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Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs …

Annual Philanthropic Foodie Event Happens Thursday, April 25


DAP Health participates in the one-day North American gastronomic fundraiser for the 19th year.



Dining Out For Life® — the annual, North American foodie fundraising event that has collected more than nearly 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 25, 2024.

Every year since 2005, 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 tourists have swelled with pride and come out in droves to raise much-needed funds while enjoying the generosity of participating local restaurants, bars, cafés, and bakeries that donate anywhere from 30 to 110% of their entire day’s and/or evening’s receipts — not just the profits — to the legendary effort.

Thanks to the generous support of participating restaurants, volunteers, and community members, Greater Palm Springs perennially places in the top three successful markets in the country. In 2023, 72 desert establishments participated to raise more than $270,000 — more than San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and other large urban centers.

With more than 12,000 local supporters expected to dine out for life at breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and/or late night this year, the 2024 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 satisfy their hunger and thirst as many times as possible on April 25 to beat the North American record right here in our own back yard. If their favorite eatery hasn’t yet made its participation public, diners should speak up and urge the powers that be to sign up ASAP.

For the second year in a row, on the night before — from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. — DAP Health will host a Bar Crawl on Arenas Road in Palm Springs that will serve as the official kickoff of DOFLGPS 2024. Drag performer Jackett Knightley, the event’s special ambassador, will “Pied Piper” patrons from bar to bar, where DAP Health volunteers will provide proof of participation by punching each revealer’s Bar Crawl bingo card.  

DOFL National’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.”

“Because we were founded 40 years ago as a response to the AIDS crisis, Dining Out For Life has always been of supreme importance to DAP Health’s staff and patients,” says CEO David Brinkman. “Since our recent tremendous expansion has allowed us to increase our award-winning HIV/AIDS care from three to five of our 25 clinics, this annual event is more important to us than ever.”

To register as a Dining Out For Life in-restaurant volunteer ambassador on April 25 — or to sign on as a participating establishment, please contact Bruce Benning at [email protected] or 760.320.7854.

Participating Restaurants at Press Time

1501 Uptown Gastropub

Aspen Mills Bakery & Café

Barracks Bar

Bongo Johnny’s

Carousel Bakery

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen Palm Desert

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen Palm Springs

Chicken Ranch


Copley’s on Palm Canyon

Cork & Fork

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge

El Mirasol at Los Arboles

El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana

El Patio Palm Springs



Gelato Granucci

Grand Central

Heirloom Craft Kitchen

Impala Bar & Grill Nightclub


Johnny Costa’s Ristorante

Kaiser Grille

Le Donne Cucina Italiana

Lulu California Bistro

Palm Greens Café

Purple Room

Spencer’s Restaurant at the Mountain


The Front Porch


Townie Bagels

Trio Restaurant

Willie’s Modern Fare

Zin American Bistro

Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs 2024 Sponsors at Press Time

Steve Tobin, Johnny Krupa, and The Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation

Media Sponsors

Alpha Media

KESQ ABC News Channel 3

KGAY 106.5 & 92.1, GayDesertGuide.LGBT and 103.1 MeTVfm

NBC Palm Springs

High-Flying Volunteer

                         Star DAP Health volunteer Jim Gonzales and fashion icon Donna Karan.

High-Flying Volunteer

Jim Gonzales has been all over the globe, but there’s no place like DAP Health.

Words by Kent Black

It might be said that Jim Gonzales is used to the thin air of high altitudes. The Raton, New Mexico native (elev. 6680 feet) worked for Frontier and United Airlines as a flight attendant for 37 years, jetting all over the world to favorite destinations such as Barcelona and Sydney. “I much preferred flying to being in an office,” he says from his lovely home near the Parker Palm Springs. “You get on the airplane, do your job, be nice, and then go home.”

When Gonzales retired in 2015, he and his late husband moved to the desert. Having volunteered for his union for the Colorado AIDS Project, he reached out to DAP Health to see what he could do to help. The nonprofit obliged. His first assignment was to help work the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, overseeing the silent auction. “I was really nervous as heck about it,” he admits, “but we ended up doing really well.”

Since then, his volunteer portfolio has grown to include duties commensurate with his welcoming and personable disposition. Each January, he donates his time at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

At DAP Health, he helps with fundraising for the organization’s Partners For Life major donor program, its annual Health Equity Walk, and the client Thanksgiving feast. He’s also one of the rotating volunteers who guides the monthly Impact Hour, where guests are led on a behind-the-scenes tour of the DAP Health campus and introduced to its programs and services. “It’s really impressive. Especially when we show them the 61-unit apartment building going up,” he says. “And there’s always a client present to talk about their journey and how they got there.”

Since making Palm Springs his home, Gonzales says, “I have been afforded the opportunity to work with and meet many giving and wonderful people who are also committed to the mission of DAP Health. Helping everyone who has a need … what could be better?”

And, of course, he’s always available for The Chase. Last year, he had the honor of escorting fashion designer and philanthropist Donna Karan when she was honored with DAP Health’s Equity Award. As a seasoned awards escort, what fashion icon does he hope to guide along the red carpet in the future? Perhaps Norma Kamali? “Oh, no,” he says. “I’m hoping for Tom Ford.”

To learn more about how to become a volunteer at DAP Health—at Revivals thrift stores, at special events, or on campus—please click here.

Desert Care Network Donates $2.5 Million …


The generous gift, part of DAP Health’s Vision Forward campus expansion, will go toward programs and services for residents of the organization’s second on-campus housing complex, Vista Sunrise II, enabling residents to access lifesaving care in their own backyard.


Desert Care Network (DCN) continues its longstanding support of DAP Health with a significant $2.5 million contribution toward the nonprofit’s Vision Forward campus expansion campaign and soon-to-be-unveiled affordable housing complex, Vista Sunrise II. The generous gift reflects DCN’s dedication to addressing the needs of the diverse communities both organizations serve. This commitment will help provide equitable housing solutions for individuals facing challenges such as homelessness and chronic illnesses.

“At Desert Care Network, we are deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of all residents in the Coachella Valley,” says Desert Regional Medical Center & Desert Care Network CEO Michele Finney. “Our 40-year partnership with DAP Health, and this donation toward its Palm Springs campus expansion, focus on much-needed affordable housing, and align perfectly with our mission to provide comprehensive care to our most vulnerable residents. To support the health of our entire community, we know we are better together.”

“Thank you, Desert Care Network, for understanding — as we do — that housing is health care,” adds DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “Together, we are transforming lives and building a healthier, more compassionate community. By focusing on health equity and social drivers of health, we highlight the connection between housing and superior health outcomes. The ability of Vista Sunrise II residents, most of whom have no means of reliable transportation, to access primary and mental health care — not to mention wraparound social services such as nutrition, health education, and so much more — within a short walk next door is a game-changer for some of our most marginalized neighbors.”

Vista Sunrise II, a collaborative effort between DAP Health and developer Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, will provide affordable housing while incorporating thoughtful design elements and sustainable construction practices. This innovative project will feature 61 units, with 30 dedicated to rapid rehousing for individuals experiencing homelessness and 30 units allocated to those with chronic illnesses and/or low incomes. Key features include:

Thoughtfully Designed Living Spaces: The units will offer a variety of configurations, including one- and two-bedroom layouts, with a housing manager’s home also onsite. Each unit has been designed to prioritize comfort and functionality, featuring large windows for natural daylight, office nooks for work-from-home opportunities, and mobility-accessible options for residents with special needs.

Sustainable Construction Practices: The project incorporates environmentally friendly practices such as density housing on an existing site to minimize land clearing, “cool roof” materials to reduce energy costs, and all-electric appliances to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, carports with solar panels will offset the complex’s power grid electrical needs, further enhancing its sustainability.

Unique Amenities: Vista Sunrise II offers a range of amenities to foster community engagement and well-being, including rooftop terraces with mountain views, outdoor courtyards, a community center for gatherings and learning, and on-site case management services for residents. The proximity to DAP Health programs and services, grocery stores, shops, and an adjacent park will encourage residents to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.

Vista Sunrise II represents a beacon of affordable housing innovation, combining compassionate care with sustainable practices to create a thriving community for all residents. With Desert Care Network’s generous contribution, this project will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals and families in Palm Springs for decades to come.


About DAP Health

DAP Health, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2024, 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 absorb the Borrego Health system, enabling its 950 employees to serve more than 85,000 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 Coachella Valley to the San Diego coast.

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

The organization was founded as Desert AIDS Project in 1984 by a group of volunteers. 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 drivers 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.


About Vision Forward

Vision Forward is DAP Health’s 10-year strategic plan that will see the organization grow from serving 10,000 individuals annually today at its Sunrise campus to 25,000 patients and clients a year by 2025. So far, this broadminded expansion has encompassed:

  • The purchase of the Annette Bloch CARE Building and the opening of its three clinics.
  • The opening of a DAP Health sexual wellness clinic in Palm Springs.
  • Construction of Vista Sunrise II, which will feature 61 new units of affordable housing, to be completed in the second quarter of 2024.

Still to come is the Tenet Health Pavilion, a structure that will bridge the Barbara Keller LOVE Building and the Annette Bloch CARE Building, and which will include:

  • A transit- and pedestrian-friendly pathway.
  • A central registration area for all patient services.
  • A cafe open to the public that will be staffed and managed by clients of DAP Health’s Return-to-Work program.


About Desert Care Network

Desert Care Network is your health care resource in the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin regions of Southern California. We are three hospitals: Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio, and Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree. Working together, we bring advanced health care to our communities.

We operate a Level 1 trauma center at Desert Regional, the highest possible. And Level 4 trauma centers at JFK and Hi-Desert.

We have created a network of stroke-ready hospitals, anchored by Desert Regional Medical Center — our valley’s only nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center — and supported by the primary stroke center at JFK and the certified stroke-ready hospital at Hi-Desert.

Desert Regional is home to the only Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for newborns in the Coachella Valley. We also operate a hospital-based clinic that provides high-risk care for expectant moms.

DCN has an unwavering commitment to our community. We train the next generations of physicians through our residency program, and those doctors staff mobile clinics that provide services to the underserved, unhoused, and refugee populations across the desert.

DCN provides over a hundred million dollars in free and discounted health care to patients in need each year. In the last three decades, we have given millions of dollars in charitable donations and sponsorships to local organizations, including DAP Health, FIND Food Bank, the Women Leaders Forum, Volunteers in Medicine, and many more.

We are dedicated, driven, and proud to serve the health care needs of the Coachella Valley, the Morongo Basin, and everyone who visits our desert.


About Coachella Valley Housing Coalition

The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition was founded in 1982 by a group of community advocates, the local community, and business leaders, to address the substandard living conditions farmworkers and other low-income persons were enduring in the Eastern Coachella Valley.

Their innate sense of compassion for the human condition inspired them to help hundreds of families move out of inadequate living conditions — which included makeshift power poles in unpermitted mobile home parks, contaminated drinking water, and other crude housing additions made of cardboard — into safe, decent, and affordable housing. With a $10,000-dollar seed grant from the Aetna Foundation, the board of directors established the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC).

Today, CVHC is an award-winning tax-exempt 501 (c)(3), nonprofit affordable housing development organization that has been named amongst the Top 50 Affordable Housing Developers in the country. Every CVHC housing community is built with a solid commitment to partnerships, vision, and extensive community planning. CVHC is a Neighbor Works® America chartered member and a Rural LISC partner. It has developed affordable housing throughout Riverside and Imperial Counties, and has developed more than 5,000 multi-family and single-family residences, making it the largest affordable housing developer in Riverside County.

Key Programs

Rental Housing: Through its Multi-Family Housing Development department, CVHC builds affordable rental housing for working families (in hospitality, retail, and health care), farmworkers, retired farmworkers, migrant farmworkers, veterans, and families/individuals with special needs — the elderly, people with disabilities, and chronic illnesses. With more than 41 affordable rental communities totaling 2,953 units developed throughout Riverside County, CVHC offers an array of housing options for renters who are looking for a steppingstone to homeownership, or who are in need of affordable rental housing. CVHC is proud to partner with DAP Health on the development and operations of Vista Sunrise II, a 61-unit special needs development located in the city of Palm Springs. The development will include 29 units for chronically homeless individuals and 31 units for chronic illnesses. The Vista Sunrise II development will be CVHC’s fifth special needs development constructed in Riverside County.

Homeownership Through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program: Since 1989, CVHC has been helping families fulfill their dream of homeownership. Creating affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income families is a part of CVHC’s mission. The mutual self-help housing program means homes are built in part by homeowners. In the mutual self-help program, families work together and collectively build each other’s homes by using their sweat equity in place of a down payment.    Mutual self-help housing essentially builds communities based on a shared commitment of hard work, mutual support, and lifelong bonds. CVHC is the largest mutual self-help developer in the nation. To date, over 2,160 single-family homes have been constructed throughout Riverside and Imperial counties.

Community Engagement: CVHC also provides enrichment and educational programs at its Multi-Family developments. These include early childhood education centers, afterschool kids clubs, computer Instruction + technology centers, ballet folklorico dance instruction, mariachi music instruction, alternative high school diploma and GED programs for adults, community gardens + wellness for seniors, health and wellness educational classes + events, and English as a second language.

John F. Mealey College Scholarship Fund: In 2020, CVHC created the JFM Scholarship Fund in honor of its founding executive director. The scholarship is awarded annually to students living in CVHC developments who are seeking a higher education at any accredited college, university, or vocation school. To date, more than $962,000 in scholarships have been awarded, benefiting more than 889 students, supporting their dreams, and helping them persevere to complete their degrees.


Extinguishing Workplace Burnout

DAP Health Magazine

Extinguishing Workplace Burnout


With a novel approach to wellness benefits, DAP Health ensures employees remain in their happy place


Words by Victoria Pelletier


DAP Health understands that the key to helping individuals navigate through times of crisis is to meet the hurting ones where they are in their personal journeys. This deeply empathetic approach to healing — especially healing rooted among those in the LGBTQ+ community — requires listening, compassion, and a commitment to connecting those seeking healing with a variety of tools that support it. To make all this possible, DAP Health leans on the passion of its employees, individuals who innately understand what it’s like to experience exclusion, as well as emotional and physical pain. 

DAP Health’s leadership cadre, led by CEO David Brinkman, recognizes that health care providers and other related professionals need vigorous health and wellness benefits themselves due to the tremendous stress associated with providing care to others. “Our wellness specialist and all the healers take health and wellness very seriously,” Brinkman notes, a sentiment that underscores the organization’s intent to combat the burnout pervasive in most work settings in the post-pandemic environment. “DAP Health honors all people,” Brinkman maintains, as the organization is “built around respect, admiration, and listening — values that create not only relationships but a community we all want to be a part of.” 

By the Numbers

While burnout is on the rise across demographics, young workers seem especially vulnerable to a trend we might expect to see among those who have been in the workplace for a while. A recent study of 1,000 Gen Z workers conducted by the Mary Christie Institute found that half of respondents had “experienced mental and emotional hardships in the past year.” A closer look at the data showed that 43% of respondents reported anxiety symptoms, while 31% described symptoms consistent with depression. Worst of all? A whopping 53% of the Mary Christie survey respondents reported experiencing significant burnout in the previous year. Without targeted interventions and long-term supports in place, many of those experiencing burnout will join the ranks of the Great Resignation within the next 12 months.

Influence of “Quiet Promotion”

Along with the advance of the Great Resignation, the Quiet Promotion dynamic continues to gain a beachhead in the workplace, leading to greater risk of burnout among those choosing to remain in their jobs. “Quiet Promotion” refers to those tasked with managing more responsibilities in the workplace due to the expansion of employee resignations and absences. 

Human resources guru Matthew Owensby of Aflac notes that employers, as well as employees, feel the pinch of all the turnover, and remain concerned that the personal suffering behind the resignation and promotion trends are here to stay. Owens notes, “A major concern of employee burnout is the impact on their well-being and how it affects engagement and retention.” In fact, an in-house study conducted by Aflac shows that in 2022, “more than half (59%) of American workers are experiencing at least moderate levels of burnout, a notable increase over 2021 (52%) and on par with the levels reported in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Amid his insights on burnout and overall employee health, Owensby notes “employers are looking for new ways to offer benefits that help improve their employees’ mental health balance.” 

For DAP Health, innovation means immediate access to resources and benefits that can address challenges in employee health before they become overwhelming. More about that in a bit. 

Burnout Defined

Burnout is pervasive in the workplace and can sap employee energy and motivation. But what is it, exactly? Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. The phenomenon leaves employees feeling overwhelmed by their work, emotionally drained, and often being unable to meet the demands in their portfolio of responsibility. Unchecked, burnout can spill over into one’s personal life, impacting the quality of relationships, personal health, and the ability to find enjoyment in activities and routines that once offered joy. Perhaps the most vexing aspect of burnout is that it can be slow-moving. The symptoms of burnout may gradually increase over time, until the one impacted is well beyond a place of healthy functioning.

Burnout in Health Care

DAP Health Employee Wellness Specialist Desiree Loredo and People Operations Manager Trish Sisneros understand that people serving in organizations like theirs are especially susceptible to burnout because of all the time invested in patients at various levels of wellness. Coupled with the recent history and lingering impacts of a global pandemic, the daily stress of work in health care can wear down even the most resilient employees. 

Both Loredo and Sisneros agree caregivers seem to be the worst at self-care, a reality that means prevention is not enough. Self-care measures must be continuous, varied, and exciting. One of the assumptions Loredo and Sisneros make in their wellness approach at DAP Health is that it’s okay to be human and not get everything done. 

Inasmuch, Loredo and Sisneros are proponents of mental, physical, and emotional “breathers” for DAP Health staffers, so that these compassionate caregivers will have the stamina and passion to offer ongoing support to those who need care. Further, breathers are just good medicine for everyone. Stepping away from the demands of work from time to time elevates one’s quality of life. 

A Robust Approach to Wellness

For DAP Health employees, the benefits/wellness program continues to cultivate feelings of connection, longing, and value. Along with the typical health, dental, and retirement offerings you might expect from an organization with a large staff, DAP Health also provides a host of wellness perks to employees that underscore ongoing self-care, not just prevention. With the complete support of CEO Brinkman and DAP Health’s board of directors, the benefits/wellness program includes partnerships with local fitness programs, credit unions, and other service providers; access to yoga, massages, and Transcendental Meditation (TM); mobile apps to manage personal wellness options and meditation; provisions for “self-care days” in addition to traditional sick leave; and, among other perks, the ability to use a DAP Health gym. 

Of course, the real strength of DAP Health’s benefits/wellness program is that it is people-focused, not cost-focused. Not too long ago, DAP Health employees participated in an organization-wide survey to measure the impact of burnout and the health of employee/management relationships as related to wellness. Out of this important work, initiatives were put in place that create healthy dialogue among employees and management, while also honoring the importance of employee input in crafting innovative wellness offerings. Employee engagement with Transcendental Meditation is one of DAP Health’s noteworthy innovations.

Meditation for Everyone on the Team

Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, understands the positive impact of meditative practice. “Research shows that a simple meditation practice can reduce stress, prevent stress disorders, and improve cognitive function,” he notes. With more than 50 years of experience teaching TM, Roth sees meditation promoting wellness in a way a traditional medical model cannot. For a DAP Health employee, a 45-minute TM session can potentially lower their body’s level of cortisol, a hormone released as part of the body’s “fight, flight, fear” response to stressful inputs. While pointing out that “stress is destroying workplaces, families, and health,” Roth believes that educating people about the benefits of meditation, and then encouraging them to adopt a meditative practice, will mean better wellness outcomes for many. The data, and the anecdotal evidence offered by DAP Health employees who take advantage of this novel benefit, affirm Roth’s work and assertions about the benefits of meditation. 

Burnout is on the rise. The Great Resignation and Quiet Promotion phenomena are outward, measurable signs of the ways burnout impacts great organizations. Ultimately, however, great workers and the people who love them are the silent sufferers of burnout. Hopefully, novel and robust benefits/wellness programs offered by organizations like DAP Health will turn the tide and bring more joy and passion to the workplace.

A Greener Death

A Greener Death


More and more locals are joining the natural burial movement


Words by David A. Lee • Photos by Shawn O’Connor


With an ever-growing number of people seriously concerned about the current state of the environment, many readily embrace the notion of “going green” in life. They recycle, conserve water, compost, and rideshare, use public transportation, or drive hybrid or electric vehicles. But how many know it’s possible to go green in death?

On its website, the Green Burial Council (GBC) — a organization based in Placerville, California that focuses on alternative burial advocacy and education — defines the term as interment that cares for the dead “with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat.”

“Green burial isn’t necessarily the top option for everybody, and that’s OK,” says GBC Board President Caitlyn Hauke, adding that misconceptions are often what keep people from choosing that path. “Are there going to be grave disturbances from animals? Is there going to be soil contamination from putting bodies [in the ground] without a casket? These are misunderstandings that we need to educate folks on.” 

Indeed. Especially since conventional burials using caskets (made of wood or metal) enclosed inside concrete vaults in a cemetery still account for 35–40% of deaths in the United States today. In the “Disposition Statistics” portion of its website, GBC quotes Mary Woodsen of Cornell University and Greensprings Natural Preserve in Newfield, New York as saying that U.S. burials use approximately “4.3 million gallons embalming fluid (827,060 gallons of which is formaldehyde, methanol, and benzene), 20 million board feet of hardwoods (including rainforest woods), 1.6 million tons of concrete, 17,000 tons of copper and bronze, 64,500 tons of steel, [with] caskets and vaults leaching iron, copper, lead, zinc, and cobalt.”

When one factors in that this age-old custom forces funeral workers to wear personal protection equipment (PPE) to help shield them from toxic and cancer-causing chemicals, it’s obvious there’s nothing ecologically sound about this preference.

Palm Springs’ Wiefels Cremation and Funeral Services Pre-planning Director Kasey Scott offers green burial, along with many other more traditional services, to a wide array of clients. Wiefels owns Joshua Tree Memorial Park in the high desert, which facilitates 100% natural burials. “Which basically means that when you die, there is no embalming, there is no traditional casket, there is no vault,” she says. “Your body is either wrapped in a biodegradable shroud, or a biodegradable casket, and placed directly into the ground. And we hand dig the graves, so it is fully green.”

“Green burial … has the added bonus of being what many cultures have done with their dead for tens of thousands of years,” maintains Caitlin Doughty, a mortician, author, blogger, and influencer whose YouTube web series, “Ask a Mortician,” has almost two million subscribers. The founder of The Order of the Good Death, Doughty is one of the most vocal proponents of reforms to the Western funeral industry. Her trio of books — 2014’s “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory,” 2017’s “From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death,” and 2019’s “Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death” — are all New York Times best-sellers.

The interest in green burials has grown exponentially in the past 10 years, with more and more cemeteries accommodating the practice opening all the time. According to the website of the nonprofit New Hampshire Funeral Resources, Education & Advocacy, there are currently 386 certified green burial cemeteries in the U.S. and Canada.

Also encouraging: The 2022 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Report of The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) states that “60.5% would be interested in exploring green funeral options because of their potential environmental benefits, cost savings, or for some other reason, up from 55.7% in 2021.”

Scott reports that locally, more and more people are investigating this alternative, and that she firmly believes awareness will continue to grow as curiosity about it mounts. 

For now, traditional cremation is by far still the most popular way of caring for human remains in the U.S. The NFDA claims the 2021 American [fire] cremation rate was 60% (and more than 70% in Canada), and is projected to reach 80% by 2035. Although environmentalists concede cremation is “better” than traditional burials, the process for each body nonetheless uses some 30 gallons of fossil fuel per cremation, releasing 140 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and discharging dangerous amounts of mercury into the air if the deceased had mercury tooth fillings.

The greener alkaline hydrolysis (also known as aquamation, or water cremation) has been used since 1888, when it was developed in England to process animal carcasses. It’s been slowly gaining traction as replacement for casket/vault burial or traditional fire cremation. Available now in more than 50% of U.S. states — including all those on the West Coast, and locally in the Palm Springs area — the practice converts soft tissue into salt, amino acids, and sugars, and produces neither carbon emissions nor fossil fuels. The process destroys all DNA and RNA, and at its conclusion, the family receives remains similar to traditional cremation.

After studying the process of human decomposition, Katrina Spade founded Seattle’s Recompose, a company that composts human beings, a process officially known as natural organic reduction. “Microbes break the body and the plant materials down in about a month, cocooned in woodchips and straw,” Spade explains on the “Let’s Visit the Human Compositing Facility” episode of Doughty’s “Ask a Mortician.”

Adds Doughty: “As the body decays into soil, it changes on a molecular level, and pathogens, pharmaceuticals, and chemotherapy drugs are all neutralized in the process, reduced to well below what the EPA considers safe levels. After the 30 days, about one cubic yard of the nutrient-dense soil comes forth from the vessel. The soil is then allowed to cure before it can be used in gardens, forests, or conservation land.”

Natural organic reduction is now available in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, and Vermont, with other states soon to come.

Matt O’Neill and Perri Peltz, director-producers of the popular and groundbreaking (pun unintended but unavoidable) HBO documentary “Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America,” offer myriad other creative ways of dealing with death, some greener than others. They include adding ashes to small concrete “sculptures” that help form artificial aquatic reefs, shooting cremains into space for those who always dreamed of eternity among the stars, and setting a body atop a funeral pyre to be ceremonially incinerated in a celebration of life before family and friends.

Another way to lessen the burden of death on the earth is
organ and/or body donation. DAP Health Manager of Home Care Supportive Services Becky Sandlin, who oversees nurses and social workers who visit patients and clients in their homes, says it’s not uncommon for the topic to come up with those in end-of-life hospice care. “It’s a heartwarming, selfless act to [donate one’s body to science] to help clinicians and
patients alike.” 

Bimonthly magazine MIT Technology Review estimates that, “In the U.S., about 20,000 people or their families donate their bodies to scientific research and education each year. They do it because they want to make their deaths meaningful, or because they’re disenchanted with the traditional death industry.” Unused tissue and remains are cremated and returned to the family, along with information on how the body was purposed to further medical science. 

Since the interest in going green in death shows no sign of slowing down, it’s promising that federal, state, and municipal laws that have historically prevented ecological burial options in the U.S. are continuously being challenged and changed — some after years of effort. As more and more Americans feel the need to leave a smaller footprint on this earth after they
die, green burials will surely prove to be the new interment
of choice.

As far as Scott sees it, the only way for one’s body to be disposed of in precisely the way one wishes is to look ahead. “I understand that people don’t want to talk about dying, or to plan for anything of that nature,” she says. “My job is to educate them as to why pre-planning is important. Then, if they want to move forward, it’s my honor to take care of them.”

2 Men Talking

2 Men Talking


How DAP Health and Amazon came to form their powerful partnership


Words by Daniel Vaillancourt


The burgeoning collaboration between DAP Health and e-commerce, cloud computing, streaming, and AI behemoth Amazon was sparked just over a year ago when two influential leaders engaged in some meaningful conversation.

At the behest of a good pal, Amazon Head of Community Engagement for Southern California David Ambroz agreed to take a tour of DAP Health’s Palm Springs campus led by the nonprofit’s longtime CEO, David Brinkman. While Ambroz was no newcomer to the desert — he once upon a time owned a vacation home here, and has returned frequently to visit friends, showing a particular affinity for hot spots like Joshua Tree and the Salton Sea — his knowledge of the organization founded in 1984 as Desert AIDS Project was peripheral at best. Now he would get an intimate backstage look at all that makes the agency so universally admired.

“I walked onto campus, walked into the clinics, and was just blown away,” says Ambroz, who shares his story of spending his youth first in homelessness, then in foster care, in his recently published memoir, “A Placed Called Home.” “I was a kid who went to free clinics, and they did not look like this. As I walked around, I saw the dignity with which people were treated, which was akin to what you’d expect at the best hospitals. The other thing that struck me was that the whole person was treated. I just thought that was so beautiful. I remember so well, in my own life, having to struggle to find dental care, vision care, just basic primary care. The tour kept unfolding, each new wing unfolding. But the pièce de résistance was when we walked outside, and I casually noted that DAP Health interestingly has an apartment complex abutting its property. And Brinkman said, ‘No. That’s ours.’ I couldn’t believe it.”

At the time of his site visit, Ambroz was very new to Amazon, having spent more than a decade in a similar role at The Walt Disney Company. “I had an incredible run at Disney,” he says. “But when I looked out at the horizon and thought about what is that next step — where can I stretch and learn and grow, and what company is doing the kind of scripting that makes me passionate — there were very few places you could compare to Amazon. I was very excited when the opportunity arose, and I went after it.”

Immediately after meeting Brinkman, Ambroz knew that it was in all parties’ interests for Amazon to support DAP Health. And thus, the company signed on as the presenting sponsor of the 2022 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards. Amazon was back at The Chase this year, at the same level of support, albeit as platinum sponsor (with Eisenhower Health serving as presenting sponsor).

“One of the best methods to support communities is not to come in and dictate solutions, but to find the folks who are doing the great work, or have great ideas, or have achieved great results, and listen and learn, then support,” says Ambroz of the community engagement philosophy he and his employer share. “That’s how I’ve approached my role in the region. Identify organizations and individuals, then see how we fit into that puzzle. Sometimes it’s philanthropy of product. Sometimes it’s volunteerism. Sometimes it’s monetary. Sometimes it’s partnership in hiring.”

Ambroz is supremely thankful that, in Amazon, he has found a safe space to effect change in areas that most matter to him on a personal level. “I was homeless for 12 years, and then I went into foster care,” he says. “Both of those periods in my life were really brutal. And when I think back on the needs my family and I had, one of the things that most haunted me was the constant insecurity surrounding access to food. Every day, food — and shelter — but really food.”

Just some of the other local charitable organizations Ambroz encouraged Amazon to support include Palm Springs Unified School District, College of the Desert, the Cathedral City Boys and Girls Club, FIND Food Bank, and Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino. “We were so proud of our partnership with ‘Feed SoCal,’ which was an employee-driven food drive inside all our facilities in partnership with FIND Food Bank and Feeding America,” he says. “More than 40 of our facilities and retail locations participated. This work struck a chord with our employees who wanted to give back to their communities. That’s one community engagement effort of which I’m particularly proud.”

In Brinkman and DAP Health, Ambroz feels he’s found a someone and a somewhere that share many of his and Amazon’s leadership principles. “This idea of customer obsession and working backward from the needs of your customers into what you must do to deliver those needs,” he stresses. “I was listening to David and thinking, ‘You could be an Amazon executive.’ I was so struck by his insight, ‘How can a person be medically compliant when they’re homeless?’ Boy did that reach into my heart and give it a squeeze.”

Ambroz further describes how he sees DAP Health not just looking around the corner, but around corners, plural, each of which have corners of their own. “I was so struck by that future-thinking mindset,” he continues. “I don’t think it’s usual for a nonprofit to flex that muscle so substantially as they face the immediate needs of the day. And then, for DAP Health to have the full buy-in at all levels of government and the community speaks not just to success, but to diplomacy and engagement, which are other aspects we value tremendously at Amazon.”

As for last year’s The Chase itself, Ambroz remembers having a fantastic time. “We had three gorgeous tables, and volunteers from the Glamazons, our LGBTQ employee affinity group, as ambassadors and escorts. Oh, and I spent way too much at the silent auction!”

Ambroz says that over the last year, as he’s attended other health centers around the country, he’s mentioned DAP Health as a shining example of how to do things right. “The organization has become my north star in terms of doing the good work we hope to do with community engagement,” he says. “So, when David came back and was talking about The Chase for 2023, it was really a no-brainer to get behind this event and this organization. And what I would say is that this platinum sponsorship is one of our biggest investments in the region philanthropically, reflecting commensurately the impact DAP Health makes.” 

And so, Ambroz and Amazon hope to continue their support of DAP Health, especially now that the organization’s acquisition of Borrego Health will see its number of patients served annually swell to more than 120,000, including women and children.

“The hell I went through is nothing we should duplicate in any child in this country or anywhere,” concludes Ambroz. “The fire that forged me should never have been lit, both in the brutality of the homelessness, with a near complete lack of access to health care, and the systemic problems I experienced in the child welfare system. I would say the innate thing we all need to do is close our eyes and imagine a system we’d want to put our own children through, and that’s really what we should work to develop. Together.”

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.

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

DAP Health Celebrates El Día de Los Rey …

DAP Health Celebrates El Día de Los Reyes (Three Kings Day) Early at Revivals Thrift Store in Indio


In many cultures around the world, January 6 (AKA The Epiphany) is considered the day the Three Wise Men finally arrived in Bethlehem to shower newborn Baby Jesus with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Latinos specifically celebrate this day, known to them as El Día de Los Reyes (Three Kings Day), with a plentiful, evening family meal that concludes with a sweet baked bread known as Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings bread) for dessert.

In cultural solidarity with the East Valley community, DAP Health joined families in and around Indio by celebrating El Día de Los Reyes one day early — on January 5, 2023 — from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. at the Indio branch of its Revivals Thrift Stores. While supplies lasted, shoppers who spent $10 or more received a complimentary rosca (valued at $17) from local bakery Panadería y Tortillería Guerrero.

Día de Los Reyes marks the end of the holidays for the Latino community,” says Revivals Indio Store Manager Rosie Escobedo. “In celebrating this warm tradition and giving the gift of roscas, we at DAP Health and Revivals are expressing our appreciation for the Latino community of the East Valley. Without our loyal shoppers — most of whom are Latino — we wouldn’t be doing as well as we are in this location. We’ve been busy from Day One. People are grateful for the quality of our merchandise and for our low prices. We want to show them we’re grateful for them, too.”

“It’s such an honor and pleasure to have been chosen by DAP Health to contribute to this special day of giving back at Revivals,” says Panadería y Tortillería Guerrero Bakery Manager Oscar Guerrero. Run by parents Eutimio and Elva, with the help of Oscar and his sister Lorena, this family affair (located on Highway 111 at Clinton Street) has supplied its loyal customers with tortillas, tostadas, and so much more, all freshly made daily, since 2004.

“Our roscas have a slight orange flavor to them,” continues Guerrero. “Their shape signifies the kings’ crowns, the fruit represents their jewels. Every year, we bake about 1,500. They sell out quickly, straight out of the oven. People wait in line for them, something that makes us very proud and happy.”

More than 400 people turned out for the event, with more than 140 families taking a rosca home, compliments of Revivals and DAP Health.

Consistently voted the best of its kind in the Coachella Valley, Revivals is DAP Health’s chain of thrift/vintage/resale stores, staffed predominantly by volunteers, with outposts in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and Indio. One hundred percent of its profits fund the commitment to health equity espoused by the agency.

“By opening our Sexual Wellness Clinic, as well as our fourth Revivals store, in Indio, in 2022, we at DAP Health have shown our commitment to the health and prosperity of our desert neighbors in the East Valley,” says Director of Retail Dane Koch. “I’m so happy members of the community came out in full force to join our staff and volunteers in celebrating Three Kings Day, a wonderful family tradition that aligns perfectly with the values of our organization.”