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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. 

Amazon Presents The Chase 2022

DAP Health Announces Amazon as Presenting Sponsor of 'The Chase'   

A Fresh Mix of Entertainers will Perform at the Gala

When the 2022 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards 'The Chase' returns as an all in-person event on April 9, outdoors, at the Palm Springs Convention Center it will be generously presented by Amazon. 

Amazon currently employs more than 40,000 community members in the Inland Empire and the Coachella Valley. This donation to DAP Health signals an even deeper engagement with the community, illustrating the company's commitment to being a good neighbor. 

“This is our home” explains David Ambroz, Amazon’s head of community engagement in the Inland Empire, himself a former homeowner in Palm Springs. “We recently toured the DAP Health campus and saw firsthand how the organization was applying the lessons learned from the AIDS crisis to fill the gaps of today’s health care needs. We were impressed by their innovative solutions to provide comprehensive care to residents of the valley.” 

During that tour, Ambroz also recognized an alignment with one of DAP Health’s core values – inclusivity. Amazon’s ability to innovate on behalf of its customers relies on the perspectives and knowledge of people from all backgrounds. 

Amazon believes that building a culture that is welcoming and inclusive is integral to people doing their best work and is essential to what they can achieve as a company.  The company has 13 affinity groups (employee resource groups) with more than 87,000 employees across hundreds of chapters around the world.  

DAP Health CEO, David Brinkman is especially excited to include Amazon’s LGBTQ+ affinity group, the Glamazons as volunteers at the gala. The group became an official part of Amazon in 2005, adding itself to a list that includes other empowering groups. Amazon has a long history in supporting equality, affirming and including LGBTQ+ employees.”We’ve been serving the LGBTQ+ community and welcoming all people. Period. since 1984.” Brinkman says. “We are grateful that the Glamazons want to lend their support to The Chase this year.” 

Los Angeles events company JJLA has been tagged to lead that reinvention focusing on an evening filled with entertainment and experiential activations around the outdoor floorplan.   

“JJLA is thrilled to work with DAP Health in bringing back the acclaimed Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards in an exciting and reimagined new way as 'The Chase'. Guests will be welcomed to a lively cocktail and hors d'oeuvres experience with special photo opportunities before being seated in a multi-stage setting for the awards program. The evening will feature legendary performers and exciting up-and-coming talent sure to leave guests excited and thrilled to be back celebrating at one of the desert community's most iconic events.” says Jeff Consoletti, JJLA Founder, Principal & CEO. 

Attendees of The Chase can expect a fast-paced evening hosted by Michael Urie and featuring performances by Deborah Cox, Max von Essen, Eden Espinosa, Spencer Ludwig, and Seth Rudetksy  

Event host Michael Urie played the role of Marc St. James on “Ugly Betty” and was most recently seen in the Public Theatre’s revival of Tony Kushner’s A Bright Room Called Day, followed by the Broadway premiere of Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons. Prior to that, he starred in the Tony Award-nominated Broadway revival of Harvey Fierstein Torch Song, following his critically acclaimed performance in the off-Broadway production at Second Stage, earning Lucille Lortel Award and Drama League Award nominations. Michael originated the role of Alex More in Jonathan Tolins’ Buyer & Cellar Off-Broadway, on tour, and in London, for which he received the Drama Desk Award, Clarence Derwent Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, LA Drama Critics Award, and nominations for the Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Awards. He has acted in and directed numerous films. 

Max von Essen is a Tony, Drama Desk, and Grammy-nominated singer and actor best known for his role as Henri in the award-winning production of An American in Paris on Broadway. Most recently, he completed a yearlong run in the Broadway production of Anastasia and then toured the country in Lincoln Center Theater's revival of Falsettos. . Max's concert work has brought him across North America, including The Kennedy Center, Birdland Jazz Club, and a recent solo debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops. 

Deborah Cox possesses one of the most powerful and versatile contemporary voices of our time. The Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum R & B/Pop recording artist and actress recently blew the roof off theatres as she starred in the Rachel Marron role originally played by Whitney Houston in the new musical “The Bodyguard”. She made her Broadway debut in the leading role in Elton John and Time Rice’s musical “Aida”, receiving rave reviews.  

Since beginning her career as a background singer for Celine Dion, Deborah has recorded six award-winning and critically acclaimed albums and has written for and been recorded on numerous soundtracks. As with Whitney Houston, Deborah’s first recording contract was with Clive Davis at Arista Records and that self-titled debut album went platinum, earning her an American Music Award nomination. The Canadian-born star has an impressive list of #1 Billboard hit records, including thirteen #1 songs on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart. 

Eden Espinosa is most recognized for her critically acclaimed portrayal of Elphaba in "Wicked" on Broadway and in Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Other credits include originating the title character in "Brooklyn the Musical", Flora in "Flora the Red Menace," and Maureen in the closing company of "Rent" on Broadway. Eden also originated the role of Sadie Thompson in the world premiere of "Rain", at the Old Globe Theater.  

Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s ON BROADWAY as well as the host of SETH SPEAKS on Sirius/XM Stars. As a pianist, Seth has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows including RAGTIME, LES MIZ, and PHANTOM. He was the Artistic Producer/Music Director for the first five annual Actors Fund Fall Concerts including DREAMGIRLS with Audra MacDonald (recorded on Nonesuch Records) and HAIR with Jennifer Hudson (recorded on Ghostlight Records, Grammy Nomination). In 2007 he made his Broadway acting debut playing Sheldon (singing “Magic to Do” in a devastating unitard) in THE RITZ directed by Joe Mantello for The Roundabout Theater.  

Spencer Ludwig is a Latin Grammy-winning and Grammy performing trumpeter, songwriter, producer, and musical director. Since being the original trumpeter in the multi-platinum band Capital Cities, the Los Angeles-born, half-Filipino vocalist-instrumentalist has gone rogue, adding a new dimension of possibility to not only his sonic weapon of choice but to pop music, overall and in 2019 he earned himself a Latin Grammy for co-writing and performing on Fonseca’s album “Agustin”. In 2016 he was signed as a solo artist to Warner Records who released his debut single “Diggy” and launched his career through a global Target campaign.  

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

Co-chairs Kevin Bass, Lauri Kibby, and Scott Nevins are leading a reinvention of the evening promising that "We’re going to gala like never before."   

This year's honorees will reflect the community of volunteers and donors that supported DAP Health during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

“The evening will be fashionable and glamorous as attendees have come to expect, but we want the entire experience to feel new and exciting” explains DAP Health CEO, David Brinkman.  “We’re going to be mission-centric with our program this year, sharing vital information about our plans for the future of health care.”   

Beginning at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 10:00 p.m. the evening will fund the ongoing mission of DAP Health (formerly Desert AIDS Project) and introduce attendees to the organizations' Vision Forward plan to expand its campus to serve more than 25,000 individuals. 

The Need is Great   

Most view and experience the Coachella Valley as a sublime oasis. But for many, that pristine picture is far from reality. Our neighbors—people of color, people living with HIV/AIDS, people living in poverty, and trans individuals, many of whom have yet found their way to DAP Health—wrestle daily here with pain, sadness, and desperation.   

Because a community can only be as strong as its weakest member—as healthy as its sickest—it is crucial that we join forces so that barriers to health and wellness are abolished.    

After all, is it not the duty of those standing tall to lift up those who have fallen?   

How DAP Health is Poised to Help   

Founded in 1984 by a group of community volunteers in the face of the AIDS crisis, DAP Health is an internationally renowned humanitarian healthcare organization. In 2013, the non-profit expanded its scope to care for all marginalized people, regardless of HIV status.   

Our goal is to improve the overall health of our entire community—especially the disenfranchised—by providing culturally competent, quality primary and preventative health care and social services on one campus. These include infectious disease care, dentistry, and programs related to mental health, substance use recovery, and sexual wellness.   

The expertise, infrastructure, reputation, and donor base atop which DAP Health’s considerable success stands was bolstered by our more recent involvement providing for all those devastated in countless ways by the COVID-19 pandemic.    

Thanks to 38 years of caring for people directly and indirectly affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other public health emergencies, we have the physical and intellectual resources, the desire, and—most importantly—the imagination to effect even greater positive change in our beloved Coachella Valley community and beyond.   

The next epidemic has not yet been named. Just as DAP Health met HIV, HEP C, STIs, and COVID head-on, its team of infectious disease specialists stands ready to protect our community’s health and well-being. With 53% of our community not knowing their HIV status because they have never been tested, our commitment to ending the HIV epidemic and caring for individuals living with HIV will never waver.   

DAP Health Rises to Meet Core Challenges Today:   

Comprehensive health care access remains uneven. It’s estimated that 46% of our community lives below the federal poverty level. In communities of color, communities living in poverty, and in the LGBTQIA+ community, DAP Health is removing barriers to care to build a healthier tomorrow.   

The mental health crisis requires an intervention. DAP Health is doubling its capacity to deliver life-saving access to psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists. We know mental health is health, but too many individuals experience shame in asking for the care they need and face challenges when they need it most.   

Addiction is a serious problem that requires a therapeutic solution. Substance use affects the individual and the family that loves them. DAP Health’s patient-centered model of care combines primary care, mental health, outpatient care, and traditional 12-step support groups that meet individuals where they are.   

Housing is health care. The housing and rental market have made shelter unaffordable for too many hard-working individuals. Some 2,300 of our neighbors experience homelessness on any given night. DAP Health is adding 61 additional affordable housing units to its campus, increasing its housing capacity by 75%.   

DAP Health has earned a national reputation as a one-of-a-kind advocacy-based health care organization. With an 11,000-square-mile service area – roughly the size of the state of Massachusetts – some clients travel from as far away as Blythe on the Arizona border, as well as from the cities, towns, and rural areas of San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial Counties.   

DAP serves over 10,000 patients today. By 2025, we will serve 25,000 in our expanded medical, dental, and mental health clinics while bringing our total of on-campus housing units to 141. Every month, over 100 new patients walk through the doors of DAP Health seeking quality and comprehensive health care. Because of YOU, those doors are always open.   

Tradition Meets Health Care Access   

For 28 years, The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards ‘The Chase’ has raised millions of dollars for direct patient services at DAP Health while honoring Humanitarians from all corners of the globe. They are people who radiate compassion – who seem to have been born for a higher purpose. Their ex­ample reminds us that everyone can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Since our very beginning, over 36 years ago, DAP Health has listened to the community we serve and taken its lead in solving tomorrow's challenges. This year’s honorees share DAP Health's vision of health equity and justice. They are people who have led and continue to inspire others.   

With over 15,000 people in need of medical care in our region, DAP Health needs your help today to expand our services. First organized by and named for famed interior designer Steve Chase — also a DAP Health donor, volunteer, and board member — ‘The Chase’ is a highlight of the desert community’s social season! Just a few of the honorees, award presenters, and entertainers in the past years have included Ann-Margret, Annette Bloch, Diahann Carroll, Carol Channing, Kristin Chenoweth, Joan Collins, Melissa Etheridge, Queen Latifah, Andy Linsky, Wynonna Judd, George Hamilton, Tom Hanks, Senator Ted Kennedy, Patti LaBelle, Angela Lansbury, Judith Light, Shirley MacLaine, Bob Mackie, Barry Manilow, Harold Matzner, Liza Minnelli, Prof. Luc Montagnier, Megan Mullally, Pauley Perrette, Debbie Reynolds, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Dionne Warwick   

Your presence at the 28th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, be­yond supporting our honorees, also signals your continued support for DAP Health’s patients and clients. Attendees are humanitarians helping remove roadblocks to access for quality care and supportive services that allow our patients, who are your neighbors and friends, to live their fullest poten­tial.    

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

Supporting Sponsors: Bennion Deville, David Brinkman & Will Grimm, Jeff Consoletti & Rob Czechowicz, Eve Fromberg, Gilead Sciences, Inc, Lauri & Charles Kibby, Scott Nevins & Philip Hodges, Renaissance Palm Springs, Ann Sheffer & Bill Scheffler, Avita Pharmacy, Trina Turk, Walgreens, Western Wind Foundation, White Cross Pharmacy

Benefactor Sponsors: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Karen & Tony Barone, Chill Bar, Coachella Valley Health Personal, Diageo, Living Out - Palm Springs, Pure Health, Revive Wellness

Patron Sponsors: AbbVie, Donald R. Beck, Desert Insurance Solutions, Bill & Virginia Goldberg, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, Janssen Therapeutics, Reaction Marketing & Promotions Inc., Riverside County c/o V Manuel Perez, Jean-Guy Lechance & John Williams

Media Sponsors: CV Independent, Gay Desert Guide, Palm Springs Life, PromoHomo.TV,  The Hollywood Times, The Standard Magazine 

  

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

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

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

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.    

 

 

The Chase 2022 Press Release

DAP HEALTH ANNOUNCES NEW VISION FOR 'THE CHASE' 

 DAP Health announces the 2022 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards 'The Chase' returns as an all in-person event on April 9, outdoors, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. DAP Health is making it safer to come together for this yearly tradition, timing it for some of the season’s most ideal evening weather.  

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

Co-chairs Kevin Bass, Lauri Kibby, and Scott Nevins are leading a reinvention of the evening promising that "We’re going to gala like never before."  

This year's honorees will reflect the community of volunteers and donors that supported DAP Health during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Los Angles events company JJLA has been tagged to lead that reinvention focusing on an evening filled with entertainment and experiential activations around the outdoor floorplan.  

“JJLA is thrilled to work with DAP Health in bringing back the acclaimed Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards in an exciting and reimagined new way as 'The Chase'. Guests will be welcomed to a lively cocktail and hors d'oeuvres experience with special photo opportunities before being seated in a multi-stage setting for the awards program. The evening will feature legendary performers and exciting up-and-coming talent sure to leave guests excited and thrilled to be back celebrating at one of the desert community's most iconic events.” says Jeff Consoletti,  JJLA Founder, Principal & CEO. 

Headline entertainment and the evening’s host will be announced shortly.  

“The evening will be fashionable and glamorous as attendees have come to expect, but we want the entire experience to feel new and exciting” explains DAP Health CEO, David Brinkman.  “We’re going to be mission-centric with our program this year, sharing vital information about our plans for the future of health care.”  

Beginning at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 10:00 p.m. the evening will fund the ongoing mission of DAP Health (formerly Desert AIDS Project) and introduce attendees to the organizations' Vision Forward plan to expand its campus to serve more than 25,000 individuals.  

The Need is Great  

Most view and experience the Coachella Valley as a sublime oasis. But for many, that pristine picture is far from reality. Our neighbors—people of color, people living with HIV/AIDS, people living in poverty, and trans individuals, many of whom have yet found their way to DAP Health—wrestle daily here with pain, sadness, and desperation.  

Because a community can only be as strong as its weakest member—as healthy as its sickest—it is crucial that we join forces so that barriers to health and wellness are abolished.   

After all, is it not the duty of those standing tall to lift up those who have fallen?  

How DAP Health is Poised to Help  

Founded in 1984 by a group of community volunteers in the face of the AIDS crisis, DAP Health is an internationally renowned humanitarian healthcare organization. In 2013, the non-profit expanded its scope to care for all marginalized people, regardless of HIV status.  

Our goal is to improve the overall health of our entire community—especially the disenfranchised—by providing culturally competent, quality primary and preventative health care and social services on one campus. These include infectious disease care, dentistry, and programs related to mental health, substance use recovery, and sexual wellness.  

The expertise, infrastructure, reputation, and donor base atop which DAP Health’s considerable success stands was bolstered by our more recent involvement providing for all those devastated in countless ways by the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Thanks to 38 years of caring for people directly and indirectly affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other public health emergencies, we have the physical and intellectual resources, the desire, and—most importantly—the imagination to effect even greater positive change in our beloved Coachella Valley community and beyond.  

The next epidemic has not yet been named. Just as DAP Health met HIV, HEP C, STIs, and COVID head-on, its team of infectious disease specialists stands ready to protect our community’s health and well-being. With 53% of our community not knowing their HIV status because they have never been tested, our commitment to ending the HIV epidemic and caring for individuals living with HIV will never waver.  

DAP Health Rises to Meet Core Challenges Today:  

Comprehensive health care access remains uneven. It’s estimated that 46% of our community lives below the federal poverty level. In communities of color, communities living in poverty, and in the LGBTQIA+ community, DAP Health is removing barriers to care to build a healthier tomorrow.  

The mental health crisis requires an intervention. DAP Health is doubling its capacity to deliver life-saving access to psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists. We know mental health is health, but too many individuals experience shame in asking for the care they need and face challenges when they need it most.  

Addiction is a serious problem that requires a therapeutic solution. Substance use affects the individual and the family that loves them. DAP Health’s patient-centered model of care combines primary care, mental health, outpatient care, and traditional 12-step support groups that meet individuals where they are.  

Housing is health care. The housing and rental market have made shelter unaffordable for too many hard-working individuals. Some 2,300 of our neighbors experience homelessness on any given night. DAP Health is adding 61 additional affordable housing units to its campus, increasing its housing capacity by 75%.  

DAP Health has earned a national reputation as a one-of-a-kind advocacy-based health care organization. With an 11,000-square-mile service area – roughly the size of the state of Massachusetts – some clients travel from as far away as Blythe on the Arizona border, as well as from the cities, towns, and rural areas of San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial Counties.  

DAP serves over 10,000 patients today. By 2025, we will serve 25,000 in our expanded medical, dental, and mental health clinics while bringing our total of on-campus housing units to 141. Every month, over 100 new patients walk through the doors of DAP Health seeking quality and comprehensive health care. Because of YOU, those doors are always open.  

Tradition Meets Health Care Access  

For 28 years, The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards ‘The Chase’ has raised millions of dollars for direct patient services at DAP Health while honoring Humanitarians from all corners of the globe. They are people who radiate compassion – who seem to have been born for a higher purpose. Their ex­ample reminds us that everyone can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Since our very beginning, over 36 years ago, DAP Health has listened to the community we serve and taken its lead in solving tomorrow's challenges. This year’s honorees share DAP Health's vision of health equity and justice. They are people who have led and continue to inspire others.  

With over 15,000 people in need of medical care in our region, DAP Health needs your help today to expand our services. First organized by and named for famed interior designer Steve Chase — also a DAP Health donor, volunteer, and board member — ‘The Chase’ is a highlight of the desert community’s social season! Just a few of the honorees, award presenters, and entertainers in the past years have included Ann-Margret, Annette Bloch, Diahann Carroll, Carol Channing, Kristin Chenoweth, Joan Collins, Melissa Etheridge, Queen Latifah, Andy Linsky, Wynonna Judd, George Hamilton, Tom Hanks, Senator Ted Kennedy, Patti LaBelle, Angela Lansbury, Judith Light, Shirley MacLaine, Bob Mackie, Barry Manilow, Harold Matzner, Liza Minnelli, Prof. Luc Montagnier, Megan Mullally, Pauley Perrette, Debbie Reynolds, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Dionne Warwick  

Your presence at the 28th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, be­yond supporting our honorees, also signals your continued support for DAP Health’s patients and clients. Attendees are humanitarians helping remove roadblocks to access for quality care and supportive services that allow our patients, who are your neighbors and friends, to live their fullest poten­tial.   

PRODUCING: Eisenhower Health  

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

SUPPORTING: Acqua California Bistro & Lulu California Bistro, Diageo, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Scott Nevins & Philip Hodges, Walgreens         

BENEFACTOR: Revive Wellness      

PATRON: Desert Insurance Solutions, Reaction Marketing & Promotions Inc  

MEDIA: CV Independent, Gay Desert Guide, Palm Springs Life, PromoHomo.TV,  The Hollywood Times, The Standard Magazine  

 

About DAP Health  

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

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

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

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.   

Contact: Steven Henke 

Director of Brand Marketing, DAP Health 

P: 612-310-3047  

E: shenke@daphealth.org 

 

 

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Annette Bloch – The Gift of Giving

Annette Bloch at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards

The Gift of Giving

For the late philanthropist Annette Bloch, sharing her blessings was a way of life 

By Daniel Vaillancourt 

Over the course of writing the show script for the last 11 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards for DAP Health (formerly Desert AIDS Project), I’ve had many encounters with the extraordinary humanitarian Annette Bloch, who passed away of cancer at the age of 94 in her hometown of Kansas City last year. 

The diminutive philanthropic powerhouse spent winter seasons in Palm Springs, first with husband Richard, of H&R Block fame, then later in life — following Richard’s death, also to cancer — with life partner Andrei T. Muresan. Bloch was a quite formidable presence in all corners of our community, attending benefits, volunteering, or dining out with dear friends. 

It’s at DAP Health’s biggest annual gala that I personally basked in her aura, coaching her at rehearsals or bantering backstage during the customarily star-studded show. At soirées such as these, Bloch was perennially coiffed, dressed, and bejeweled to the nines. And she was always a funny, utter joy. 

One evening in particular is forever etched in my mind. It was at the 2018 event, where Bloch was to appear onstage alongside DAP Health CEO David Brinkman to make an astounding gift of three million dollars. Brinkman had asked me if I could escort her into the spotlight. Moments before her name was announced, I turned to her in the dark of the wings and softly asked, “Are you ready?” “I’m ready,” she replied. I took her hand, which was freezing, providing her unique twist on that old “cold hands, warm hearts” adage. “Are you nervous, Annette?” I uttered. “I am,” she whispered back. “I hate speaking in public. But I just love to give!” 

And give she did. That night, long before, and long after. To DAP Health, to other causes and organizations in which she believed, but mostly, of herself to her beloved Andrei, her treasured family, and her dearest friends. 

We’ve asked a handful of them to share their most precious recollections of Bloch, below. 

 

Andrei T. Muresan 

Exercising was an intrinsic part of Annette’s lifestyle and of who she was. So the image that most often comes to mind when I think of Annette is her going to the gym and working out regardless of the weather or her mood. This discipline speaks to the fact that when Annette would commit to something, she would stay true to her commitment no matter what. And her smiling face all throughout the exercise routines — together with her adorable, colorful workout outfits — point to the idea that Annette always found a way to derive enjoyment, to have fun in a commitment. I think “discipline” and “fun” are the two words that would faithfully describe in a succinct manner the essence of Annette’s personality. 

 

David Brinkman 

Annette lived her life committed to the power of positive thinking. No matter the circumstance, she elected to spend more time contemplating the good. When COVID hit, she was grateful to be at home with Andrei, living full-time in the desert and Zooming with her family each and every Sunday. On the hottest days of summer, she’d say, “David, I am so lucky. The bright sun is beautiful, and I’m in the shade reading books on the patio. There is no place I’d rather be than here with Andrei.” While the last years of her life were not filled with the travel and parties she once lived for, she discovered pleasure in the pandemic’s requisite isolation. And through focusing on the positive, irrespective of COVID, she found the exuberant joy and gratitude by which she defined her life.  

 

Mark Adams 

I was always struck by how down-to-earth Annette was. She never forgot her roots in Philadelphia and was always so grateful and appreciative about her good fortune. That’s why she was so generous to others. She would always say, after a gift was announced, or after making some other philanthropic gesture, “I'm just glad I could do it.” She didn't need accolades or applause. She just wanted to help where and when she could. 

 

Kevin Bass  

It was an honor to call Annette Bloch one of my dearest friends. She was kind, sweet, smart, generous, energetic, funny, and one of the most loving people I have ever met. Her positive attitude and joy for life were contagious. I always knew where to find her in a crowd; she was the one surrounded by people — who flocked to her because of her positive energy and love of life, very much like Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind.” The greatest lesson I learned from Annette: surround yourself with positive people. Life is too short for negativity. She was a force!!!! 

 

Carolyn Caldwell 

Annette was one of the kindest and most sincere individuals I’ve ever met. Even though she was a very successful individual, she had the ability to make everyone in her presence seem special. A few of my most special memories of her are when she held my face in her hands and told me that she loved me after I gave her flowers for her birthday. I stressed over what to give to someone who has everything for her birthday. I decided to purchase a very nice floral arrangement for her, and she was so overjoyed that I thought enough of her to buy her flowers. I also remember when she was hosting a dinner for my dear friends David Brinkman and Will Grimm before they were married on a weeknight. I told her that since I worked in Long Beach throughout the week, I really didn’t think I could attend. Once again, she held my face in her hands and said, “It would really mean a lot to David if you were there.” I was able to adjust my schedule in order to attend, seeing it meant so much to her and also wanting to be there for David and Will. However, the most memorable and special thing Annette ever did for my husband Daniel and me was that she and Andrei invited us to their home for dinner. She didn’t cater the meal but instead prepared everything from scratch. Since Daniel and I lived in Kansas City for eight years, we enjoyed a traditional KC BBQ dinner. It was such a lovely evening. I will never forget how she always made Daniel and me feel special. We both miss her terribly. 

 

Jerry Keller 

Annette was a kind, generous person and a wonderful friend! My wife Barbara and she were a formidable team in the charity world. Together, they provided immeasurable support for so many people in need in the Coachella Valley. Most importantly, Annette was a shining example of the joy one can spread as she fully enjoyed her amazing, long-lived life. 

 

Terri Ketover 

An amazing, generous woman, Annette was the most positive person I have ever known and the most devoted, thoughtful friend. Her beautiful smile was a true reflection of her personality and soul. I remember when I became the chair of the 100 Women program of DAP. In the more than five years since its inception, its membership had stalled in the mid-30s. I told Annette that my goal was to grow the group to at least 100, and began soliciting my friends, more than doubling the membership that year but still short of my goal. Annette decided my mission was her mission, and at that year's Steve Chase gala, when she was onstage being honored with the 100 Women Award, she took the opportunity to challenge the women present in the audience to stand and make the $1500 annual commitment to help me reach my goal. Forty women answered Annette’s call that night, raising more than $60,000 and growing the 100 Women ranks to 125! Annette will be remembered with love by all who were fortunate enough to know her and by all of the clients whose lives she impacted through her tremendous support of DAP. 

 

David Zippel 

In addition to being an inspiring philanthropist, Annette was a real-life Auntie Mame. She literally picked up my husband, Michael, and me at a cocktail party about 15 years ago. She said “You’re fun. I like fun people. Let’s spend time together.” And we did, having many adventures and travels with her and her partner Andrei. We all had dinner a few weeks before she passed away. Although she was being treated for cancer, she was having a good day and she was as vivacious, joyful, and upbeat as the day we met. Like we had done many times before, we “closed" the restaurant that night. Annette was an optimist and a fighter to the very end, and a role model of how to grab life with both hands and live it.  

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Brothers of the Desert Empowering Black …

Brothers of the Desert Empowers Black Men and Allies in the Coachella Valley

On Feb. 7, Brothers of the Desert and Let’s Kick ASS will host a free online discussion, “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real – HIV and Black Gay Men.”

When chairperson Tim Vincent and the founders of Brothers of the Desert began their organization, it was a way to ensure black gay men would not feel isolated and have a group where they can bond. And in a short amount of time, Brothers of the Desert has emerged as a force in the Coachella Valley.  

Brothers of the Desert is a nonprofit that provides support for Black gay men and allies in the Coachella Valley through philanthropy, volunteering, mentorship, education, advocacy, and social networking.  

“When we were first meeting, we would go to a restaurant and there would be 10 of us and people would be like, ‘Is there a conference in town?’” Vincent says. 

One New Year’s Eve, they got together, and the group amounted to 20 men, all accomplished in different industries.  

“One person said, ‘This is nice that we are doing this.’ And looking around the room at who is in this group and what we have accomplished in our lives, we have a lot more to give than just socializing, hanging out, and connecting. Why don’t we make this a little more purposeful,” Vincent remembers. 

Since its birth in 2017, Brothers of the Desert has developed two signature events, the Wellness Summit in November, which DAP Health proudly sponsors, and the New Year’s Eve dinner-dance fundraiser. They also award scholarships to students and host a quarterly speaker series that covers topics such as practicing mindfulness, responding to systemic racism, acknowledging microaggression, and mental health and wellness for Black Queer communities.  

On Feb. 7, Brothers of the Desert and Let’s Kick ASS will host a free online discussion, “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real – HIV and Black Gay Men.” The special guest will be Corey Saucier, a Black queer HIV-positive poet, author, and playwright who will share some of his writings and his personal life story of living with HIV.  

The program will provide a retrospective on HIV in the Black Gay Community, updates on infection rates and treatment, testing and support groups, local resources, poetry reading, and music from Dr. Stephan Scoggins.  

“Vincent says Brothers of the Desert is creating a space for link-minded men in the desert, while also respecting the other organizations. Brothers of the Desert wants to be inclusive and supportive of its allies. 

“We want people to know that this is not an anomaly, that we are part of this community, and we are vital to this community,” Vincent says.  

Learn more about Brothers of the Desert by visiting their website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Tas …

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact: The Development Department Inc.

Phone Number:  760-669-3366

PSAMS@devdeptinc.com

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force Launches Capital Campaign During World AIDS Day

November 30, 2021

The Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force is excited to announce that the AIDS Memorial Sculpture is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Palm Springs City Council recently unanimously approved the acceptance of the Sculpture to be placed in the new Downtown City Park. The Task Force has also partnered with DAP Health to provide a dedicated link to enable community members to help fund the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture, visit https://psaidsmemorial.org to donate and for more information.  

“December 1, World AIDS Day was chosen as the launch, as it signifies the remembrance of those we’ve lost to HIV/AIDS and gives renewed hope that one day, the virus will be eradicated. It is our responsibility to remember their lives and to continue to tell their stories, so that they are never forgotten,” said Mike Richey, Co-Chair National AIDS Memorial. “AIDS has affected every community across the world, and it is for this reason that AIDS Memorials should be established to honor & remember those lost.”  

The Task Force’s vision is to provide the AIDS Memorial Sculpture as a gift to the City of Palm Springs and people of the Valley. Internationally acclaimed artist based in the Coachella Valley, Phillip K. Smith, III, has been commissioned to design the memorial, which will provide an opportunity for reflection, remembrance and hope once its placed in the new City of Palm Springs Downtown Park.

“The AIDS Memorial Sculpture will be a touchstone for unity, hope, grief, and healing in the Coachella Valley.  As a monolithic, singular stone sculpture, the carved surfaces will dance with light, shadow, and reflection.  Through rotating grooves cut into the gloss surface as matte marks signifying unity through struggle or the soft curve of undulating forms evoking healing over grief, this is a memorial to be touched, to be felt. It is a timeless, enduring landmark delicately placed on the land. It is heavy, but light -- lifting hope, lifting struggle, and lifting up what is important,” described Phillip K. Smith, III.

The Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Task Force’s mission is to ensure the lives of those lost are never forgotten, and that their stories and lives are remembered into the future.  We also envision an opportunity to use this memorial as a means to educate the public about HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment options available to everyone who seeks information and to help direct individuals to resources available to them throughout the city, and the country.

The goal of the Task Force is to raise the necessary funds to support the creation, installation and ongoing resources to maintain this sculpture for generations to come.  Given the impact that HIV/AIDS has had on our community, we believe there will be great support for securing the necessary funds to make this AIDS Memorial Sculpture a reality. 

To help facilitate that fundraising goal, the Task Force has enlisted Paul Clowers and Ellen Wolf of The Development Department Inc. to lead the project. The Task Force has also partnered with DAP Health to act as the fiscal processing agent for donations which can be made by visiting daphealth.org/aids-memorial-fund. For addition information or donation assistance please contact The Development Department Inc. at PSAMS@DevDeptInc.com, call 760-669-3366, or visit https://psaidsmemorial.org

DAP Health offers free grief group for t …

DAP Health offers free grief group for those who've lost ones they love 

The holiday season is a time of joy, but it can also be a period of stress and anxiety for many of us—and even tinged with sadness if you're unable to spend it with family, or have recently lost someone special.  

Yet according to Dr. Jill Gover, DAP Health's Director of Behavioral Health, it’s normal to feel sad this time of year if someone has recently died. "Don’t pretend to be happy just because it’s the holiday season." 

To help people on their journey through what may be a difficult holiday season for them, DAP Health is offering "Grief’s Courageous Journey: A Bereavement Therapy Group." This free, 10-week program—which begins on December 1—has been designed to process grief and the loss of a loved one. Based on the workbook titled “Grief’s Courageous Journey,” Dr. Gover created a 12-week curriculum seven years ago when she was the Mental Health Director at the Scott Hines Mental Health Clinic @ The Center. "I had found the book was very helpful to grieving patients and I wanted to create a structured treatment protocol that would lend itself to group work," she says. 

The therapy group is limited to a maximum of 12 to 15 people (and can be as small as 6 participants) and is a "closed group," meaning the same people attend each week. "At the beginning, everyone reviews the confidentiality code and is asked not to discuss anything personal about group members outside of the group," says Dr. Gover. "Trust comes from sharing the therapeutic exercises and getting to know each other over time—and because it's a closed group that makes it easier to trust others."  

She goes on to say that, "This is a very specific, evidenced-based structured psycho-educational bereavement group that uses therapeutic exercises to help participants process their grief." So it's unlike regular group therapy which is not focused on a specific topic.  

"The therapeutic exercises help the group participants to identify and acknowledge their feelings, explore any survivor’s guilt, resentment or anger that might be stuffed away, provides opportunity to reflect on all aspects of the death, and then offers ways to move forward," explains Dr. Gover. 

The group will meet in person on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in DAP Health's Behavioral Health Clinic. For more information, or to enroll, contact Ian Struthers, LCSW at 760-323-2118, extension 408. 

If you're unable to participate in the group, try to remember that the holidays don't have to be perfect. Dr. Gover has pointed out that it's vital to recognize that others are also experiencing holiday stress and depression. "I think it’s really important to be kind to yourself, reassess, and let go of perfectionistic, unrealistic expectations, and perhaps establish new rituals for the holidays this year that reflect who you are now." 

2021 Desert AIDS Walk reaches new milest …

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


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2, 2021

2021 Desert AIDS Walk reaches new milestone, surpassing the $400,000 mark

FUNDS FROM THE OCTOBER 30 EVENT WILL GO TOWARDS COMPREHENSIVE CARE AT DAP HEALTH

PALM SPRINGS, CA –   The 2021 Desert AIDS Walk returned for its first in-person event since before the pandemic, and the community donated in record numbers with $400,786.24, which all goes to support DAP Health and the vital services it provides the community.

The previous record was $350,000, which was the event’s goal for this year.

“The community came together again and blew our previous record out of the water,” says Darrell L. Tucci, Chief Development & Strategy Officer at DAP Health. “To see the community come together at the very beginning of the program for the first time in 20 months was deeply moving. I had tears streaming down my face. It was really beautiful to see.”

It was DAP Health’s first in-person event since the 2019 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards. The 2020 Desert AIDS Walk went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tucci said it’s a testament to the community, as well as the DAP Health teams – marketing, development and volunteer coordinators, who were “the backbone on the staff side leading the event.” With the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemics being felt economically in communities across the country, Tucci said he wasn’t sure how fundraising for the walk would turn out.

This year’s event had 594 registered walkers, 71 teams and 1,836 donors. The average gift was $112.94.

The top fundraiser this year was DAP Health Board Chair Patrick Jordan, who raised $15,100 to lead individual fundraisers and his PS Properties team raised $41,710 to lead all teams.

“My passion is making sure that people in our community lead healthy lives. So whether that's somebody living and managing themselves with HIV, whether that's somebody that needs behavioral health counseling, whether that's somebody that needs food assistance, whatever it might be,” Jordan said. “I think we all have a responsibility in my eyes to care of humankind and take care of one another. And so that is what drives my passion.”

Jordan also points out that telling donors that 100 percent of the funds they raised would go directly to DAP Health programs was an incentive as the event was underwritten by the sponsors. Tucci points out that the sponsors, such as Desert Care Network and Walgreen’s, helped generate over $100,000 this year, also a record.

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

The annual Desert AIDS Walk helps fund the vital work of DAP Health, previously Desert AIDS Project, an advocacy-based health care organization that provides service to more than 10,000 individuals.

“The fight to end HIV and address health inequities is far from over and we are in this together,” said C.J. Tobe, the Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness. “The funds raised through the Desert AIDS Walk this year is a major win for the community.”

This year marks 40 years of HIV with the first reported cases about what would become known as HIV and AIDS published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

DAP Health CEO and President David Brinkman says, “AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response. It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help. And as we have learned through our recent human rights and health equity movements, equality cannot be experienced by one until it is experienced by all.”

About DAP Health

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

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

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

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.

Revivals Back Alley Event 2021 Shines a …

Revivals Back Alley Event 2021 Shines a Light on Leather Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Volunteers Make the Difference

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

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

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

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

Saving Best Inventory for Back Alley Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More freedom this year to socialize

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

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

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

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

Charitable PSLOD Helps Members Honor True Selves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Revivals

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

About DAP Health

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

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

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

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.     

Transgender Night of Empowerment Strengt …

Transgender Night of Empowerment Strengthened Community Bonds

By Leighton Ginn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2021 Desert AIDS Walk returns to Ruth Hardy Park!

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

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