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Monkeypox

Anyone can get monkeypox.  It is important we do not create stigma during this current outbreak 

Transmission of monkeypox can occur with skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, but it is not an STI  
 

Since May 13, cases of monkeypox have been reported to The World Health Organization (WHO) from 12 nonendemic countries. The first U.S. case of 2022 was reported last week in Massachusetts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified nine cases of monkeypox across seven U.S. states, officials said Thursday: California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. “The virus is related to smallpox, but is far less lethal,” says Dr. David Morris, DAP Health Chief Medical Officer  

“I believe it is very important that we don’t use the current outbreak to cause stigma toward the LGBTQ communities,” says Dr. Shubha Kerkar, Director of Infectious Diseases at DAP Health. Dr. Kerkar, explains “The reason the current outbreak was first reported in gay and bisexual men is because the diagnosis happened at sexual wellness clinics.” Transmission of monkeypox is neutral to sexual orientation.  

“In some cases, monkeypox lesions can look like herpes or syphilis,” explains Dr. Kerkar. “It is important to clarify that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease. It can spread through skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, when someone has an active rash.”  Individuals may come in for an evaluation of what they think is an STI. Health care providers have been advised by the California Department of Health to consider monkeypox as a possibility in all health care settings, not just STI clinics.  

Transmission  

Monkeypox is known to spread through prolonged close physical contact with someone who has symptoms.  

  • Rash, bodily fluids (such as pus or blood from skin lesions), and scabs are particularly infectious.  
  • Respiratory droplets, ulcers, lesions, or sores in the mouth can also be infectious, meaning the virus can spread through saliva.  
  • Clothing, bedding, towels, or objects like eating utensils/dishes, that have been contaminated with the virus, can infect others. 
  • People who closely interact with someone who is infectious, including health workers, household members, and sexual partners are at greater risk of infection.  
  • The virus can also spread from someone who is pregnant to the fetus from the placenta, or from an infected parent to child during or after birth through skin-to-skin contact.  

It is unclear whether people who do not have symptoms can spread the disease.  

Symptoms  

Symptoms include rash, headache, fever, muscle and body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and back pain. The CDC recommends that anyone with a new or unexplained rash get checked by a medical professional.   

Prevention  

Monkeypox can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact which includes sexual contact. Prevention includes avoiding physical contact with someone who knows they have monkeypox or who has a rash or skin lesions that may be associated with monkeypox.  

All health care providers are advised to be aware of monkeypox symptoms and if symptoms present, test accordingly.  

Testing  

If monkeypox is suspected, diagnostic samples must be collected from the roof or fluid of vesicles, pustules, or dry crusts. Samples are sent to the CDC to confirm a suspected case.  

Treatment  

“Most patients will recover in 2 to 4 weeks and will not require treatment,” says Dr. Kerkar. “However, we look to health authorities for guidance and further information on prevention and even treatment in certain situations”  
  

Trusted Sources of News and Updates:  

California Department of Health  

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  

World Health Organization (WHO)  

Meet Carol Wood

Meet Carol Wood  

 5-minutes with DAP Health’s Chief of Clinical Operations at DAP Health  

 

Carol Wood is the Chief of Clinical Operations at DAP Health.  A registered nurse, Wood had a long career in healthcare leadership before joining DAP Health in 2017.

Born in Canada, Wood moved with her family to California when she was 3 years old.  She grew up in Whittier and moved to Hemet in 1989. While raising her two children, Wood held executive leadership positions in acute care, skilled nursing, home health, hospice, and graduate medical education. 
 

What she likes most about working at DAP Health. 

To me, there are so many opportunities for us to help our patients. I learn something every day.  There is some amazing work being done, things I didn’t even know about until I started working here.  I still have some empty file cards in my head so until they are all filled up, I’ll just keep working. If I wasn’t working at DAP Health, I’d be retired, but I love what I’m doing here. 
 

When she’s not at DAP Health. 

I’m basically a homebody.  I love to read, listen to music, and be with my family.  My daughter had our first grandchild in March so I look forward to spending time with my granddaughter, but I like to read. I read a lot. I remember my son saying to me, “You know why I like to read books?  It’s like watching a movie in your head.”  And I said, yeah! 
 

Her favorite book. 

I’ve probably read every book James Mitchner ever wrote but Hawaii is my all-time favorite. I’ve read it 3 times. 
 

Her personal philosophy. 

I’ve had a theory for many, many years: If my worrying cannot effect change, then I’m not going to worry about it.  Then all I’ll get is a headache. What’s the point of fussing and worrying and fretting over something you cannot change? So, figure out how you can deal with it. Is it that important? If I can make a difference and it’s worth me fretting, then I will fret and I will make a difference. 
 

Her dream career. 

I would’ve been a singer.  I did some semi-professional singing with the Chorale Bel Canto which still performs around Southern California. I also sang in the Whittier High School Cardinal Ensemble.  I won Outstanding Female Vocalist and earned the Bank of America Achievement Award in music in my senior year. The thing with music for me is that almost every song reminds me of something. It takes me back to either a moment or a place or an experience or a time.   Music can be very meaningful.  It can make you laugh. It can make you cry.  I have an hour's drive [to and from DAP health] so I just keep the music going all the way there and all the way home.   

 

Her Ideal escape. 

I love the mountains.  I don’t like hot weather at all.  I love cold weather.  My bucket list trip is an Alaskan cruise.  I’d also love to take the train ride across Canada. I really want to do that.  

LGBTQ+ Care at DAP Health

Meet Dr. Felipe Saavedra 

LGBTQ+ Care at DAP Health 

One of our Primary Care Physicians is Dr. Felipe Saavedra, an HIV Specialist, and Family Medicine physician who has been working with the LGBTQ+ community since 2009. He completed a fellowship in LGBTQ Healthcare at UCLA in 2021, becoming the first Latinx physician specifically trained to care for the diverse population of the LGBTQ+ community. 

In 2015, Dr. Saavedra joined a pre-residency program at UCLA, where he also completed his Family Medicine residency in 2020. During his training, he educated himself and his colleagues on critical health care issues impacting LGBTQ+ individuals and improved the lives of underserved patients throughout L.A. County, many of whom were Spanish-speaking. As a Clinical Instructor at UCLA, Dr. Saavedra created a curriculum for first-year medical students exposing them to various LGBTQ+ topics and continues to mentor clinicians and trainees today. 

The training Dr. Saavedra received at UCLA, both in family medicine and as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Fellow, was foundational to the doctor he is today. "It was there that I truly learned how diverse our LGBTQ+ community is—well beyond HIV/AIDS," he says. "I developed deep and meaningful relationships with trans and non-binary youth and adults at the UCLA Gender Health program, which forever left an imprint on my practice. In the end, I want to see patients succeed, regardless of the medical and social challenges." 

Here, Dr. Saavedra answers questions regarding the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ care at DAP Health and the many wellness options available to our clients. 

Q: The LGBTQ+ population has some unique care concerns that are important to discuss with a provider. Could you highlight some of the LGBTQ+ health care services that are available at DAP Health? 

A: DAP Health offers whole-person health services to LGBTQ+ individuals. We deliver physical, behavioral, emotional, and social services. On the medical side, this includes routine primary care and specialties like Infectious Disease, LGBTQ+ Healthcare, and Psychiatry; HIV/STI testing and PrEP; gender health and transgender care; and high-resolution anoscopy (HRA). 

Q: What information can you share with LGBTQ+ patients—many of whom often avoid health care settings because of past negative experiences—so they know their visits to DAP Health will be positive and they'll be met with affirming care? 

A: DAP Health is recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for being a top performer in providing LGBTQ+ care. More than that, many of our medical providers—and also many of the clinical staff—belong to the LGBTQ+ community so we know the importance of honest and welcoming care.  

Q: Are there ongoing efforts at DAP Health to expand the services available to LGBTQ+ patients? 

A: DAP Health is a vital part of the Coachella Valley LGBTQ+ community and a leader in LGBTQ+ healthcare. We are present at nearly every large social event in the community spreading the word about our services and support for the LGBTQ+ Community. 

Q: Transgender individuals often encounter situations where their medical needs are ignored or denied. What procedures and policies does DAP Health have in place that help allay these fears? 

A: Patients at DAP Health have access to specialists trained in gender health at groundbreaking world-class institutions. Knowledgeable, affirming, and sensitive clinicians can help with transitioning, hormone replacement, mental health, community services, etc. DAP Health is always an affirming space and we recognize the unique needs of the gender diverse and trans communities. 

Q: In general, can you share your thoughts on why seeing an LGBTQ+ competent and trained clinician is important to members of that community? 

A: Even today, med students get limited training on LGBTQ-specific concerns and how to create a welcoming and non-judgmental space. Health outcomes are better when LGBTQ+ individuals feel affirmed and heard as individuals and not as a group. It's critical that the entire care team, reflected by the community we serve, is educated about and committed to LGBTQ+ issues. Removing barriers to access to health care in the LGBTQ+ community saves lives for the diverse population of the Coachella Valley.  

DAP Health Celebrates Vision Forward Don …

DAP Health Ends Season with Double Ribbon-Cutting

Some 200 invited Partners for Life members gather to celebrate the expansion made possible by the ongoing Vision Forward campaign

By Daniel Vaillancourt

DAP Health hosted a season-closing event at its Palm Springs campus on the evening of May 4. Invited guests included some 200 members of the popular Partners for Life donor program, who not only witnessed a double ribbon-cutting but saw with their own eyes the considerable progress that’s been made in the organization’s physical expansion over the last year through contributions to the ongoing Vision Forward capital campaign.

The affair — which featured cocktails and wine, plus a generous sampling of delicious hors d’oeuvres courtesy, as always, of Jerry Keller’s Lulu Catering — began, appropriately, in the Barbara Keller LOVE Building, which houses mental health services, the dentistry department, and the social services wing. Jerry Keller’s wife Barbara, who passed away in 2019, was a longtime supporter of DAP Health, and served as the president of its board of directors from 2009 to 2019.

Al Jones — whose major gift made the Marc Byrd Mental Health Clinic, named after his late husband, a reality — was the first donor to speak. His heartfelt address was followed by the official ribbon-cutting of that new facility.

“Lance and I were honored to participate in the new mental health clinic, as the need is so great for our community,” added Scot Karp, speaking on behalf of himself and of his husband. Marc Byrd’s reception area was named thanks to a gift from the pair’s Karp Family Foundation.

Jones and the Karps were followed by Sue Burnside, the donor after whom DAP’s group therapy quarters is named. “I’m so excited,” said Burnside, who benefitted greatly from group therapy as a queer youth, “because I really think people’s lives are going to be changed in this room.”

Also on hand to speak about why they donated to name the social services wing were spouses Karla Kjellin-Elder and Jeff Elder, who impressed upon the assembled group that, since they recently relocated from Orange County to the desert, it was important for them to crystallize their commitment to their newly adopted community.

 

From there, attendees moved to the recently dedicated Annette Bloch CARE Building, currently home to the Blue, Green, and Yellow Clinics (all devoted to primary care), and soon to welcome the Orange Clinic (sexual health). Prior to the second ribbon-cutting (which marked the recent opening of the Blue and Green Clinics), Dante Noto — whose gift lent his name to the Blue Clinic Bullpen — spoke about his desire to pay tribute to the many doctors, nurses, and staff members who work in tandem every day to care for DAP’s more than 10,000 patients.

Last to speak at the soirée was DAP Health CEO David Brinkman, who thanked the agency’s many benefactors and community supporters for showing their support at special events held throughout the year — from the Desert AIDS Walk in the fall, to February’s Annette Bloch CARE Building dedication, to DAP’s biggest annual fundraiser, April’s The Chase.

In addition to Burnside, the Elders, Jones, the Karps, and Noto, other major donors in attendance included Steve Tobin and Johnny Kruppa of the Grace Helen Spearman Foundation.

Prior to the season-ending get-together, we asked all those who participated in available naming opportunities related to the Vision Forward campaign to tell us, in their own words, why it was important for them to give to DAP Health in the ways they did. Their responses are as follows:

 

Sue Burnside

The Sue Burnside Group Room

Group therapy harnesses the collective energy of community, and the powerful — indeed, life-changing — knowledge that none of us is alone. There is transformative, healing magic in such knowledge… Bearing gentle witness to the challenges, heartbreaks, highs, and lows of others is therapeutic, both for the listener and for the listened-to. This simple beauty of connection and community — the single most significant healing force in the world — reminds us of our shared human condition and our responsibility to one another. I’m grateful to contribute to such beautiful efforts in this small way.

Dr. Jim Cox

The Yellow Clinic’s Jack Pugh Charitable Trust Chiropractic Suite

It simply feels good to contribute to the well-being of others by giving to an institution that has wisely diversified in order to achieve longevity. As the population of the Coachella Valley continues to expand, there is — and will always be — a shortage of health care providers. We cannot afford to let one institution fail, particularly one that increasingly caters to a demographic being squeezed out by gentrification and rising inflation. Not to mention one that still prides itself on the care for those living with HIV/AIDS, an area where DAP not only has deep roots but, thankfully, the will to never give up.

Karla Kjellin-Elder & Jeff Elder

The Social Services Wing

We are part of this Coachella Valley community and, for us, being part of a community means we help each other. DAP has been making a difference in so many lives for years. We want to help them continue their work. Donating to the social services wing at DAP is our way of helping to make that difference.

Mike Feddersen & Tom McClay

The Blue Clinic Reception Area

Because it’s extremely important to us that quality health care be made available to every person in the Coachella Valley, regardless of ability to pay, we very much wanted to support DAP’s Vision Forward campaign. Blue being our favorite color, we are honored to have our names located on the Blue Clinic Reception Area. We congratulate DAP Health on its many worthwhile endeavors and are thankful to be part of its vision.

Al Jones

The Marc Byrd Mental Health Clinic

In August of 2018, my husband of 26 years, Marc Byrd, died. He’d been HIV positive yet undetectable for 30 years, thanks to his faithfully taking a daily regimen of 19 pills. But a few months prior to his passing — unbeknownst to me — Marc chose to cease medicating himself, the result of severe depression he was so successful at hiding that not even I could fathom the depths of his despair. His immune system plummeted, leading to his body’s inability to fight off pneumonia. Had those of us who loved Marc been aware of his emotional state, we could have urged him to seek and receive the mental health support offered at DAP Health. His life might have been saved. I decided to make a contribution — an investment — in DAP in order to create the Marc Byrd Mental Health Clinic, which will help the organization provide a host of expanded services and treatments that will prevent others from succumbing to hopelessness. 

 

Scot & Lance Karp

The Mental Health Services Reception Area

With so many of our fellow community members having been so adversely affected by the pandemic, we feel the need for mental health care, support, and services is greater than ever. We’ve always been impressed with the broad-based portfolio of healing DAP Health provides, and admire the awareness, expertise, and stability brought by the organization’s long history with our community. We are not only honored to be able to support mental health wellness; we feel it’s our obligation. Through our continued involvement, we sincerely hope many others may be inspired to contribute what they can.

Dante Noto

The Blue Clinic Clinical Bullpen

As a long-term HIV survivor, I was moved to make a legacy gift to DAP Health to honor friends, past and present, living and dying with HIV/AIDS. Members of the LGBT community have always stood together to save our own lives. DAP promises the same commitment to the entire desert community. My gift supports the Blue Clinic Clinical Bullpen to honor the tireless health care team at DAP.

Steve Tobin & Johnny Kruppa

The Orange Clinic Reception Area

Because DAP Health’s mission is perfectly aligned with the Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation’s mission of helping to “improve the lives of the needy and less fortunate in our community,” it was imperative that we contribute to DAP’s Vision Forward campaign by naming The Orange Clinic Reception Area after Ms. Spearman in memory of her kind and loving vision.

For more information about DAP Health’s Vision Forward campaign, please contact Director of Development James Lindquist at jlindquist@daphealth.org or 760.656.8413.

Reproductive Care is Health Care

The Intersection of LGBTQ Health Care and Reproductive Rights  

Prioritizing Patients Over Politics 

DAP Health is an advocacy-based humanitarian organization that believes women’s rights are human rights. Women played a critical role in our founding and continue to help lead our organization today. 

DAP Health stands in support of sexual and reproductive health care for women -- whether born cisgender, trans, non-binary, or lesbian.  

DAP Health supports a woman’s right to choose. We believe all women should receive access to health care tailored to their needs, not policies or politics. We believe that health care access for LGBTQ individuals and reproductive health care are uniquely linked because challenges to each are often based on political or ideological arguments that fail to prioritize patient-centered care. 

For 38 years, DAP Health has been advancing LGBTQ health care. First by focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, then on testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and most recently on gender-affirming care. We continue to expand our ability to provide culturally competent primary care and mental health care services.  

We see health outcomes improve when barriers like shame are removed. And we see the impact of anti-LGBTQ legislation on our community's mental health. We advocate for stigma-reducing person-centric language while providing patient-centered care, free from judgment. 

Access matters. According to the World Health Organization, lack of access to safe, affordable, timely, and respectful abortion care, and the stigma associated with abortion, pose detrimental risks to women’s physical and mental well-being throughout their lives.  

The Federal Policy Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Julianna Gonen, wrote in 2019: "The movements for reproductive freedom and LGBTQ equality share deeply linked interests and concerns. We are all seeking control over our own bodies – the freedom to decide whether to become or remain pregnant, whether and with whom to have intimate relationships, and whether to seek medical care to help our bodies align with our gender identities. We seek the freedom to form our families on our own terms – to partner with and marry whom we love, to have children or not, and to live as our true selves as determined by us, not by someone else." 

The LGBTQ Community Finds Care at Reproductive Wellness Centers  

In Palm Springs, the LGBTQ community has enjoyed affirming health care at DAP Health since 1984. But in rural areas across California, and the nation, that same community often turns to reproductive wellness centers for judgment-free access to routine and preventative HIV and STI testing and treatment; gender-affirming care, and services related to reproductive healthcare.  

Roe v Wade and Marriage Equality  

We as a grassroots organization, founded in part because of denied access to health care and discrimination, firmly and ardently support the rights of every individual to make decisions based on their own personal needs. 

If the court does indeed overturn Roe v Wade, legal advocates say it has implications for other rights rooted in privacy, such as the rights pertaining to private sexual activity, and marriage equality.  

This includes the 2015 SCOTUS Obergefell v. Hodges ruling which affirmed that the Constitution grants same-sex couples equal protection and equal rights under the law. These rights cover access to employer-funded medical insurance coverage for same-sex couples and their dependents, family medical leave, and hospital visitation rights.  

Why DAP Health Focuses on Culturally Competent Care 

LGBTQ people experience worse health outcomes than the population overall due to barriers including high rates of health care discrimination, stigma, and humiliation; all of which are compounded by racism and poverty. 

Delayed preventive and medical care directly impact health outcomes for the LGBTQ community. Removing barriers to care while standing alongside our partners in reproductive health is the vital work that remains to be done to improve the health and well-being of everyone in our community. 

We Dined Out For Life…Together

On April 28 We Dined Out For Life...Together.

Sixty-Eight locally owned establishments support DAP Health

Participating establishments, restaurants, bars, and bakeries, donated all or part of their gross sales from the day. All funds stay in Greater Palm Springs to support DAP Health’s work to reduce HIV stigma and provide access to HIV care, prevention, and testing.

Elizabeth Cervantes and her husband Alberto own Carousel Bakery.  Her reason for participating this year was very simple and inspiring. She said, "We want to support everyone in our community". 

The founder of Lulu California Bistro, Jerry Keller got up early to talk with NBC Palm Springs about his family's reasons for supporting DAP Health, "It's just the most powerful charity in this valley that takes care of people. What I love is the fact that it keeps evolving and the new focus is taking care of the whole valley".

DAP Health joined forces with community partners to help spread the word that eating in greater Palm Springs is more popular and more important than ever. This year was the perfect way to reconnect with old favorites or choose among a variety of top-rated eateries that recently opened. 

Pride in Community 

It will take a few weeks for all of the participating establishments to report what they raised, but the last time restaurants and community members came together in support of Dining Out For Life in 2019, the top three fundraising restaurants in North America were all based in Palm Springs raising $307,000. This is a powerful story about generous restaurants and our local community support. The event generates community awareness of HIV/AIDS and supports DAP Health’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Growing Need for HIV Care and Prevention  

DAP Health continues growing to meet the demand for access to care created by barriers to health in the Coachella Valley. Efforts are underway to increase its capacity from serving 10,000 patients annually to 25,000 patients.  

In 2021, fear of COVID caused many people to put health on hold by staying home. DAP Health created new ways of keeping them connected to HIV testing and care with:  

  • 8,182 administered HIV tests at our campus and in our mobile clinic 

  • 566 HIV self-test kits mailed to homes  

  • 53 patients were welcomed into HIV care immediately after testing positive  

  • 187 people resuming antiretroviral treatment (ART) after lapses 

  • 351 patients accessing PrEP for the first time 

  • 22,500 condoms made available through our Condom Club  

 

DAP Health Director of Brand Marketing, Steven Henke spoke with the owner of LuLu's California Bistro, Jerry Keller, about his families support of DAP Health and Dining Out For Life.

About Growth at DAP Health 

The Vision Forward strategy details the organization's expansion of its physical footprint through the construction of additional primary care, mental health, addiction, and dentistry clinics — not to mention additional affordable housing units. The goal - to strengthen DAP Health’s safety net for those who lack access to the care they deserve. Find out more at daphealth.org/visionforward 

DAP Health provides a sense of community for many people living with HIV, a health condition requiring ongoing medical management and commonly stigmatized by society and many in the health care profession.  

“At DAP Health, you don’t wonder if you belong,” says David Brinkman, DAP Health CEO. “You just feel it.”   

Isolation is dangerous for people living with HIV, but DAP Health offers opportunities to choose something different than being alone.  

Michael O’Neil compliments being a DAP Health patient with volunteering on its Client Advisory Board, and helping other patients get the most they can out of DAP Health.  

“DAP has worked on my teeth, my body, my mind,” Michael says.  “Now, DAP Health’s given me goals and some sense of self again.”   

Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs was sponsored by Subaru, Bank of America, The Desert Sun, NBC Palm Springs, Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa/Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, and Road Runner Print & Ship.  

About Dining Out For Life 

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. 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. 

Launched in 1991, Dining Out For Life® is a trademarked North American fundraiser held annually in more than 50 cities across the United States and Canada; Dining Out for Life raised more than $4 million for AIDS Service Organizations in past years. 2022 marks DAP Health’s 17th year participating in the event. 

Dining Out For Life national board member, Brett Klein explains the importance of the annual event.

Some Enchanted Evening – The Chase …

Some Enchanted Evening 

Broadway alights in the desert for one night to enthrall “The Chase” audience and help DAP Health raise funds for those most in need 

By Daniel Vaillancourt 

After an absence of more than 24 months, DAP Health presented its big annual benefit gala, The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards — rebranded “The Chase” for 2022 — set against the dramatic backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains outside the Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday, April 9. 

With a promise that attendees would “gala like never before,” the evening was indeed a departure from the usual such soirée held during the desert’s high season, starting with a cocktail reception featuring hot and cold hors-d’oeuvres provided by Lynn Toles’s Savoury’s Catering from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., during which more than 1,000 guests mingled with one another — some catching up with friends and acquaintances they’d not seen since the social circuit was abruptly shut down due to COVID in early 2020. All the while, acclaimed trumpeter, songwriter, producer and musical director Spencer Ludwig (a Latin Grammy winner who has performed with Dua Lipa and Harry Styles, but to name two musical megastars) DJ’d on the sun-dappled stage. 

Broadway in the Desert

The entirely al fresco affair kicked off in earnest with a short set of show tunes performed by Tony-nominated actor and singer Max von Essen, accompanied on piano by actor, writer, producer, and radio host Seth Rudetsky, affectionately known in theatre circles as the “Mayor of Broadway.” 

That dynamic duo was followed by the trio of gala co-chairs, DAP Health board vice chair Lauri Kibby and fellow board members Kevin Bass and Scott Nevins. Before thanking presenting sponsor Amazon and producing sponsor Eisenhower Health, Bass expressed how overjoyed everyone seemed to be back together again, likening the community to “a tribe, a village.” 

Host Michael Urie — the beloved, award-winning television and stage actor perhaps best known for co-starring in ABC’s “Ugly Betty” from 2006 to 2010 — then took helm of the evening, telling the jubilant crowd how happy he was to “celebrate the invaluable, vital services DAP offers” before revealing his fervent desire to soon serve as someone’s Palm Springs pool boy, a running joke he’d revisit, to hilarious effect, several times throughout the evening.  

CEO David Brinkman appeared next, delivering an impassioned speech in support of the organization’s “Vision Forward: Building for a Healthier Tomorrow” campaign. “So here we are, two years into devastating loss and isolation,” said Brinkman. “It can be exhausting. But it can also remind us of what matters most. It can clarify our vision of how we want to spend our time and resources in the future. Loss can erode our foundation, leaving us teetering, or it can motivate us to build a better and stronger community. I can assure you it’s done the latter for DAP Health.” 

Urging attendees to join the philanthropic effort, he likened DAP’s work to that of weaving a net that’s held up by all for the benefit of those less fortunate. “Getting the care you need and deserve can be out of reach on the best of days,” he continued. “Imagine the added challenges for someone experiencing homelessness, struggling with a mental health challenge, fighting an addiction, facing discrimination, or simply living with the daily stress of poverty. Most of the people we serve face two or more barriers to care at the same time.” 

After underscoring that Vision Forward will enable DAP to go from caring for 10,000 to 25,000 people annually, regardless of HIV status or ability to pay, Brinkman introduced the first of a series of videos highlighting the contributions of the myriad individuals who sustain DAP: its donors, volunteers, and staff members. 

Rudetsky then returned to the stage, this time accompanied by Eden Espinosa — the original understudy for Idina Menzel’s Elphaba in the Broadway production of “Wicked,” who went on to play the role not only on Broadway but in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They brought the house down with their interpretations of “Imagine” and “Defying Gravity.” 

Following that powerful musical interlude, Urie — who pulled double duty by also serving as the offstage voice throughout the show — made a second appearance, bringing veteran auction host Dale Johannes onstage. Together they dispensed a trio of packages, including one that boasted a small fortune of diamonds courtesy of Raju and Jaishri Mehta’s El Paseo Jewelers, that raised a total of nearly $100,000 for DAP. 

Before introducing an Amazon-produced clip showcasing one of the online retailer’s trans employees, Kibby spoke forcefully about how DAP’s focus has shifted in recent years in order to provide an ever-greater umbrella of programs and services. “In fact, one of the groups the non-profit is most determined to bring under its wing is women,” stressed Kibby, “including trans women.” 

Arguably the most moving moment of the night occurred midway, when DAP’s Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Jill Gover introduced a stirring video focusing on David Jervis, a once-suicidal patient who found the will and strength to survive after coming under the care of DAP psychologist Dr. Ryan Halquist. The montage was followed by the surprise appearance of Halquist and Jervis, the latter of whom — through copious heartfelt tears — said, “I am proof positive that DAP doesn’t just change lives. It saves lives. The size of your gift tonight doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you make it — that you do give — because when you do, you help DAP and professionals like Ryan pull people on the brink of the abyss back into the real world, where all of us belong. And for that, we the clients of DAP could not be more eternally grateful.” 

When the “Fund the Need” portion of the evening arrived, Urie and Johannes — thanks to a matching gift of $250,000 from longtime desert philanthropist Mark Adams — raised more than $600,000. On. The. Spot. 

Inaugural DAP Health Equity Award

Next, presenting DAP’s inaugural Health Equity Award to Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz, Mayor of Palm Springs Lisa Middleton commented that the honoree made great strides in Washington not only to call out inequality in health care, but to rectify those injustices. “When COVID struck the Coachella Valley head-on more than two years ago, it was Dr. Ruiz who obtained much-needed monies for all local health centers,” continued Middleton. “DAP Health received more than $3 million in federal COVID grants thanks to his efforts. And our community benefited, with DAP caring for, testing, and vaccinating 8,000 of us free of charge.” 

In his acceptance speech, Ruiz acknowledged all the friends and familiar faces he has been honored to serve for the last decade in Congress. “In your eyes, I see the struggle for equality and an unparalleled dignity derived from hope,” he said. “In your smiles, I see the sea of change that we have achieved together. And in your stories, I see my story and our common path towards a brighter, healthier future for all.”  

The second and final award of the evening was bestowed upon every member of DAP’s army of nearly 400 valiant volunteers. In accepting on their behalf, Revivals Stores volunteer Barb Fairbairn — who retired a few years ago after a rewarding career in nursing at San Francisco General Hospital, where she worked during the height of the AIDS epidemic — said, “I think I can speak for all of us when I say that when we were told the organization’s volunteers would be honored at this year’s The Chase, our first thought was ‘Why us?’ We don’t do what we do because we want recognition … We do the work of volunteering because we feel we’ve been very fortunate in our own lives and we want to pay that forward. We do the work because it’s the right thing to do as human beings living in this world in these crazy times.” 

Dancing to Deborah Cox

Urie and Nevins closed out the evening by announcing that more than one million dollars had been raised for DAP over the last few hours. They then yielded the spotlight to Deborah Cox, a Grammy-nominated singer and actress best known not only for her Broadway turns in musicals such as “Aida,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” and “The Bodyguard” but for her chart-topping pop, dance, and R&B hits. The star capped her 30-minute set with a rousing rendering of her best-known smash, “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” which got virtually every member of the audience on their feet to dance the night away. As irresistible as its beat is, the song’s statement was somewhat misleading. In fact, everyone was absolutely supposed to be there, because DAP’s reimagining of “The Chase” for 2022 was — in a word, and in every possible way — triumphant. 

 

Full disclosure: Daniel Vaillancourt is the longtime scriptwriter of The Chase, having written the show since 2011. 

A Goodbye to Dr. Tulika Singh

A Goodbye to Dr. Tulika Singh

Singh hopes to create a fusion practice for people with HIV and non-HIV patients

Dr. Tulika Singh is leaving DAP Health, after serving as Director of Research and Associate-Chief Medical Officer for five years. She is beginning a fellowship program at The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She plans to become Board Certified in Integrative Medicine before returning to patient care.  

“I hope to create a fusion practice for people with HIV and non-HIV patients,” she says, “Incorporating alternative and conventional medicine to offer them the best care possible.” 

 While at DAP Health, she received FACP & FIDSA honors, given to Internist and Infectious Disease MDs for exceptional work. She also led groundbreaking research in new antiretroviral long-term use injectables. And she helped update HIV Primary Care guidelines for IDSA/HIVMA, used by thousands of clinicians in the U.S. 

 Dr. Singh is certainly not leaving conventional medicine behind. This Board-Certified HIV Specialist and Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine Physician says she wants to go even further to help make people well.  

“It is important that I finally pay attention to the other side of medicine,” she says.  “If conventional medicine was the only answer, then why are we so unhealthy in our country?” 

Integrative medicine uses conventional science-based approaches, such as drugs, surgery, and lifestyle changes. But it also utilizes wellness practices and non-Western medicines. It calls for including behavioral and emotional health in treatment, and for looking at non-medical factors affecting a patient’s health.     

“It is a completely different ballgame,” than traditional medicine, says Dr. Singh. “It includes taking time to get to the ‘why’ of a patient’s illness and addressing it.” 

DAP Health patients utilize wellness and social services in a dedicated wing on the campus, a practice developed when alternative and holistic therapies were the only options for people with HIV in the 1980s.  

“Long-term HIV survivors are so resilient and strong,” she says.  “I have utmost respect and admiration for their journey.” 

Dr. Singh has been practicing HIV specialty care since 2009.  

Although antiretroviral therapy is a modern miracle, many patients need help managing pain, decreasing stress, and maintaining life balance. 

“I really appreciate the multiple alternative medicine options that DAP Health patients have access to, like acupuncture, massage, yoga, reiki, and physical therapy all under one roof,” says Dr. Singh. “I see how much that has helped them.” 

Understanding the value of non-Western and alternative healing methods comes naturally to her, given her Indian parents both were specialists. She still remembers the advice her father gave her when she sought his blessing for her attending medical school.   

“Go and learn your modern medicine,” he said, “But you’ll learn Ayurveda, homeopathy, and naturopathy have their place.” 

25 years later,  says Dr. Singh, “and he’s right!”  

Inspired by Patients and Coworkers During Pandemic 

“The resilience and adaptability in our patients throughout this have been so inspiring,” she says. 

 Dr. Singh worked to keep her patients engaged in their health during COVID lockdowns, ushering in telehealth and Virtual Visits when coming to the medical offices was impossible. During the worst days of the pandemic, DAP Health patients received uninterrupted and ongoing care because Dr. Singh and her team made connecting with technology painless for patients.  

“COVID slowed us down, but it didn’t stop us,” she says. “We got on the phones and computer monitors and we took care of patients.”   

Finding a way to keep medical care going during COVID, she says, is credited to the flexibility shown by patients, DAP Health leadership and her fellow medical staff.  

“We came together, and we became more resilient and caring, more than we were ever before,” she says. “It was an exciting as well as a humbling experience.” 

Dining Out For Life Returns April 28

2022 Dining Out For Life is Thursday, April 28th 

Make One Meal Matter - Dine Out | End HIV 

Appetites are building for Thursday, April 28, when Dining Out For Life (DOFL) happens all day at restaurants, bars, and bakeries across greater Palm Springs. For 17 years, this event has helped fund DAP Health as it works to reduce HIV stigma and provide access to HIV care, prevention, and testing. Participating businesses donate all or part of their gross sales from the day. All funds raised stay in Greater Palm Springs to provide help and hope to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. 

More information about DOFL, participating establishments, volunteering, and sponsoring can be found at daphealth.org/DOFL/ 

DAP Health joined forces with community partners to help spread the word that eating in greater Palm Springs is more popular than ever. This year’s DOFL is the perfect way to reconnect with old favorites or choose among a variety of top-rated eateries that have recently opened.  

This year’s promotional videos feature local personality Kelly McQueen, aka DJ Mod Girl, capturing the excitement and satisfaction of eating all three meals of the day— breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a cocktail or two—at DOFL participating restaurants and bars on Thursday. You can view them on the DAP Health Youtube Channel 

 

 

The Palms Springs Show with Jacob Cunningham created a multipart series that explores eateries in the Palm Springs area, just in time to plan for the big day. You can tune in here: youtube.com/c/PalmSpringsShow 

 

Growing Need for HIV Care and Prevention  

DAP Health continues growing to meet the demand for access to care created by barriers to health in the Coachella Valley. Efforts are underway to increase its capacity from serving 10,000 patients annually to 25,000 patients.  

In 2021, fear of COVID caused many people to put health on hold by staying home. DAP Health created new ways of keeping them connected to HIV testing and care with:  

  • 8,182 administered HIV tests at our campus and in our mobile clinic 

  • 566 HIV self-test kits mailed to homes  

  • 53 patients were welcomed into HIV care immediately after testing positive  

  • 187 people resuming antiretroviral treatment (ART) after lapses 

  • 351 patients accessing PrEP for the first time 

  • 22,500 condoms made available through our Condom Club  

DAP Health provides a sense of community for many people living with HIV, a health condition requiring ongoing medical management and commonly stigmatized by society and many in the health care profession.  

“At DAP Health, you don’t wonder if you belong,” says David Brinkman, DAP Health CEO. “You just feel it.”   

Isolation is dangerous for people living with HIV, but DAP Health offers opportunities to choose something different than being alone.  

Michael O’Neil compliments being a DAP Health patient with volunteering on its Client Advisory Board, and helping other patients get the most they can out of DAP Health.  

“DAP has worked on my teeth, my body, my mind,” Michael says.  “Now, DAP Health’s given me goals and some sense of self again.”   

Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs is sponsored by Subaru, Bank of America, Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa/Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Road Runner Print & Ship, The Desert Sun, and NBC Palm Springs 

Pride in Community 

The last time restaurants and community members came together in support of Dining Out For Life was in 2019. The top three fundraising restaurants in North America were all based in Palm Springs. 83 local restaurants raised $307,000 during Dining Out for Life 2019. Greater Palm Springs is the smallest participating market but ranked second in overall fundraising among the 50 participating cities across the United States – raising more funds than cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and Phoenix. This is a powerful story about generous restaurants and our local community support. The event generates community awareness of HIV/AIDS and supports DAP Health’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of those living with HIV/AIDS. 

About Growth at DAP Health 

The Vision Forward strategy details the organization's expansion of its physical footprint through the construction of additional primary care, mental health, addiction, and dentistry clinics — not to mention additional affordable housing units. The goal - to strengthen DAP Health’s safety net for those who lack access to the care they deserve. Find out more at daphealth.org/visionforward 

About Dining Out For Life 

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. 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. 

Launched in 1991, Dining Out For Life® is a trademarked North American fundraiser held annually in more than 50 cities across the United States and Canada; Dining Out for Life raised more than $4 million for AIDS Service Organizations in past years. 2022 marks DAP Health’s 17th year participating in the event. 

Raul Ruiz Wins Health Equity Award

Raul Ruiz Wins Health Equity Award

Recognition scheduled at The Chase for fighting for health access

Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) will be presented with the inaugural DAP Health Equity Award at the 28th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Gala on April 9 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.  The accolade honors Rep. Ruiz for his long commitment to health justice locally and nationally. The DAP Health Equity Award honors leaders who have reduced health disparities locally, especially improving access for people who traditionally are economically and socially disadvantaged. 

To buy tickets for The Chase or learn more about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, go to www.daphealth.org/thechase   

Leveraging his platforms as a physician and a U.S. Representative, he has called out health disparities, influenced broad support for change, and secured more funding for care and education. He stays engaged in each issue he supports in the Coachella Valley to make sure promises are kept and change happens. 

“Dr. Ruiz understands that calling attention to specific barriers in healthcare is the first step in removing them,” said David Brinkman, DAP Health CEO. “DAP physicians offer the highest standard of health for more than 10,000 patients, helped by funding, public support, and the advocacy consistently provided by our friend.”

For years, Congressman Ruiz has been a strong health advocate for the people of Coachella Valley, and the impact of his work is sizeable. He has consistently voted to increase health center funding since coming to Congress. When COVID emerged, he fought for additional funding so that all health centers could stand up to the challenge. DAP Health has received over $8 million in federal grants, thanks to his advocacy. 

Dr. Ruiz also works to ensure his advocacy in Washington is put to good use here in the Coachella Valley where he grew up. 

  • Understanding the importance of educational opportunities, Dr. Ruiz has been a long-time advocate of the Teaching Health Center Program. He has led efforts to increase funding, which has happened twice under his leadership. The program also helps meet area staffing needs.
  • When COVID hit, underserved farmworker communities in our region immediately experienced disparities in vaccination rates. Dr. Ruiz increased local awareness by speaking out and helped secure thousands of tests and vaccines. He also led public health education events in the fields to meet people where they are. 
  • Dr. Ruiz’s support was vital to the success of Get Tested Coachella Valley/Hazte la Prueba Valle de Coachella public health initiative. This groundbreaking 3-year, $5 million effort sought to dramatically reduce HIV through education and routine testing for more than 81,000 individuals and provided linkage to care for 88% of newly diagnosed HIV patients. The 2014-2016 project united more 150 community partners, making it the nation’s first community-based initiative of its kind. It was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California State Office of AIDS, and at two White House conferences.

To learn more about Congressman Raul Ruiz, visit https://ruiz.house.gov/

 

The Chase Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor: 
Amazon 

Producing Sponsor: Eisenhower Health            

Major Sponsors: Desert Care Network, Steven Anders\The Elizabeth Firth Wade Endowment, Kevin Bass & Brent Bloesser, Jim Burba & Bob Hayes, The Desert Sun\Local IQ, Patrick Jordan, NBC Palm Springs, Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa\Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation 

Star Sponsors: Neil Lane Couture, David Zippel & Michael Johnston 

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