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DAP Health Invites Prospective Donors To …

DAP Health Invites Prospective Donors To Go Behind the Scenes

In June of 2021, DAP Health’s IMPACT Hour — a facility tour granted to prospective donors that not only gives glimpses of behind-the-scenes spaces but offers patient testimonials — was introduced. The visit, to which attendees are invited by a current benefactor or staff member, is intended to inform and to forge connections, rather than to solicit donations.  

Typically held every second Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., each IMPACT Hour usually brings anywhere from six to a dozen newcomers to the fold. CEO David Brinkman normally kicks off the informal gathering that begins at the heart of the Annette Bloch CARE Building, and Director of Development James Lindquist accompanies the group throughout the journey. 

Each of DAP Health’s color-coded clinics, which correspond to the human chakras — yellow for the solar plexus, green for the heart, blue for the throat, purple for the mind, and orange for the sacral region — is viewed, as is “the bullpen,” command central where various medical professionals convene to discuss different aspects of their patients’ holistic care. 

The excursion 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 or patient — who shares more about the organization’s operations and reach, following a “myth, fact, gap, need” framework.  

“With ending epidemics, we talk about the myth where people believe they’re not susceptible to infectious disease,” offers Lindquist. “The fact of the matter is, everybody can get infected by something.” 

The IMPACT Hour — which literally last for 60 minutes or less — customarily ends in the Barbara Keller LOVE Building’s Marc Byrd Behavioral Health Clinic reception area, where a patient will share how DAP Health has changed their lives for the better. More often than not, more than a few tears are shared by those who listen attentively to the speaker’s tale. In fact, even friends of DAP Health who have long supported the agency are left deeply impressed at having witnessed not only clinical areas, but living and breathing stories, all of which are rarely revealed to members of the general public. 

The truth is, only once one steps inside DAP Health’s expansive campus — and hears from some of its patients — can one really get a sense of the scope of work that goes on inside its walls at the corner of North Sunrise Way and East Vista Chino. 

Whether you are a current DAP Health donor who would like to arrange for a handful of your friends to attend a future IMPACT Hour alongside you — or a curious newcomer whose appetite has been whetted to learn more about all the programs and services the non-profit provides — please contact Director of Development James Lindquist at jlindquist@daphealth.org or at 760.656.8413. 

DAP Health Thrives on Community Collabs

DAP Health Thrives on Community Collaboration

No individual is an island. There’s strength in numbers. That’s what friends are for.

These maxims don’t just hold true for human beings, but for organizations as well. That’s why DAP Health is so deeply committed to collaborating with other local non-profits, as it did with Brothers of the Desert for its Desert AIDS Walks last October, with the Riverside County Department of Public Health at its Pride Pavilion in November, and with Presenting Sponsor Eisenhower Health at its upcoming annual benefit gala The Chase (AKA The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards) on March 25.

DAP Health’s most recent collab is between the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert (thecentercv.org) and Revivals Thrift Stores (revivalsstores.com). The Center, plus all four resale retail locations (Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and Indio) are currently welcoming donations of pre-loved red wear and red accessories as they ramp up toward the big Red Sale event, to be held only at the Palm Springs Revivals Thrift Store on Friday, February 24 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Anyone who has attended the Center’s annual Red Dress Dress Red benefit knows that — alongside The Chase — it’s one of the hottest tickets on the desert’s social calendar. Regular revelers of that cherry-colored soirée also probably have enough dresses, skirts, tutus, gowns, frilly frocks, uniforms, gear, jackets, pants, hats, shoes, belts, ties, purses, and costume jewelry to style the entire current cast of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” All red-hued items are graciously being accepted so that other partygoers may benefit from the recycled couture and accouterments. Who knew that by donating red, one could actually go green?

Drop-offs can be made during regular business hours at the Center (1301 North Palm Canyon Drive) or at any Revivals locations, no later than Thursday, February 23. Bequeathed merchandise will then be consolidated at the Palm Springs Revivals outpost on the day of the Red Sale event.

Seriously — why would one hang on to garb in which one has already been seen? And don’t just drop off your claret, cardinal, and carmine trappings and trimmings — come back to shop for yourself at Revivals Palm Springs on February 24. Who knows? You might just find your fabulous 2023 Red Dress Dress Red ensemble. Monies raised at the Red Sale will be shared between the Center and Revivals.

“No good work can be accomplished in a vacuum,” says Center Membership Manager Charles Huff. “Assisting, lifting, and partnering with others is paramount to the word ‘community.’ When we had the idea to have people donate their previous Red Dress Dress Red wardrobe, the natural choice was Revivals, due to DAP Health and the Center’s collaborative relationship. We’re very happy another first can be accomplished between our agencies.”

“DAP Health takes every opportunity to partner with other local non-profits for the benefit of everyone in the community, and the same can be said for Revivals,” adds Director of Retail Dane Koch, explaining that in addition to joining forces with Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert on its popular Revivals After Dark affair, the brand has teamed up with the likes of Sanctuary House, Martha’s Village & Kitchen, the Salvation Army, Mizell Center, and Angel View. “It is the Palm Springs Revivals store’s great pleasure to host the Red Sale event in tandem with the Center. May an endless sea of ruby, scarlet, and crimson flow out our doors that evening.”

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.”

DAP Health Rounds Out Its Fundraising Te …

DAP Health Rounds Out Its Fundraising Team 

 As seen in Desert Charities News 

 

With two new hires, DAP Health enriches its development department just in time for the Coachella Valley’s season of giving.  

Chief Development Officer Cortney Weir joins the advocacy-based non-profit after nearly 30 years at such organizations as the American Heart Association, the Arthritis Foundation, Best Buddies, and most recently, the California Southland Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. 

For his newly created role, Assistant Chief of Philanthropy and Presidential Priorities Chris Boone recently relocated to Palm Springs from Los Angeles. Boone comes to DAP Health having spent time at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Los Angeles Youth Network, The People Concern, and most recently, the National Parks Conservation Association. 

“Removing barriers to care requires financial resources, which requires hiring top fundraising talent,” says DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “Cortney and Chris are the best of the best in the field of philanthropy. Together, I have no doubt we will fulfill our mission to bring wellness to our valley by providing health equity to all.” 

Neither Weir nor Boone are new to the desert. 

In 1984, at the age of 18, Weir moved from her native San Francisco to Palm Desert, where she and her roommate were the only two women living in a 10-unit apartment complex inhabited by gay male couples of various ages. “Those dear men really took me and Elizabeth under their wings,” says Weir. “I remember we couldn’t afford a Christmas tree, and suddenly, a Christmas tree appeared. If we were dating young men we should not be dating, they would chase them off. Whatever we needed, they would provide.”  

When those same men became sick within a year, it was Cortney and her roommate’s turn to provide for them, going so far as to drive them to appointments at the original, tiny Vella Road offices of Desert AIDS Project, as DAP Health was formerly known. 

“I remember taking people to the hospital and having them be turned away because they were living with HIV/AIDS,” Weir recalls. “I remember calling their mothers to say, ‘Your son is dying,’ and having them reply, ‘My son died for me a long time ago.’ I was in shock. My mother would have crawled over broken glass for me — and she was with me many times when one of my friends was incoherently calling for his mom. She’d hold their hand and say, ‘I’m here, honey. I’m here.’  Back then, the only comfort we had was one another and Desert AIDS Project. For me, coming to DAP Health is coming home.” 

Born and raised in Seattle, Boone has been a longtime visitor to Palm Springs. Speaking to his role and to DAP Health’s purpose, Boone — who served as a board member of the Human Rights Campaign for six years — says, “It was honestly a unicorn of an opportunity. To be able to take what I’ve learned at other organizations I’ve worked at or volunteered with and apply it to a mission I’m so passionate about was very appealing.” 

While Weir wasn’t looking to leave her previous employer, all it took was a campus tour led by Brinkman to convince her. “David is an impressive leader and visionary,” she says. “He’s so good at painting a picture of where he wants to go — what’s been achieved, what’s possible. And he’s right here! There’s nobody he has to answer to in Chicago, Miami, or wherever. Trust me, I asked around. Everyone said, ‘Seriously, DAP Health and David Brinkman are the real deal.’” 

Boone will focus on DAP Health’s major benefactors. “David saw the need for someone to specifically do this work,” he says. “My biggest task, but an opportunity I relish, is getting to know the organization’s dedicated donors — their passion and personal story that bring them to support the organization. There are so many generous people in the desert. Some are currently supporters, but many we still need to meet and introduce to our work.”  

For Weir, the biggest hurdle is time. “I can be an impatient person,” she says with a chuckle. “I want everybody to know — now! — that while we remain very respectful to the history of this organization, what it’s meant to the community, and whom we’ve served, the impact we can have on an even larger group of community members is very real. Donors are going to be very interested in what we’re building over here at DAP Health. Once we’re done with the next phase of our growth, people are simply going to be blown away.” 

A Moment with Revivals Donor and Shopper …

A Moment With Revivals Donor and Shopper Ann Sheffer 

Ann Sheffer is committed to getting involved in her community in as many ways as possible. From 2015 to 2021, Sheffer — who with husband Bill Scheffler has called the desert home for 15 years — served on DAP Health’s all-volunteer board of directors, also co-chairing the organization’s 100 Women donor group and annual Everyday Heroes event, which honors DAP Health’s devoted core of volunteers. 

Chair of the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission also from 2015 to 2021, Sheffer is currently a member of the task force overseeing the upcoming Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture, to be created by esteemed artist Phillip K. Smith III and placed in the city’s Downtown Park. 

Sheffer continues to be a stalwart DAP Health supporter. Most recently, that patronage took the form of a large and varied donation to the Palm Springs Revivals location. Below, the humanitarian activist talks about why she gives to the award-winning resale store, and why others should follow her lead. 

 

How did you first hear of Revivals? 

Well, this amazing retail space is clearly beloved in the community, so I surely heard of it fairly soon after Bill and I moved here. But I didn’t really appreciate how much money it generates for DAP Health until I was on the board. It’s quite extraordinary. 

 

How long have you been a Revivals donor, handing over your pre-loved items so they can be re-loved? 

Certainly since I was a board member, but probably even before that. I remember once packing up a suitcase full of clothing and donating all of it — including the suitcase! I especially like what my dear friend, the late Barbara Keller, once said. When she would buy something new, she would take something old out of her closet and put it in a pile to donate to Revivals. Barbara was my role model and such an inspiration. She was the president of DAP Health’s board when I joined, and she and I — alongside our friend Terri Ketover — were committed to increasing DAP Health’s outreach to women, as clients and donors. Giving to Revivals is the perfect way to achieve this.  

 

Tell me about your most recent donation to the Palm Springs store. 

After not going to many events during COVID, I realized that I had literally dozens of gala outfits, costume jewelry, and uniquely Palm Springs purses in fun shapes such as flamingos, cosmopolitan cocktails, popcorn containers, and the like. Bill and I also had everyday clothing that had been hardly worn, not to mention kitchen appliances, games, and several hundred books. 

 

Why do you think Revivals is especially deserving? 

Because of the work DAP Health does. It really is one of the most well-thought-out and best-run organizations in the desert. CEO David Brinkman has a vision, and as board members, we were just there to make it happen. There are many ways the agency raises money, but Revivals seems like the perfect kind of fit to what DAP Health does. It’s good for the people who make donations, and for the people who can come buy great things at reasonable prices. You give, but you also take back a lot of satisfaction from having been part of it. 

 

You’re also a Revivals shopper? 

Absolutely. It’s such a great collection of stuff! The other day, when I made my drop-off, [DAP Health Director of Brand Marketing] Steven Henke took me into the back room, where some people were repairing jewelry and electronics while others were sorting books. It’s like Santa’s Workshop. There’s always a constant flow of donations to all four stores — in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and now Indio — so the volunteers and staff have to keep processing so many things. If you compare Revivals to other resale stores, there’s no question it just has so much more pizzazz and style. 

 

You would no doubt strongly encourage your fellow desert dwellers to follow your example and donate. 

Again, absolutely. Palm Springs is a very generous, compassionate community on many levels. But we also like to have fun while raising funds — at events such as DAP Health’s The Chase or the upcoming Palm Springs Film Awards gala. Donating to Revivals is a way to recycle outfits while also benefiting those in need. The best example of this “circle of life” is the time someone — I’ll never say who — showed up at a DAP Health event wearing a very colorful, elegant outfit I’d donated to Revivals. That brought such a big smile to my face. 

Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SA …

MANAGING SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD) 

Words by Ellen Bluestein 

For most people, seasonal affective disorder — commonly known as SAD — starts in the fall and continues well into the winter months. “It saps your energy and makes you feel kind of low, moody, and depressed,” explains DAP Health Behavioral Health Director Dr. Jill Gover, affectionately known on campus as Dr. G. “And then those symptoms will resolve themselves in the spring and summer months.” While the exact cause of SAD is unknown, “It’s very likely that it’s connected to a drop in serotonin,” says Dr. Gover. “When we go into the winter months, we have less light. Sunlight produces serotonin. When we have drops in serotonin, it can trigger depression.” 

Additional symptoms of SAD include sleeping too much and having intense carbohydrate cravings. “When we crave carbohydrates, we’re usually low in serotonin in our brain chemistry,” Dr. G. says. “And if we eat a really high-carb diet, it often involves some kind of weight gain, which can exacerbate the depressed feelings.” There can also be difficulty concentrating, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, low energy, oftentimes guilt, and even suicidal ideation. “When you have this winter depression, as it’s sometimes called, and just a kind of overall malaise, it’s important to seek professional help,” adds Dr. G. 

According to Dr. Gover, the first line of treatment is daily exposure to light within the first hour of waking up. “Natural outdoor light appears to change your brain chemistry,” she says. “It produces serotonin.” The doctor also recommends making your environment sunnier and brighter. “Open the blinds and trim back trees to get more sunlight into your home,” she says. “Get outside, take a long walk. Simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on a cold or cloudy day, outdoor light is very helpful. That early light is very important.” 

Exercising regularly also helps by producing serotonin as well as dopamine, the neurochemicals needed to feel good. “And it’s important to normalize sleep patterns,” Dr. G. affirms. “Go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. And don’t nap!” 

With the sun shining 354 days a year on average in Palm Springs, SAD is not as prevalent here as in other parts of the country. However, for those who experience that mood shift every fall, DAP Health can help. “We offer behavioral health services and any one of our licensed clinicians can provide excellent treatment,” Dr. Gover emphasizes. One of the most effective treatments for SAD is phototherapy, which involves sitting in front of a special light box. “We have psychotherapy, we have medication management, and we can assist patients in locating a light box and give them criteria to identify high-quality products so they can also engage in light therapy.” 

Dr. G.’s warning: “Winter depression can definitely become very serious and really interfere with the quality of your life. If anybody is struggling, if they are experiencing any symptoms, then I encourage them to seek therapy.” 

DAP Health Joins Millions Around the Glo …

DAP Health and the Palm Springs Community Join Millions Around the Globe to Mark World AIDS Day 2022 

Words by Daniel Vaillancourt 

 

On Thursday, December 1, millions of concerned men, women, and children around the globe will make a special observance of World AIDS Day. Its theme for 2022 is “Equalize.”  

But here at DAP Health — for the last 38 years, 365 days per — we’ve made it our mission to advocate and equalize, to remember all those whom we’ve lost, to manifest our commitment to those currently living and aging well with HIV — and most importantly, to help end the epidemic once and for all. 

So far in 2022, we have:

  • Administered 3,902 free HIV tests at our Sexual Wellness Clinics in Palm Springs and Indio, and through our mobile clinic. 
  • Distributed 793 free self-HIV tests for home use. 
  • Enrolled 80 patients in our Rapid StART Program, whereby each received two free HIV-related medical visits plus treatment regimens. 

DAP Health also continues to provide free access to both Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to those who request it. 

Thriving with HIV is more than seeing a doctor and taking medication to become undetectable, therefore making HIV untransmissible,” says DAP Health Director of Community Health & Sexual Wellness CJ Tobe. “It’s all aspects of what leads to a person attending their first medical appointment and addressing the negative social determinants of health so that person remains in medical care.  

Regardless of the barriers preventing one from knowing their HIV status or seeking care upon HIV diagnosis, DAP Health works tirelessly to remove those barriers to improve the patient's access, not only to free testing but to our Rapid StART Program at both of our wellness clinics, in Palm Springs and Indio. The first two visits are free, and we also provide transportation assistance (via Lyft, gas cards, and bus passes), food vouchers, TracFones, behavioral health and substance use support, and more.” 

By the Numbers 

According to the most recent statistics (2020) available from the Riverside HIV/STD Program of the Riverside University Health System, there are currently “6,820 people reported to be living with HIV in east Riverside County [AKA, the Coachella Valley, which includes Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Thousand Palms, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indio, Coachella, La Quinta, Thermal, Mecca, and Blythe]. The prevalence rate of PLWH [people living with HIV] in Palm Springs (7,535.2 per 100,000) is over 21 times higher than California overall … and two thirds of PLWH in Riverside County reside in east Riverside County.” 

Furthermore, per the World Health Organization (WHO), “The global HIV response is in danger, even as HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Over the last few years, progress toward HIV goals has stalled, resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are at risk as a result. Division, disparity, and disregard for human rights are among the failures that allowed HIV to become and remain a global health crisis.  

“On 1 December WHO joins partners to commemorate World AIDS Day 2022, under the theme ‘Equalize.’ WHO is calling on global leaders and citizens to boldly recognize and address the inequalities which are holding back progress in ending AIDS; and equalize access to essential HIV services particularly for children and key populations and their partners — men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs, sex workers, and prisoners.” 

Globally, it is estimated that some 38 million people are living with HIV today. Since 1984 — the year DAP Health (formerly Desert AIDS Project) was founded — more than 35 million men, women, and children have died of HIV or AIDS-related illnesses, making this health crisis one of the costliest in history. 

Again according to WHO, “To reach the new proposed global 95–95–95 targets set by UNAIDS, we will need to redouble our efforts to avoid the worst-case scenario of 7.7 million HIV-related deaths over the next 10 years, increasing HIV infections due to HIV service disruptions during COVID-19, and the slowing public health response to HIV.” 

If you feel compelled to act on World AIDS Day, get tested, wear a red ribbon, and talk about HIV/AIDS to anyone who will listen. And of course, please consider donating as generously as you can to DAP Health.  

On December 1, all of us must join the huge-hearted men, women, and children on our planet who commemorate World AIDS Day. But there will be no need for we at DAP Health to roll up our sleeves and continue our great work in this great fight.  

Why not? 

Because we’ve simply never stopped. Nor will we, until the HIV/AIDS epidemic is truly history. 

DAP Health Keeps Transgender People Safe …

DAP Health Keeps Transgender People Safe and Healthy 

Words by Charles Sanchez 

November 13-19 marked Transgender Awareness Week, a time to celebrate, raise awareness on behalf of, and uplift the transgender community. The annual observance ended with the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) on November 20. However, DAP Health’s firm commitment to the rights — and health — of transgender people is year-round. 

DAP Health Senior Nurse Practitioner Anthony Velasco is a champion for transgender people and gender-affirming health care. “As a queer person myself,” they said, “I think I’m quite sensitive to the needs of very queer, very diverse people.”  

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation estimates there are 2 million transgender people in the United States. The term transgender — or trans — is an umbrella that includes not only trans women and men, but people who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, gender-diverse, agender, bigender, or other descriptions that reflect personal experience and choice.  

The 2015 United States Transgender Survey, which surveyed more than 27,000 trans adults nationwide, found that trans people experience many health disparities when compared to heterosexual, cisgender people. These disparities include not only lapses in primary care, but also in gender-specific, sexual, and mental health. For example, statistically, trans people (especially trans women of color) face an increased risk of HIV infection, while trans men are less likely to undergo preventive cancer screenings. Yet many in the trans community don’t seek basic health care due to past negative encounters with medical providers. These includes being denied care or suffering verbal abuse and even sexual harassment.  

Although Palm Springs is known to be very LGBTQ+ friendly, Velasco said there are still occasions when local trans individuals have been mistreated when seeking care. “I remember having a client tell me they’d been to other clinicians in the past, whether here in the Coachella Valley or in the surrounding areas, where their gender identity was not accepted, or where providers refused to give them the medications or treatments they deserved,” they said. Some clients have intimated they were physically assaulted while waiting for a bus to the clinic, while others drive as much as three hours to receive the gender-affirming care DAP Health provides.  

The organization has long been committed to caring for its trans clients with professionalism and respect. “The things we’re doing to address the needs of our transgender community is multi-level,” Velasco said, adding it starts with creating safe spaces for all clients. “This includes making sure what we have on our website or on our buildings is representative of the people we serve.”  

DAP Health also provides space on electronic medical records and forms that allows trans people to use their chosen names and pronouns. “We put our pronouns on our own IDs and email signatures,” Velasco pointed out, “and use our pronouns when introducing ourselves. We really make every effort to normalize this, whether we’re talking to someone who’s expressing a different gender identity or somebody who’s a cis person. Things like this need to apply to everybody. Finally, we’re making sure we’re providing new employee orientation and annual training for all our staff and volunteers.” 

Clinicians at DAP Health also attend trainings provided by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), an international non-profit dedicated to promoting evidence-based care, education, research, public policy, and respect in transgender health. “We’re trying to get all our clinicians WPATH certified,” Velasco stressed, “to make sure we really care for our patients in the right way.” 

Additionally, DAP Health collaborates with other community organizations to further support trans clients. “We have a very good relationship with a trans-led organization called Queer Works,” Velasco said. “They provide free mental health care and free housing assistance for gender-diverse folks.” 

DAP Health also has alliances with the Transgender Health and Wellness Center, the Transgender Community Coalition, and the LGBT Center of the Desert so as to create a veritable framework of support to improve the well-being of the community in general.  

“I think all of us have the responsibility to make all of our environments more affirmative,” Velasco concluded. “DAP Health has been working really hard to open its doors wider and to ensure it provides better care for all its patients. Not just for people living with HIV, but for anybody who is systemically or has historically been minoritized or marginalized. And that includes transgender and gender-diverse people.” 

WELCOMING WELLNESS AT PALM SPRINGS PRIDE

WELCOMING WELLNESS AT PALM SPRINGS PRIDE 

Words by Ellen Bluestein 

DAP Health had an elevated presence at this year’s Pride weekend. Held November 3-5, 2022, attendees at the annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community were introduced to the extensive programs and services offered by the organization and its partners. In fact, DAP Health’s entire participation in Pride was predicated on showcasing the breadth of its healthcare services to the public. “DAP Health is opening the aperture a little bit wider to the community's understanding that DAP Health is healthcare,” said Steven Henke, DAP Health director of brand marketing. 

“The weekend was a huge success,” Henke continued. “This was the first time DAP Health created a comprehensive pavilion space that invited the community into wellness.” The pavilion offered free programs throughout the weekend that covered a wide range of topics, from yoga and speed friending to sexual wellness and recovery, incorporating panel discussions and conversations with partner organizations including Planned Parenthood, Queer Works, Brothers of the Desert, and the L-Fund.   

The pavilion was a community effort. “We couldn't have done it without the people who volunteered to be on the panels and lead yoga and to do all those things,” said Henke. “It was remarkable. We had an opportunity to have a lot of meaningful conversations that taught us some important truths during Pride, and it speaks volumes about the talent and the commitment of the DAP Health employees who were willing to donate their weekend and the weeks leading up to the event to create this beautiful expression of Pride.” 

In addition, DAP Health’s community health team distributed over 800 life-saving fentanyl testing strips, 17 doses of Narcan (the nasal inhalant that reverses opioid overdoses), and 45 HIV self-test kits. The mobile clinic conducted 22 STI tests, while community partner Riverside County Department of Public Health administered 500 MPX and 200 flu vaccinations.  

But healthcare extends far beyond the medical, as evidenced by both the signs the DAP Health team carried in the signature parade and the programming at the pavilion. “We are advocating for equitable access to healthcare, including mental health, recovery, and harm reduction,” said Henke. “We were really inviting people to understand that healthcare at DAP Health is so much more than they thought.” 

“There are so many people who still think we only provide one service,” continued Henke. “I think the beautiful thing about being at Pride — having the pavilion, and then having our team marching down Palm Canyon, holding those signs — is that we were able to show the community what we mean when we say that DAP Health is an advocacy-based healthcare organization, what we mean when we say we are fighting for healthcare equity for the LGBTQ+ community, what we mean when we say we're expanding access so that more people can experience wellness.” 

Speed Friending, Sexual Health, Recovery …

Speed Friending, Sexual Health, Recovery and More: DAP Health is Bringing it to Palm Springs Pride 

Words by Charles Sanchez 

Palm Springs Pride has a long, fabulous tradition of celebrating diversity and community, and this year, DAP Health’s Pride Pavilion will be right in the heart of it. The pavilion will be located at 205 S. Palm Canyon Drive at the intersection of Palm Canyon and Arenas Drive, and will be open Friday, November 4 at 11:00 am through Sunday, November 6 at 5:00 pm. 

To foster connection and camaraderie this year, DAP Health has engaged the talents of Palm Springs’ own, the glamorous Ms. Patty Cakes to host a little get together game at Pride she likes to call “Speed Friending.” The game will commence at 5pm on Friday, November 4th, just in time to get you ready for a fabulous and friendly weekend. 

“Like speed dating,” Patty said, “it’s about meeting someone briefly for a minute, maybe two minutes, and then moving on to the next person.” It’s Patty’s hope that people from different cliques in the community will break down barriers and form new connections. “There’s all these little subsets within our community,” she said. “That’s what I love about pride; we get to be with each other together.” 

But why speed friending? “Dating is a charged word that comes with a lot of bias and baggage,” Patty explained. “But after all, in one way or another we are ‘dating’ everyone in our lives: our barista, the checkout girl, hell I’m even dating my new puppy!” She went on to say when the word dating is unweaponized, it simply means being in a relationship with those around us. “And by that definition,” she said, “during pride weekend, we are all dating each other!” 

Speed Friending is only one little nugget of deliciousness that DAP Health will be providing. The Pride Pavilion will offer a little something for everyone: yoga, recovery meetings, Raw sex talk, country line dancing, sound bath meditation and more. 

Steven Henke, Director of Brand Marketing for DAP Health said, “The Health Pavilion is going to offer the gift of wellness, free, exactly where our community is that weekend.” People will be able to walk into the pavilion and see exactly who DAP Health is and what is offered. They’ll experience the community health team’s approach to sexual wellness and harm reduction for every section of the LGBTQ+ family.  

“They’ll also be able to see the other non-profits that we partner with that we are inviting into the space,” Henke said, “like Planned Parenthood, Brothers of the Desert, the L Fund, and the LGBTQ Center of the Desert.” Riverside County will also be there, providing Monkeypox vaccinations on site.  

“I would like to invite everyone to stop by the Pavilion,” Patty Cakes said, “because Pride has a party aspect and a social aspect, but there’s also the opportunity to learn safe sex, health, mental health.” She concluded, “I want to interject that energy--learning and living--into my best gay life!”