Making an Impact
BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR DAP HEALTH OFFERS TO PROSPECTIVE DONORS
Words by Rory Taylor
In 2021, Desert AIDS Project rebranded itself as DAP Health, a broader name to match a broader mission. “We’ve upgraded our services to include primary care and so much more,” says Director of Development James Lindquist. “You can now get mental health care, food, clothing — all these other services. These changes coincided with COVID-19-related interruptions in other fundraising efforts, so a novel approach was needed to connect partners to the expanded mission.”
In June of 2021, the IMPACT Hour — a facility tour for prospective donors that features behind-the-scenes spaces alongside testimonials — was introduced. The visit is intended to inform and to forge connections, rather than to ask for donations.
Entering the Annette Bloch CARE Building, DAP Health’s diversity of care immediately becomes visible in the several clinics within the structure, each named for a color corresponding to chakras: yellow for the solar plexus, green for the heart, blue for the throat, purple for the mind, and orange for the sacral region. Lindquist says this was done to promote privacy and dignity for patients and clients, and to avoid creating shame and stigma.
“You can go to any primary care physician for your services at any of our clinics,” Lindquist continues. “If you go to the reception desk, you say, ‘I have an appointment in the Green Clinic,’ and they will direct you there. They’re not gonna know you’re here because of ‘X.’”
The tour consists of three primary stops, or “buckets,” focusing on ending epidemics, health equity, and mental health and addiction services. Each bucket features a storyteller — an employee, patient, or client — who helps demystify more of the organization’s operations and reach, following a “myth, fact, gap, need” framework.
“With ending epidemics, we talk about a myth where people believe they’re not susceptible to infectious disease,” says Lindquist. “The fact of the matter is that everybody can get infected by something. COVID, HIV, mpox. Plus, in the Coachella Valley, 15% of people between the ages of 16 and 94 don’t have insurance, compared to the state average of 10%.”
One IMPACT Hour storyteller is LaWanda Manigo, a patient and client at DAP Health who challenges stereotypes about what is broadly perceived as queer health issues. “DAP Health is not just for what some people would typically believe would be [gay] white males,” says Manigo. “I’m letting everybody know there’s other options.”
Meeting guests in the Blue Clinic, Manigo shares how living with HIV as a straight, Black woman impacts quality of life, and how a little education goes a long way. “They have educated me about my diseases, about my health, and have just made me, overall, a better person and a more informed patient, so that I can be more proactive and take a firmer stand in my own health care,” she says. “And that’s a benefit that’s gonna last me the rest of my life.”
That education comes not only in patient-practitioner relationships, but also through learning seminars with pharmaceutical representatives, group wellness programs, and social groups covering everything from cutting-edge HIV treatment and diabetes prevention to knitting and dog walking.
At the core of the clinic cluster is the bullpen — the first tour stop, and one that exemplifies the broader mission DAP Health has taken on. “All the providers you have at DAP Health get together in the morning before your visit to discuss your case in what they call the bullpen,” says Manigo. “Everybody is touching base, so they get an overall view of what you’re dealing with as a complete person.” Lindquist echoes the great value found in holistic care. “I think a lot of times in our health care, you just get parts of people, you get fractions,” he says. “If you’re getting your primary care at one facility, but then you’re getting your dental somewhere else and you’re taking care of your sexual wellness somewhere else, and you’re getting your therapist somewhere else — that’s four places I’ve just named! And how many of those typically will be talking to each other?”
The IMPACT Hour tours normally happen every second Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Invitations are made by staff and current donors.
For more information, please contact Director of Development James Lindquist at JLindquist@DAPHealth.org or at 760.656.8413.