Call: (760) 323-2118
8am to 5pm Monday - Friday

Call: (760) 323-2118
8am to 5pm Mon - Fri

Including Sex Workers for Health Equity

Including Sex Workers for Health Equity 

Stigma and criminalization have always created barriers for sex workers seeking safety, healthcare, and services, and DAP Health is increasing outreach to this community for care and a variety of ongoing services. The Community Health department has started recruiting for community health educators with sex worker experience, a move to continue building cultural competence in a community growing more desperate for relief as the pandemic continues 

With social distancing causing in-person business to drop off, and criminalization of their work making collecting unemployment impossible, sex workers are facing increased health equity challenges that threaten them and their partners. 

“We understand and care about people who survive through sex work,” says C.J. Tobe, Community Health director. “Stigma surrounding sex is very much alive and this pandemic has exacerbated the spotlight on it.” 

STI rates remain the highest they have been for California in three decades, and many in the Coachella Valley continue facing new barriers to care and treatment as COVID continues.  

Current and former sex workers experience more violence, legal involvements, and social stigmatization than most people, making it harder to obtain healthcare. Other serious barriers are closely linked to poverty, substance use, disability, immigration, sexism, racism, transphobia, and homophobia. Experts say due to this, opportunities to access mental health resources are considered extra beneficial for sex workers, although they are usually unavailable. 

So Much More Than Medical Care 

Throughout 2021,  the DAP Health Behavioral Health department is doubling its capacity to see patients for therapy by California licensed psychotherapists, as well as a variety of peer groups. The team is skilled at addressing many of the challenges affecting sex workers, and services are available in-person as well as via Virtual Visit.  

DAP Health’s holistic model aims to address social determinants that lead to negative health outcomes, especially those related to the pandemic — this includes food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation and access to health care.   

Read more about DAP Health, plus its expanding role in public health and health equity here.   

To become a patient, click here.  

About DAP Health  

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 9,700 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.       

DAP opened one of California’s first COVID clinic 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.       

Allied  for We Will Lift: Regional Ple …

Allied for We Will Lift: Regional Pledge for Housing and Opportunity 

Not everyone is accessing affordable housing and economic opportunities, and COVID is making the disparity even worse. That is why we have answered the call from our friends at Lift to Rise, pledging to continue this work in the Coachella Valley. The We Will Lift: Regional Pledge for Housing and Opportunity represents our shared vision and commitment to radically change the trajectory for our community by acting now.  

The pledge is a regional agreement to a shared vision around housing affordability and economic opportunity – and Lift to Rise is the facilitator of this collaboration. 

We Will Lift: 
The We Will Lift: Regional Pledge for Housing and Opportunity represents our shared vision and commitment to radically change the trajectory of opportunity and affordability in the Coachella Valley. Signing the We Will Lift pledge represents a commitment to support a shared, concrete and forward-thinking plan that will: 

  • Advance a community-valued pipeline of projects 
  • Work with city, county, and state governments to implement affordable housing-friendly policies 
  • Drive a regional investment vehicle 
  • Build pathways to economic mobility and security for residents 

About Lift to Rise 

Lift to Rise is a cross-sector, community-driven movement to improve life in Southern California’s Coachella Valley for the majority of residents who do not experience the opulence and luxury for which the area is known. With input from more than 50 collaborative partners and countless community members Lift to Rise created a 2020-2022 Action Plan—a roadmap to radically increase housing stability and advance economic opportunity for all Coachella Valley residents. We envision a future where all Coachella Valley families are healthy, stable, and thriving. 

About DAP Health 

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 9,700 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.      

DAP opened one of California’s first COVID clinic 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.      

Meet Lessons from History with Action To …

Meet Lessons from History with Action Today

DAP Health Insights – Monday February 8, 2021, from David Brinkman, CEO

Honoring Black History with Health Access

As we pay tribute to generations of Black Americans who struggled for a place at the table in American society, we must call attention to serious health inequities threatening them today around COVID.

According to the CDC, only five percent of all COVID vaccines so far have gone to Black Americans, who continue to suffer from unacceptable gaps in healthcare access in the U.S.

Too often we see data showing that Black Americans experience poor health outcomes more than whites, and this is a further sign that this inequity is getting even worse.

DAP Health works to address healthcare inequities caused by racism and poverty through our inclusive model of services. COVID has pushed us to do even more to reach people living in minority neighborhoods, so that African Americans know DAP is a committed BLM partner and here to help. Click here to read more.

Local Holocaust Survivor Can Teach Us

Welcoming local survivors of the Holocaust to DAP Health for COVID vaccinations, we met Jerry Moses, who says he is convinced receiving the vaccine is saving his life.

“My utmost gratitude goes to DAP Health and to the Jewish Family Service of the Desert,” Jerry says. “I got my vaccination and it probably is saving my life because I’m 86 years old and I have COPD.”

Jerry’s outlook on life is also likely keeping him alive. He married, raised a family, and built a business. In recounting his experience as a survivor, he told us about saying no to vengeance, and how things can change for the better. I encourage you to listen to this wise man’s words. You can watch here.

DAP Health in the News

KESQ

Everyone is feeling the stress of finding a COVID vaccine, and for people over the age of 65 and older, it can become impossible. DAP Health understands COVID and the needs of seniors in this community, so when our longtime partner Jewish Family Service of the Desert (JFS) told us their senior clients who had survived the Holocaust were facing extra barriers, we stepped forward. You can watch Julie Hirsh of JFS talk to Peter Daut on KESQ here.

John McMullen Show on iHub Radio

Julie Hirsh told John McMullen even more about our collaboration, in addition to unique services JFS offers its clients year-round. You can hear more here.

Honoring Black History with Health Acces …

Honoring Black History with Health Access 

 

As we pay tribute to generations of Black Americans who struggled for a place at the table in American society, we must call attention to serious health inequities threatening them today around COVID.  

According to the CDC, only five percent of all COVID vaccines so far have gone to Black Americans, who continue to suffer from unacceptable gaps in healthcare access in the U.S.  

DAP Health’s vaccine framework is rooted in health equity, ensuring communities and populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19 have priority access to the vaccine. Outreach to our patients age 65 and over has already begun.  

In 2021, we are increasing opportunities for health in Black neighborhoods with enhanced mobile services that offer linkage to ongoing medical care, vital during this pandemic.  

“COVID has pushed us to do even more to reach people living in minority neighborhoods,” said David Brinkman, CEO.  “so that African Americans know DAP is a committed BLM partner and here to help.” 

We welcomed a specialized nurse to assist the mobile team, and we added Virtual Visit technology to our Mobile Testing Van so DAP Health doctors can beam in during visits when helpful.  

Accessing care and services will be easier in 2021 because we are offering case management (traditionally reserved for our HIV-positive clients) to a broader segment of the community who may be needing help getting into care. 

We are also providing smartphones and WiFi access to clients unable to afford them so that telehealth visits can continue and grow. 

“Increasing health services via our mobile unit for patients in Black neighborhoods will help anyone who may be fearing racism or stigma from traditional healthcare,” said C.J. Tobe, Community Health director. “Our clinics are welcoming, but DAP Health is also willing to meet people where they are at, especially during this pandemic.” 

DAP Health’s holistic model aims to address social determinants that lead to negative health outcomes, especially those related to the pandemic — this includes food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation and access to health care.  

Read more about DAP Health, plus its expanding role in public health and health equity here.  

To become a patient, click here. 

About DAP Health  

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 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.      

DAP opened one of California’s first COVID clinic 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.      

Building Hope on Solid Ground

Building Hope on Solid Ground  

New housing on DAP campus gets city approval, Dr. Kekar says trust vaccines, and Dr. G offers practical wisdom on getting through the holidays this year. 

City Council Approval Feels Like Home 

Even though COVID shook us in 2020, we did not give up on our promise to build additional safe and affordable housing as we expand our campus. We are thankful to the Palm Springs City Council for its unanimous approval last week for us to add 61 affordable housing units and 18,500 square feet of healthcare space at our campus.  

We are proud to call the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition our partner in developing these beautiful new living spaces, with 29 units reserved for residents coming out of homelessness. 

We couldn’t agree more with Palm Springs City Councilwoman Lisa Middleton when she said the expansion is “a stunningly beautiful project, and anyone would be proud to be able to call it home.” You can read more in The Desert Sun’s coverage here. 

Dr. Kerkar Urges: Trust COVID Vaccines 

Now that vaccines to fight COVID are becoming available, convincing everybody that they are safe and effective is crucial if we are going to eradicate this infection. DAP Director of Infectious Diseases Dr. Shubha Kerkar shared about why she trusts them, looking at other vaccines in recent memory that helped eradicate polio and smallpox. You can read more here. 

Get Through Holiday Blues with Dr. Gover 

The holidays can be a difficult time, and this year COVID is compounding feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness for many in our community. Paying extra attention to our emotional health is important this holiday season, and it just got easier with practical strategies from Dr. Jill Gover, DAP’s behavioral health manager.  

Dr. Gover says that having a plan for how you will spend them is important, even if you are isolating at home to keep safe. You can read more here

Coping with the Holiday Blues in 2020

Coping with the Holiday Blues in 2020  

Palm Springs, CA (December 17, 2020) — The holidays can be a difficult time, and this year COVID is compounding feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness for many in our community. Paying extra attention to our emotional health is important this holiday season, says Dr. Jill Gover, DAP’s behavioral health manager.  

“For many LGBTQ+ folks, the holiday season is a trying time, especially if you are estranged from your biological family,” says Dr. Gover.  “Many of us have opted for chosen family, and this year we cannot be with our chosen families, either.” 

Having a plan for how you will spend the holidays is important, even if you are isolating at home to keep safe. 

Get started by acknowledging your feelings. 

Feelings of discontent are normal but dwelling in denial is dangerous.  

It’s normal to feel sad if you cannot be with loved ones this year. It’s also normal to swing from feeling happy and excited about the holiday season, to feeling sad and disappointed.  

This year the holidays will definitely feel bittersweet,” says Dr. Gover, who wants to remind everyone: 

It’s important to express your sad feelings.  

If you don’t, says Gover, they can bottle up inside you. If you try to be stoic about it and you keep saying “it’s fine, it’s fine,” the difficult feelings will seep out in other ways that may be harmful to you.  

Don’t pretend to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.  

“It’s OK to acknowledge there’s some sadness here as well.” Celebrating the holidays will look different this year, and due to social isolation, stress and uncertainty around the pandemic, it’s a difficult time. 

This holiday season, things will be different, “and that’s OK,” says Dr. Gover. Her advice is: “Be realistic and let go of previous expectations.” 

Things to keep in mind: 

  • The holidays don’t have to be perfect 
  • It’s OK to change your annual ritual to reduce stress 
  • Recognize that the new normal is not the same as the old normal 

Strategies to work through the holiday season that anyone can use are: 

Set Aside Differences 

Accept family and friends as they are. Recognize that others are experiencing holiday stress and depression, too.  

Stick to a budget  

You don’t have to overspend to compensate for not being with the ones you love, especially if it will create a financial crisis later for you.  

Try these alternatives: 

  • Donate to charity– nonprofits need our help right now 
  • Give homemade gifts 
  • Instead of individual gifts for each family member, consider just one gift for the entire family to use together. This will reduce stress. 

Plan Your Holidays 

Decide how you want to spend your holidays“Think about how you want to spend the holidays now, so they don’t sneak up on you,” says Dr. Gover. “You don’t want to wake up on the special day and feel bereft.”  

If alone, plan to do something specialThis could include setting up a structured time for a Zoom visit with loved ones, taking a hike, watching the sunrise, or making a special meal 

Learn to Say No 

“It’s so important to set limits.” If you feel vulnerable or overwhelmed, it’s OK t to say “no” to an event. 

Set boundaries 

Stay away from people, places and things that are not emotionally or physically safe 

Keep healthy habits  

Don’t forfeit what you’ve been doing during this pandemic to keep yourself healthy.  

  • Get plenty of sleep 
  • Maintain a regular exercise routine  

Don’t Forget Seasonal Affective Disorder  

We are in the darker part of the year, with the days ending earlier. Less sunlight can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)—health experts warn us that these symptoms are worsening due to the required isolating we all have to practice. Read more about SAD here 

Take a breather—create enough time for selfcare.  

Give yourself downtime 

  • Take a walk 
  • Listen to soothing music 
  • Do a guided imagery relaxation 
  • Read a “fun” book 
  • Take a bath 
  • Play with your pet 
  • Meditate or do yoga 

About Therapy at DAP 

Desert AIDS Project is proud to offer in-person psychological services, as well as Virtual Visits and phone visits via your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.  If you or someone you know would like to find out more about therapy at DAP, please call (760) 992-0450 or log on to daphealth.org. 

About Dr. Jill Gover 

Dr. Jill Gover leads a team of compassionate and competent California licensed clinical psychologists who are ready to help our community. 

Dr. Gover is passionate about social and environmental justice advocacy and LGBT political activism and she has volunteered with various political causes and campaigns such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Human Rights Campaign, and Equality California. Learn more about Dr. Gover here. 

About DAP Health Center    

DAP Health Center (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 people, 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 health and wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.    

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.    

Visitwww.desertaidsproject.orgto learn more.    

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Our Collective Wisdom Mobilizes Our Hope

Our Collective Wisdom Mobilizes Our Hope  

Weekend Wrap Message Saturday, December 12, 2020, from David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO  

Mobile Testing and Treatment Thanks to Direct Relief 

STI rates remain the highest they have been for California in three decades, and many in the Coachella Valley continue facing new barriers to care and treatment as COVID continues. But thanks to a generous award from Direct Relief, our Mobile Testing team will regularly bring STI testing and treatment directly to neighborhoods where we know the need is greatest for these services.  

This award also enables us to provide more STI testing and treatment at DAP in our sexual health clinic, staffed by DAP clinicians and following COVID health and safety protocolsDAP is the only California health center among 10 others nationwide that won the Innovation Awards in Community Health: Addressing Infectious Disease in Underserved Communities. You can read more here. 

Dr. Kerkar Distinguished by IDSA  

While COVID continues to complicate healthcare, DAP is taking a leadership position in this Valley, thanks to our medical team specialized in infectious diseases. Dr. Shubha Kerkar was given the top honor in her field when she was elected recently as a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the nation’s leading infectious diseases professional society. Dr. Kerkar helped us write the roadmap created during the worst years of the AIDS crisis, one that we apply today for patient care at DAP. You can read more here

DAP Talks: Volunteers  

Keeping about 200 volunteers rewarded during this time of historic uncertainty seems like it would be challenging, but the mission of DAP inspires so many that Marcie Lerner and Larry Naishtut, our volunteer services coordinators, are in good company when it comes to helping to keep our organization on track. Between the hunt for treasure at Revivals and serving 8,000 DAP patients through a variety of programs, there really is something for everyone if they want to get involved and give back with a gift of their time. You can listen here.  

Vaccinations: Winning Faith, Trust and C …

Vaccinations: Winning Faith, Trust and Credibility  

A look at the history of global pandemics 

By Shubha Kerkar MD, FIDSA, FACP, AAHIVS 

The possibility of control and eradication of the current global pandemic of coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) is now a distinct reality because of two promising vaccines that have shown safe and effective performance in preventing 95 percent of infections in preliminary data of phase 3 trials. 

How will these vaccines work? 

Vaccination prepares the human immune system to combat specific infections. In addition to the very basics, such as barriers to exposure with facial covering/masking, physical distancing and handwashing, vaccination is a powerful tool in the armamentarium of defenses against COVID19.  

Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines are based on a novel platform using “messenger” RNA to create vaccines (mRNA). They do not use the live virus or even any particle of a virus. They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept.  

The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.  

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give our cells instructions to make a harmless piece of “spike protein, which is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the muscle cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. In a placebocontrolled clinical trial where 30,000 to 40,000 volunteers in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated groups, there was a total of 100 infections, five in the vaccinated group and 95 in the placebo group. All volunteers who received the vaccine experienced no serious side effects, thus proving safety and efficacy.  

What does history tell us? 

In the real world, however, vaccines are only as good as the ability to be accepted by everyone. Winning faith and trust in vaccines depends on the credibility of the doctors, scientists and experts, and their ability to educate and help calm fears.  Once accepted, then the details of how to administer to the entire world population are practical challenges.   

 History tells us that vaccine strategies have successfully eradicated some of the deadliest infections on Earth, including smallpox, polio and measles, in times of scarce resources. The concept of vaccination was first noticed by the famous Dr. Edward Jenner in 1796 when he gave “lymph fluid” obtained from a milkmaid who had cowpox to James Phipps and established that he developed protection from smallpox.   

 In 2020, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, a deadly disease causing global pandemic for thousands of years. Worldwide vaccination was carried out in an era of no computers, no internet, no easy overseas transportation – all on foot – and simply targeting the worlds population one person at a time.  Of course, now, the challenges are different. 

What are we seeing today? 

Today, as I look around, not everyone is willing to accept vaccination as a silver lining in the dark cloud of this global pandemic. Perhaps there is no clarity, only doubt and mistrust, due to misinformation filtering through the current geopolitical scene, civil conflicts and social media, thus creating confusing layers. 

I remind all to look back in history: When Dr. Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine, 70 million mothers stood in line to get their children vaccinated – even before the benefits were confirmed.  Infantile paralysis was a devastating condition seen every year prior to that. Thanks to the polio vaccine – and the trust in that vaccine  today, it is part of childhood vaccination, providing 100 percent effectiveness in preventing polio. 

It is not just us here in the valley, our state or county. We must focus and be part of collaborative international cooperation and the contribution of global intelligence and unite in celebrating this great discovery. We must educate ourselves, gather all the courage and will to educate and counsel each other, and slowly win faith and trust in the possibility of prevailing in this battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr. Kerkar is director of infectious diseases at Desert AIDS Project and an infectious disease consultant at Desert Regional Medical Center and Eisenhower Health. For more information on vaccinations visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines. 

Image of DAP care provider

Shubha Kerkar, MD, MS

Physician, FACP, AAHIVS, FIDSA

Shubha has been performing infectious disease consultation since 1991 and has the distinction of having been a part of DAP since 1993 when she joined us as a part-time infectious disease consultant. Her practice is primarily focused on inpatient or hospitalized patients at both Desert Regional Medical Center and Eisenhower Health where she cares for individuals with serious infectious diseases. Once these patients recover and leave the hospital they continue on their path to a healthier life by transitioning to Shubha’s office-based skilled management program at DAP. Click here to learn more about Dr. Kerkar.

Dr. Shubha Kerkar: IDSA Fellowship is To …

Dr. Shubha Kerkar: IDSA Fellowship is Top Accolade  

Media Contact: 
Jack Bunting 
(760) 323-2118 
jbunting@desertaidsproject.org 

(Palm Springs, CA) December 10, 2020 — Shubha KerkarMD, FIDSA, was given the top honor in her field when she was elected recently as a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the nation’s leading infectious diseases professional society. This accolade helps shine a spotlight on her decades of service to people with HIV (PWH) in the Coachella Valley, beginning in the early 1990s, when mortality rates were much higher. 

“I am delighted, and I feel appreciative of this recognition,” said Dr. Kerkar. “I recognize that I walk this path of success, together with all, and not alone.” 

Today as COVID presents similar challenges for patients and health care workers to navigate, she continues making a substantial contribution to public healthDr. Kerkar is Director of Infectious Diseases at DAP and Desert Regional Medical Center, and an infectious diseases consultant at Eisenhower Health.  

Dr. Kerkar helped us write the roadmap created during the worst years of the AIDS crisis, one that we apply today for patient care at DAP,” said David Brinkman, CEO. “While COVID continues to complicate healthcare, her expertise in infectious diseases is matched only by her leadership and compassion for others.” 

Fellowship in IDSA is the highest honor in the field of infectious diseases. It is given to those who have achieved professional excellence and provided significant service to the profession.  

“Infectious diseases specialists have trained their entire careers to step up to the plate during a crisis such as the one we face today with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IDSA President Barbara Alexander, MD, MHS, FIDSA. “ID physicians and scientists are working on the front lines of every aspect of this outbreak, from treating patients to developing and studying diagnostics and therapies to working on vaccines. They are also preparing for the next outbreak and protecting individual and public health.” 

As COVID vaccines are nearing release, Dr. Kerkar is quick to point out that public trust in any vaccination is the first hurdle in widespread adoption. She and her peers play a big role.  

“Winning trust in the vaccines depends on the credibility of the doctorsscientistsand experts who must act now to educate and work to calm fears around safety and efficacy,” said Dr. Kerkar. “Once accepted, then the details of how to administer to the entire world population are practical challenges. 

You can watch Dr. Kerkar describe the early days of HIV when she accepted the 100 Women Award from Barbara Boxer at the 2018 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards here. 

Applicants for IDSA Fellowship must be nominated by their peers and meet specified criteria that include continuing identification with the field of infectious diseases, national or regional recognition, and publication of their scholarly work. Nominees are reviewed and elected by the IDSA Board of Directors. Fellows of IDSA work in many different settings, including clinical practice, teaching, research, public health and health care administration. You can read more here. 

About the Infectious Diseases Society of America 

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is a community of over 12,000 physicians, scientists and public health experts who specialize in infectious diseases. Our mission is to improve the health of individuals, communities, and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health, and prevention relating to infectious diseases. 

About DAP Health Center   

DAP Health Center (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 people, 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 health and wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.   

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.   

Visitwww.desertaidsproject.orgto learn more.   

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Regulating Emotions for Elevating Your M …

Regulating Emotions for Elevating Your Mood  

I hope everybody is doing their best to stay safe and working to manage self-care a little bit better during this very stressful time. Today I want to talk about the concept of emotional regulation. Before we begin, I want to stress that emotional regulation does not require ignoring your authentic feelings or suppressing them. In fact, it can help us get more in touch with them.  

Oftentimes when we are overwhelmed, we can get stuck in various emotional states. We can get stuck in rumination and inaction. Or we might experience a negative emotional state, such as extreme depression or extreme anxiety. 

Remaining in these states can pull us down into rabbit holes. If we ruminate about the negative, it can become very hard for us to pull ourselves out of it. My goal today is to help you understand the practice of regulating our emotions a little bit better, which can oftentimes improve our mood. When we do this, we tend to react in healthier ways, and with practiceit’s effective in managing our mental health more effectively.  

Technique One: Opposite Action  

This comes from dialectical behavior therapy, which initially was created to assist individuals who experienced emotions in very extreme ways. And the goal was to help them not avoid the emotion. And we don’t want to suppress something that is natural, but we want to learn to regulate it in a healthy way. Rather than feel an emotion at intensity level 10, we want to teach ourselves to feel the same emotion at around a 5 or 6; low enough that we can still cognitively make decisions that are healthy for us. 
 
When we are overwhelmed by emotion, we have urges that tend to lead to unhealthy behaviors. For example, some people might turn to drugs or alcohol in situations where they’re feeling overwhelmed. To them, that unhealthy behavior is suppressing or masking the feeling that is uncomfortable to them.  

Again, the goal with opposite action is not to suppress the feeling, but rather to help identify the feeling first.  

For example, imagine I’m feeling overwhelmed and sad, but I also want to regulate it. I’m going to think opposite.  

I’d ask myself what’s the opposite of sadIt’s happy.  

I’d also ask myself what’s the opposite action from sad. If I‘m sad, I might turn to drugs or alcohol, but a healthy and opposite option is exercise, meditating, or journaling 

Iwe’re able to work through a few steps, we can identify what we are feeling, and then we can visualize the opposite of that. From there, we can pick a healthy action to take that delivers us to a better place, opposite of where we might normally go in terms of unhealthy choices. 

Technique TwoVisual Grounding  

Grounding is very much tied to mindfulness and using visual description to ground is simple and accessible. We can use it anywhere, and it brings us to a place of peace. It brings that emotional regulation much lower so that we can think through things in a healthier way. Again, wdon’t want to suppress the emotion. Rather, we want to manage it more effectively, so that our mood is actually improved in the long run. The technique begins by stopping wherever you are.  

You can be in your office. You could be outdoors, or you can be in your bedroom.  

Start by looking around. Then, start describing everything that you see. Your inner dialogue might sound like:  

I have a computer in front of me; next to that is a frame that has a golden rim around it. And below that is my watch, which is black; next to that is a mouse that is white, and to the left of the computer is my desk lamp, which is black; next to that is a speaker; and so on and so on.  

Do that for a couple of minutes. You will find that you focus so much on describing things that you’ve naturally lowered the overwhelming emotion that you were feeling. This will help you regulate enough to be much more present and in control.  

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