers to care.

Presented by Desert Care Network, the event will take place throughout Palm Springs — kicking off from Ruth Hardy Park at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 28 — and will feature a Health & Wellness Village sponsored by Walgreens.

The pet- and kid-friendly affair is an opportunity for all residents across the Coachella Valley to walk out loud so that every member of the community — regardless of who or where they are — can achieve optimal health in a more just system.

“When we were founded as Desert AIDS Project almost 40 years ago, there were no HIV medications, advocacy was in its infancy, and the prognosis for those sickened by the disease was inevitably grim,” says DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “Four decades later, our work to end HIV continues through prevention and education, but our measurable successes have enabled us to also create a unique patient-centered model of care we can replicate in other marginalized communities, removing barriers for those who need it most. Honoring our past to create health equity is part of our history and how we plan to continue making history for decades to come.”

With the recent acquisition of the Borrego Health system, a total of more than 100,000 patients of all populations, genders, and ages — from newborns to seniors — at a total of 25 Southern California clinics located within 240 rural and urban zip codes from the Salton Sea to San Diego now fall under DAP Health’s protective umbrella of care.

“Because DAP Health now works on behalf of such a large swath of individuals, it makes sense to broaden our walk’s mission to reflect the totality of our patient population,” continues Brinkman. “While compassionate, state-of-the-art HIV care and prevention is in our organization’s DNA, and will forever be at the heart of our work, the truth is that today, our lifesaving efforts are carried out on behalf of everyone in disciplines that include primary care, OB-GYN, pediatrics, gender affirmation, mental health, harm reduction, and recovery, to name but seven. The walk, one of our biggest annual fundraisers, is now representative of the incredible diversity of services we offer.”

Participants and supporters of the 2023 DAP Health Equity Walk are being asked to do the following:

Walk Out Loud to End HIV. HIV/AIDS care, testing, and prevention have always been at the heart of DAP Health’s mission, and that simple fact will never change. The organization’s clinical expertise has been hard-won from its vast experience, and is what has enabled it to expand as it has. 

Walk Out Loud For LGBTQ+ Care. Every stripe of the rainbow, including those seeking gender-affirming care, have continually found a safe haven here, free of shame and stigma.

Walk Out Loud For Women’s Health. The recent acquisition of the Borrego Health system has brought a multitude of clinics that serve women (and their children) into the DAP Health fold. The nonprofit is very proud to now boast robust OB-GYN and pediatric services, among many others.

Walk Out Loud to End Epidemics. This has forever been DAP Health’s superpower, with the organization swiftly and successfully addressing a number of community health crises. For instance, its on-campus COVID-19 clinic was the first to open in the Coachella Valley, and the agency successfully lobbied the powers that be for the community’s fair share of the much-needed mpox vaccine.

Walk Out Loud For Mental Health. Thanks to the 2022 opening of the Marc Byrd Behavioral Health Clinic — which offers in-person and telehealth individual psychotherapy, as well as medication management — this long-held DAP Health dream is now a reality.  

Walk Out Loud to Care For Everyone. Health equity means all people have the same access to health care, no matter what social determinants of health negatively impact them. At DAP Health, everyone is welcome, with no one ever turned away due to their lack of health insurance.

Of note, the Ryan White Western Regions Provider Meeting — which brings together nearly 50 peers who specialize in HIV care, and who receive the Ryan White Western Regions Provider Meeting — which brings together nearly 50 peers who specialize in HIV care, and who receive Ryan White Part C and Part D funding — will take place October 26 and 27 in Palm Springs. At the event, these like-minded colleagues, from Denver to Hawaii, will share best practices to improve the quality of care and services they provide to their patients.


DAP Health and Borrego Health Become One …

DAP Health and Borrego Health Become One Integrated Health Care System

The acquisition’s goal is to protect and expand local access to culturally competent care.

DAP Health is happy to announce that its acquisition of Borrego Health’s assets has been approved by both the Bankruptcy Court and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The two health care systems will now operate as one integrated system, with some 850 employees serving 100,000 patients of all ages, genders, ethnicities, orientations, and socioeconomic status at a total of 25 Southern California clinics located within 240 rural and urban zip codes from the Salton Sea to San Diego.

Pre-acquisition, DAP Health’s programs and services included primary care, infectious diseases, gender-affirming care, LGBTQ+ care, mental health, dentistry, harm reduction, recovery services, affordable housing, and social services. The Borrego Health disciplines now under DAP Health’s vast umbrella include family medicine, women’s health (including OB-GYN), pediatrics, veterans’ health, geriatrics, urgent care, and pharmacy services.

“It’s an honor to unite Borrego Health and DAP Health’s missions, as well as our region’s most exceptional, dedicated, and passionate health care professionals,” says DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “Together, we will build a brighter future where every individual — regardless of who or where they are — has equal opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

“We will achieve this by replicating our time-tested, holistic, patient-centered care model, which addresses all applicable social determinants of health (SDOH) negatively affecting the patient population at each of our clinics. By addressing these SDOH — whether they pertain to language and literacy, housing, nutrition, transportation, education, employment and income, addiction, violence, and/or racism and other discrimination — we remove barriers to care, increase our patients’ quality and length of life, and create true health equity.”

Of note:

  • Every DAP Health and Borrego Health location will remain open, retaining its original name, branding, and signage for the time being.
  • All Borrego Health employees have been offered employment at DAP Health, and 99% have accepted to join the combined entity.
  • Any patient at DAP Health or Borrego Health can now make appointments at any of our locations in this expanded system.
  • FAQs for patients can be found here.
  • Alliance members (and fellow FQHCs) Innercare and Neighborhood Healthcare — with regional and cultural expertise in Riverside and San Diego Counties, respectively — will offer guidance, support, and community connections on an as-needed basis.

The Next 12 Months

Over the next 12 months, DAP Health’s fortified executive leadership team — consisting of individuals from both organizations — will analyze all SDOH negatively impacting the varied patient populations served by our larger combined entity. It will actively engage fellow community organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, and businesses to improve health outcomes for all, whether that be by adding programs and services or improving physical facilities. By combining a plethora of strengths, DAP Health will achieve new levels of excellence in delivering comprehensive, accessible, and culturally sensitive care to its diverse patient populations.

DAP Health Executive Team Members

David Brinkman, Chief Executive Officer

David joined DAP Health in 2006. He has led the organization through a period of unprecedented expansion, increasing the number of patients and volunteers, diversity and volume of services, number of staff, and size of the budget by 1000%. Under his leadership, DAP Health established a dental clinic, a permanent supportive housing complex, a community center, a department of community health, two sexual wellness clinics, and a vocational program. During this period, DAP Health was awarded full Federally Qualified Health Center status. David has served the nonprofit community for over 25 years. He previously worked as executive director of a nonprofit resource center for homeless youth and as development director for a nonprofit employment center for developmentally disabled adults. David earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Lewis & Clark College and completed his MBA with emphasis in ethical business management at Pepperdine University.

Judy Stith, Chief Administrative Officer

Judy will be stepping up from her current role as DAP Health’s chief financial officer to serve as the chief administrative officer for our combined organization. Judy was hired in February 2019, coming to DAP Health with extensive experience, including spending the last two years as the CFO for Horizon Health and Wellness, an FQHC in Arizona. Her position as controller at Goodwill Industries, combined with her health center tenure, makes her well-suited to lead DAP Health’s department of finance, where we benefit from diverse income streams such as our health center, fundraising (including grants), and a chain of resale stores. As CFO, Judy implemented and monitored systems of internal control for accounting functions to ensure the safeguarding of our assets and resources. She also oversaw the financial component of the 340B program. Judy earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wright State University. She maintains memberships in the Arizona Society of CPAs and the California Society of CPAs. 

Corina Velasquez, Chief Operating Officer

Corina Velasquez, who first joined Borrego Health in 2007, has a history of success in health care operations. Corina moves into her role at DAP Health after serving as the chief operating officer and executive vice president of Borrego Health, where she has managed patient access and process improvements, overseen multiple departments, and led clinic operations throughout California. Prior to advancing to COO and executive vice president at Borrego Health, Corina served as the chief operating officer for Riverside County, where she managed medical clinics while introducing policies, procedures, and best practices in line with the CEO’s agenda. Corina holds a bachelor’s in business administration and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. She has also completed executive leadership programs with the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the Clinic Leadership Institute.

Dr. David Morris, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Morris joined DAP Health in January 2016, bringing over 30 years of outpatient clinical and hospital experience. He is board-certified in family medicine and credentialed with the American Academy of HIV Medicine. In his role as chief medical officer, Dr. Morris serves as the lead clinician in charge of all aspects of medical patient care services, including monitoring clinical quality improvement, developing clinical protocols, and supervising all medical providers. During the 16 years prior to joining DAP Health, he served as medical director and attending physician at Atlanta’s Pride Medical, Inc., an agency specializing in LGBTQ+ health and HIV specialty medical care. He previously served for over a decade as medical director and staff physician at the FQHC center at Georgia Highlands Medical Services, where the majority of the 8,000+ patient population is made up of very low-income individuals. Dr. Morris earned his Doctor of Medicine at Atlanta’s Emory University in 1984. 

Brande Orr, Chief Growth and Strategy Officer

Brande will soon rejoin DAP Health after previously serving as director of grants and then director of strategic initiatives from 2010-2019. She brings more than 25 years of experience serving nonprofit organizations in the health, equity, education, social justice, and human service sectors. Through collaboration with a wide variety of stakeholders, she has led strategic planning, fundraising, outreach, and quality improvement initiatives for organizations seeking to improve community well-being. Brande earned her MBA with emphasis in ethical business management at Pepperdine University. In her position as chief growth and strategy officer, she will lead the brand marketing and development departments at DAP Health.

Dana Erwin, Chief Compliance Officer

Dana joined Borrego Health in November 2021 as an interim chief compliance officer, and accepted the position of chief compliance officer in March 2022. As part of Borrego Health’s executive leadership team, Dana has assisted in developing an approachable and trustworthy quality and compliance team, and has worked with departmental leaders to support, educate, and build a collaborative quality and compliance department. Dana has an extensive health care background, beginning her career as a lead nurse in neurosurgery, and transitioning to labor and delivery for more than a decade. This foundational health care experience eventually led to a career in quality/risk and compliance in hospitals, ambulatory care, and FQHCs. Dana is certified in health care risk management and has a master’s in nursing leadership.

Sheri Saenz, Chief People and Places Officer

Sheri joined DAP Health in 1998. After serving as human resources assistant, human resources administrator, and director of human resources, she was promoted to her current role in November 2013. Sheri ensures compliance with state, local, and federal employment laws; advises on employment issues, including emergency preparedness, professional development, and cultural competency; oversees agency reception, facilities, and security; and manages employee benefit programs and agency insurance policies. Sheri earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University San Bernardino, and an associate degree in business administration and an accounting certificate from the College of the Desert, Palm Desert. To enhance her education and expertise, Sheri has certifications in SHRM (senior certified professional) and HRCI (senior professional in human resources). She is an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management, Professionals in Human Resources Association, the Crisis Prevention Institute, and the National Notary Association.

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!

Palm Springs Entertainer Keisha D. Rises …

I Know Where I’ve Been

Even when she was sure she was about to lose everything, beloved desert entertainer Keisha D kept on giving

Words by Kay Kudukis

Photos by Matthew Mitchell


Keisha D Mimms has played many roles in her life — daughter, sister, wife, mother, businesswoman, actress, chanteuse — but the one she was unwittingly cast in five years ago might be her most challenging.

More than a decade ago, when Mimms stepped on the stage at McCallum’s 2008 Open Call, she and the Coachella Valley instantly began a fierce love affair. No one else stood a chance. She is a powerhouse singer with a soulful, richly textured voice and a smart, playful stage presence. She doesn’t steal hearts, they’re offered.

“I remember being so impressed and so awestruck when she performed,” says local entertainer Brian Wanzek, perhaps better known by his drag queen alter ego Bella da Ball. “I sent — I think it was an email — to the person involved with the Open Call and asked, ‘Is it possible that you could either give her my number or you could give me her number?’ I just wanted to chat and talk about opportunities to work with this fabulous, talented superstar.”

Not only was Wanzek playing multiple clubs around town with his drag extravaganza, Delicious Divas, he was involved with multiple charities. Mimms was interested in giving back too, and a beautiful friendship and symbiotic working relationship coalesced. She sang for LGBTQ+ charities, including Palm Springs Pride, the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, The L-Fund, and many more.

Billed as Keisha D Sings, she’s got a big voice, which came in handy in choir, and on the mission-based tours where her pastor father preached, and her mother and she sang. Anyone who’s heard her belt out gospel knows she can get an “Amen!” out of a diehard heathen.

Mimms attended Christian high school but, “I started singing in nightclubs when I was 16, I was sneaking in,” she says, chuckling at her cheekiness. “We were just sitting in with the band. [I sang] ‘Summertime,’ ‘Come Rain or Come Shine.’ Anything Ella Fitzgerald.”

She received a vocal scholarship to Azusa Pacific, an evangelical Christian university where she did musical theater and opera. In fact, her favorite musical memory is not jazz, gospel, or Motormouth Mabel in “Hairspray.” It’s the titular character in Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly.” “That was just the highlight because I nailed it,” she says without a drop of ego. “This is something I never thought I could do.”

She moved to Palm Springs from Riverside for a position with a mortgage firm, but Wanzek wasn’t the only one who’d seen her perform at Open Call. Mimms was immediately in demand: The Purple Room, Vicky’s of Santa Fe, PS Underground, some clubs that have come and gone. But one thing remains the same. Her philanthropy.

“She’s been working with me and the Club probably for 12 years,” says Jan Darlington of the Palm Springs Woman’s Club. “She’s performed at benefits for us many, many times.” The charitable organization has been raising money for scholarships for Palm Springs High School students for the past 85 years.

Five years ago, Mimms began an unplanned journey: she started losing weight. Quite suddenly, she was half of her former self. She was performing, but her appearance was alarmingly delicate. Fans asked, “Is Keisha OK?” What they didn’t know — but what her best friends David Bader and Michael Shiplett knew — was that Mimms was very much not OK. The once energetic performer could barely drag herself out of bed. She was in constant, excruciating pain, and had recently stayed 14 days in the hospital with neither relief nor answers.

“When I got out, [Bader and Shiplett] took me back to my house,” she softly recalls, her voice catching. “They were with me on the phone in the middle of the night. I would be just crying in so much pain. It’d be 11:30 at night, they’d knock on the door, and then put me in the hot shower — that helped. I couldn’t shower alone.”

Bader and Shiplett suggested she try DAP Health, but Mimms demurred. She wasn’t unfamiliar with the great work the nonprofit was known for — she had donated her time as a performer for fundraising events, and for silent auctions for private concerts. It was a demographics issue.

“I’m not a guy and I’m not gay. And I don’t have AIDS. I know it’s not AIDS. We already ruled that out,” Mimms says.

Like countless others, Mimms misconstrued the breadth of DAP Health’s services. Many aren’t aware DAP Health is also a Medi-Cal and Medicare provider through Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP), the largest not-for-profit Medi-Cal and Medicare health plan in the Inland Empire, and one of the fastest-growing health plans in the nation. Those who have fallen on unfortunate times can apply and choose from DAP Health’s exhaustive menu. The organization has programs and employees that cover virtually everything, including mental health and chiropractic care.

Bader and Shiplett called DAP Health and explained Mimms’ condition. “Within two hours: ‘Hello. I’m from DAP. I’m an intake nurse and we want to schedule you for an appointment for tomorrow,’” Mimms recalls. When she arrived, Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Morris was waiting.

“The first thing I said was, ‘Just help me die. That’s all I’m asking you to do. I don’t need your medicine. I need you to help me die. Please.’” There is no drama in Mimms’ voice, but the memory of the moment is absolutely palpable.

“He took my hand and said, ‘I know who you are. I know what you do in this community. And if there’s one thing I’m not going to do, it’s help you die. You will live under my watch. We’re gonna figure out what it takes to help you live.’”

If the horrors of the AIDS epidemic taught anyone anything, it’s that it takes a village. Morris secured an appointment for Mimms at the world-famous Loma Linda University Medical Center. After some rigorous testing and diagnostics, Mimms had a diagnosis: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease. From the CDC’s website: “The immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs. It can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels. There is no cure for lupus, but medical interventions and lifestyle changes can help control it.”

Mimms’ illness spurred her to develop a scholarship fund with Palm Springs Unified School District. That journey began years ago when her daughter took dance classes at Palm Springs High School. Her young teacher was having a tough time with some students. Mimms had credentials, and volunteered to help. “So, I started working with these kids,” she says. Not just her daughter’s dance class, but all the classes. “Then it went to working with the orchestra, and teaching vocals to the jazz kids. So, I was singing with the kids, dancing with the kids, and talking to the kids. They called me Mama K. I couldn’t get to the counter [without], ‘Mama K, Mama K’ and hugs, hugs, hugs.”

Budgets were tight for some families. Instruments, uniforms, and bus tickets for events were a low priority. So, Mama K provided. “As a kid, I had everything. If I was in cheer, I got a cheer outfit: the shoes, the jacket, the letter. I’m seeing these kids trying to get to college. That’s why I started the Keisha D Music Scholarship. Every year, seniors can apply for funds. I have a friend, he’s a philanthropist as well. He said, ‘I’ll match dollar for dollar up to $35,000 every year, but you gotta raise it.’ Every year since, I’ve raised … maybe a little less than $30K. He matched it.”

In 2020, Mimms received a star on the Walk of the Stars Palm Springs and recalls the shock at seeing pictures of herself at the unveiling. “I looked like Skeletor,” she says, grimacing.

Today, Mimms’ all-around care is monitored by Dr. Morris and his handpicked Keisha D team. “They’re keeping me comfortable,” she says, “and they’re keeping me well. They’re doing a fabulous job.”

Even though the last five years have been challenging, Mimms has still supported DAP Health by participating in its “Hope Begins with Health Care” televised special and by serving as a storyteller at the weekly IMPACT Hour tours (a by-invitation-only backstage visit of the facilities for prospective donors).

With her new regimen, Mimms is looking and feeling much better. Her pain is regulated so well that she recently did a show with her band, Hearts of Soul, at the Palm Springs Cultural Center (PSCC). Part of a series celebrating Black female singers, the first featured Chaka Khan and Tina Turner songs. “We had dancers and everything,” says Mimms. “I can’t believe I was able to do that.” She also has Soulful Sundays at PSCC; Wednesdays at Mr. Lyons; Thursdays, Roost in Cathedral City; and Fridays at the kitschy PS Air Bar. She stays busy.

Mimms sings a song from “Hairspray” that is Wanzek’s favorite. Sung by Motormouth Mabel, it’s the title of this article, and seems to encapsulate Mimms — past and present. In fact, it seems to speak to her core being. Here’s Mabel talking: “What do we do when we see something wrong? We fix it. And I’m here to tell you, I’m going to keep on trying!” And then, singing: “There’s a struggle that we have yet to win. And there’s pride in my heart, ’cause I know where I’m going, and I know where I’ve been.”

Amen, Mabel. Amen!

Dine Out For Life to End HIV on April 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To register as a Dining Out For Life in-restaurant volunteer ambassador on April 27 — or to sign on as a participating establishment — please contact Avery Bell at [email protected] or 760.992.0441, or Bruce Benning at [email protected] or 760.320.7854.

Why DAP Health

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

About DAP Health

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

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

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

Vision Forward

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

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

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

HIV/AIDS at DAP Health

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

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

2022 Community Impact

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

Health care is...

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

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

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

Sexual Health • Social Services • Women’s Health

DAP Health... is health care.

Participating Restaurants at Press Time

 533 Viet Fusion

1501 Uptown Gastropub


Aspen Mills Bakery & Café



Chicken Ranch


Coachella Valley Coffee

Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge

El Mirasol at Los Arboles Hotel

El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana

El Patio Palm Springs



Gelato Granucci

Hunters Nightclub Palm Springs

Impala Bar & Grill PSP


Johnny Costa’s Ristorante

Juniper Table

King’s Highway

Lulu California Bistro

Mr. Lyons

Palm Greens Café

Purple Room


Shop(pe) Ice Cream & Shop

So-Pa at L’Horizon


The Front Porch

The Tropicale Restaurant & Lounge

Toucans Tiki Lounge

Townie Bagels Bakery Café

Trio Restaurant

Willie’s Modern Fare

Proud 2023 Dining Out For Life Sponsors


Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa/Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation


Media Sponsors

100.9 FM NRG The Deserts Dance Station

Alpha Media

CV Independent

Gay Desert Guide

NBC Palm Springs


The Desert Sun / Local IQ

The Standard Magazine

A Menu Made-to-Measure for DAP Health …

Brad and Lynne Toles of Savoury’s Catering in Palm Springs Created a Custom Menu for 2023’s The Chase 


For veteran husband-and-wife culinary team Brad and Lynne Toles of Savoury’s Catering, DAP Health has never been just a client, and The Chase certainly isn’t just a gala.

“We’re so proud to be such longtime partners of this organization for its biggest annual fundraiser,” says Lynne. “Brad and I have lived in Palm Springs since 1997. We care very deeply about this community, and DAP Health is one of its pillars. We’ve been members of the nonprofit’s Partners For Life donor group for more than a decade, and I joined donor group 100 Women the very first year it was created. We’re just so honored to be invited to the party every year.”

Being a perennial participant in The Chase means the Toleses can use their experience of past galas to fine-tune immediate future ones. Last year was the first occasion the entire event — pre-show cocktail hour and main program — was held outside. It was also the initial offering of a cold entrée inside a bento box. “It’s exciting and fun to create food that will present well cold while maintaining all its flavor,” says Lynne. “Plus, whereas we usually try to keep hot foot hot at any venue, using Sterno canned heat in hotboxes, here we have refrigerated trucks and dry ice in those hotboxes to keep cold food cold. Every event is different, of course, and it comes down to the magic of putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s an orchestrated dance, to be sure, but we love the challenge.”

Not only do the Toleses and their expert team of chefs, bartenders, bussers, and servers love the challenge, they meet it, and then some. Lynne reports that this year, Brad and his crew created a customized array of choices for The Chase’s gala co-chairs — DAP Health Board Members Kevin Bass, Lauri Kibby, and Scott Nevins — which resulted in a fun first: an entirely gluten-free menu.

Included in 2023’s new Koraku bento box — which translates from Japanese to “picnic lunchbox” — will be a golden and red beet salad with quinoa and a blood orange vinaigrette pipette, seared beef tenderloin with a port wine demi-glace, a poached salmon tower with sliced avocado-mango-papaya and a habanero glaze, and a kale and mushroom ravioli in a pomodoro sauce.

Vegan diners will be offered the same beet duo appetizer alongside a seared spiced tofu salad with miso dressing, the identical ravioli, and a roasted vegetable bundle that includes green beans, spiced portobello mushroom, and red pepper.

The sweet finish will consist of a mini raspberry and chocolate cone paired with a Mexican wedding cookie and a lemon bar. The vegan option will be a mini peach cobbler, a chocolate-dipped strawberry, and a double-chocolate pistachio brownie.

Prior to the formal sit-down dinner, guests will see and be seen — and hopefully engage in meaningful conversation — at Amazon’s Big Ideas Cocktail Party, which will be held inside the Palm Springs Convention Center so as to keep coifs and couture from wilting in the desert heat.

Here, Savoury’s will tray-pass a variety of cold and hot traditional, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free hors d’oeuvres. Just some of the selections will be peppered ahi cones with a wasabi cream, mini grilled cheese sandwiches drizzled with tomato soup, a Middle Eastern beef sirloin lollipop with tzatziki sauce, caprese canapés, shrimp canapés, mini pigs in a blanket, and Belgian endive with butternut squash and dried cranberry.

To wash it all down, invitees can indulge in a full open bar, or imbibe a specialty cocktail created for the occasion — whose recipe is a well-guarded secret in order to not ruin the surprise: The Glamazon, named after Amazon’s LGBTQ+ affinity group. (Please note: A non-alcoholic version will also be available.)

As Savoury’s puts finishing touches on every detail for the fast-approaching big night, Lynne shares their philosophy of catering such a large-scale event. “First off, I love the collaboration with the client and the event producers. They come to you with their vision for the gala, and then you get to be part of trying to bring that to life,” she says. “Our goal at the end of the day is always the same, every year: to outdo ourselves, to exceed guest expectations, and to provide the best experience humanly possible.”