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Monkeypox

Anyone can get monkeypox.  It is important we do not create stigma during this current outbreak 

Transmission of monkeypox can occur with skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, but it is not an STI  
 

Since May 13, cases of monkeypox have been reported to The World Health Organization (WHO) from 12 nonendemic countries. The first U.S. case of 2022 was reported last week in Massachusetts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified nine cases of monkeypox across seven U.S. states, officials said Thursday: California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. “The virus is related to smallpox, but is far less lethal,” says Dr. David Morris, DAP Health Chief Medical Officer  

“I believe it is very important that we don’t use the current outbreak to cause stigma toward the LGBTQ communities,” says Dr. Shubha Kerkar, Director of Infectious Diseases at DAP Health. Dr. Kerkar, explains “The reason the current outbreak was first reported in gay and bisexual men is because the diagnosis happened at sexual wellness clinics.” Transmission of monkeypox is neutral to sexual orientation.  

“In some cases, monkeypox lesions can look like herpes or syphilis,” explains Dr. Kerkar. “It is important to clarify that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease. It can spread through skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, when someone has an active rash.”  Individuals may come in for an evaluation of what they think is an STI. Health care providers have been advised by the California Department of Health to consider monkeypox as a possibility in all health care settings, not just STI clinics.  

Transmission  

Monkeypox is known to spread through prolonged close physical contact with someone who has symptoms.  

  • Rash, bodily fluids (such as pus or blood from skin lesions), and scabs are particularly infectious.  
  • Respiratory droplets, ulcers, lesions, or sores in the mouth can also be infectious, meaning the virus can spread through saliva.  
  • Clothing, bedding, towels, or objects like eating utensils/dishes, that have been contaminated with the virus, can infect others. 
  • People who closely interact with someone who is infectious, including health workers, household members, and sexual partners are at greater risk of infection.  
  • The virus can also spread from someone who is pregnant to the fetus from the placenta, or from an infected parent to child during or after birth through skin-to-skin contact.  

It is unclear whether people who do not have symptoms can spread the disease.  

Symptoms  

Symptoms include rash, headache, fever, muscle and body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and back pain. The CDC recommends that anyone with a new or unexplained rash get checked by a medical professional.   

Prevention  

Monkeypox can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact which includes sexual contact. Prevention includes avoiding physical contact with someone who knows they have monkeypox or who has a rash or skin lesions that may be associated with monkeypox.  

All health care providers are advised to be aware of monkeypox symptoms and if symptoms present, test accordingly.  

Testing  

If monkeypox is suspected, diagnostic samples must be collected from the roof or fluid of vesicles, pustules, or dry crusts. Samples are sent to the CDC to confirm a suspected case.  

Treatment  

“Most patients will recover in 2 to 4 weeks and will not require treatment,” says Dr. Kerkar. “However, we look to health authorities for guidance and further information on prevention and even treatment in certain situations”  
  

Trusted Sources of News and Updates:  

California Department of Health  

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  

World Health Organization (WHO)  

LGBTQ+ Care at DAP Health

Meet Dr. Felipe Saavedra 

LGBTQ+ Care at DAP Health 

One of our Primary Care Physicians is Dr. Felipe Saavedra, an HIV Specialist, and Family Medicine physician who has been working with the LGBTQ+ community since 2009. He completed a fellowship in LGBTQ Healthcare at UCLA in 2021, becoming the first Latinx physician specifically trained to care for the diverse population of the LGBTQ+ community. 

In 2015, Dr. Saavedra joined a pre-residency program at UCLA, where he also completed his Family Medicine residency in 2020. During his training, he educated himself and his colleagues on critical health care issues impacting LGBTQ+ individuals and improved the lives of underserved patients throughout L.A. County, many of whom were Spanish-speaking. As a Clinical Instructor at UCLA, Dr. Saavedra created a curriculum for first-year medical students exposing them to various LGBTQ+ topics and continues to mentor clinicians and trainees today. 

The training Dr. Saavedra received at UCLA, both in family medicine and as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Fellow, was foundational to the doctor he is today. "It was there that I truly learned how diverse our LGBTQ+ community is—well beyond HIV/AIDS," he says. "I developed deep and meaningful relationships with trans and non-binary youth and adults at the UCLA Gender Health program, which forever left an imprint on my practice. In the end, I want to see patients succeed, regardless of the medical and social challenges." 

Here, Dr. Saavedra answers questions regarding the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ care at DAP Health and the many wellness options available to our clients. 

Q: The LGBTQ+ population has some unique care concerns that are important to discuss with a provider. Could you highlight some of the LGBTQ+ health care services that are available at DAP Health? 

A: DAP Health offers whole-person health services to LGBTQ+ individuals. We deliver physical, behavioral, emotional, and social services. On the medical side, this includes routine primary care and specialties like Infectious Disease, LGBTQ+ Healthcare, and Psychiatry; HIV/STI testing and PrEP; gender health and transgender care; and high-resolution anoscopy (HRA). 

Q: What information can you share with LGBTQ+ patients—many of whom often avoid health care settings because of past negative experiences—so they know their visits to DAP Health will be positive and they'll be met with affirming care? 

A: DAP Health is recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for being a top performer in providing LGBTQ+ care. More than that, many of our medical providers—and also many of the clinical staff—belong to the LGBTQ+ community so we know the importance of honest and welcoming care.  

Q: Are there ongoing efforts at DAP Health to expand the services available to LGBTQ+ patients? 

A: DAP Health is a vital part of the Coachella Valley LGBTQ+ community and a leader in LGBTQ+ healthcare. We are present at nearly every large social event in the community spreading the word about our services and support for the LGBTQ+ Community. 

Q: Transgender individuals often encounter situations where their medical needs are ignored or denied. What procedures and policies does DAP Health have in place that help allay these fears? 

A: Patients at DAP Health have access to specialists trained in gender health at groundbreaking world-class institutions. Knowledgeable, affirming, and sensitive clinicians can help with transitioning, hormone replacement, mental health, community services, etc. DAP Health is always an affirming space and we recognize the unique needs of the gender diverse and trans communities. 

Q: In general, can you share your thoughts on why seeing an LGBTQ+ competent and trained clinician is important to members of that community? 

A: Even today, med students get limited training on LGBTQ-specific concerns and how to create a welcoming and non-judgmental space. Health outcomes are better when LGBTQ+ individuals feel affirmed and heard as individuals and not as a group. It's critical that the entire care team, reflected by the community we serve, is educated about and committed to LGBTQ+ issues. Removing barriers to access to health care in the LGBTQ+ community saves lives for the diverse population of the Coachella Valley.  

Reproductive Care is Health Care

The Intersection of LGBTQ Health Care and Reproductive Rights  

Prioritizing Patients Over Politics 

DAP Health is an advocacy-based humanitarian organization that believes women’s rights are human rights. Women played a critical role in our founding and continue to help lead our organization today. 

DAP Health stands in support of sexual and reproductive health care for women -- whether born cisgender, trans, non-binary, or lesbian.  

DAP Health supports a woman’s right to choose. We believe all women should receive access to health care tailored to their needs, not policies or politics. We believe that health care access for LGBTQ individuals and reproductive health care are uniquely linked because challenges to each are often based on political or ideological arguments that fail to prioritize patient-centered care. 

For 38 years, DAP Health has been advancing LGBTQ health care. First by focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, then on testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and most recently on gender-affirming care. We continue to expand our ability to provide culturally competent primary care and mental health care services.  

We see health outcomes improve when barriers like shame are removed. And we see the impact of anti-LGBTQ legislation on our community's mental health. We advocate for stigma-reducing person-centric language while providing patient-centered care, free from judgment. 

Access matters. According to the World Health Organization, lack of access to safe, affordable, timely, and respectful abortion care, and the stigma associated with abortion, pose detrimental risks to women’s physical and mental well-being throughout their lives.  

The Federal Policy Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Julianna Gonen, wrote in 2019: "The movements for reproductive freedom and LGBTQ equality share deeply linked interests and concerns. We are all seeking control over our own bodies – the freedom to decide whether to become or remain pregnant, whether and with whom to have intimate relationships, and whether to seek medical care to help our bodies align with our gender identities. We seek the freedom to form our families on our own terms – to partner with and marry whom we love, to have children or not, and to live as our true selves as determined by us, not by someone else." 

The LGBTQ Community Finds Care at Reproductive Wellness Centers  

In Palm Springs, the LGBTQ community has enjoyed affirming health care at DAP Health since 1984. But in rural areas across California, and the nation, that same community often turns to reproductive wellness centers for judgment-free access to routine and preventative HIV and STI testing and treatment; gender-affirming care, and services related to reproductive healthcare.  

Roe v Wade and Marriage Equality  

We as a grassroots organization, founded in part because of denied access to health care and discrimination, firmly and ardently support the rights of every individual to make decisions based on their own personal needs. 

If the court does indeed overturn Roe v Wade, legal advocates say it has implications for other rights rooted in privacy, such as the rights pertaining to private sexual activity, and marriage equality.  

This includes the 2015 SCOTUS Obergefell v. Hodges ruling which affirmed that the Constitution grants same-sex couples equal protection and equal rights under the law. These rights cover access to employer-funded medical insurance coverage for same-sex couples and their dependents, family medical leave, and hospital visitation rights.  

Why DAP Health Focuses on Culturally Competent Care 

LGBTQ people experience worse health outcomes than the population overall due to barriers including high rates of health care discrimination, stigma, and humiliation; all of which are compounded by racism and poverty. 

Delayed preventive and medical care directly impact health outcomes for the LGBTQ community. Removing barriers to care while standing alongside our partners in reproductive health is the vital work that remains to be done to improve the health and well-being of everyone in our community. 

We Dined Out For Life…Together

On April 28 We Dined Out For Life...Together.

Sixty-Eight locally owned establishments support DAP Health

Participating establishments, restaurants, bars, and bakeries, donated all or part of their gross sales from the day. All funds stay in Greater Palm Springs to support DAP Health’s work to reduce HIV stigma and provide access to HIV care, prevention, and testing.

Elizabeth Cervantes and her husband Alberto own Carousel Bakery.  Her reason for participating this year was very simple and inspiring. She said, "We want to support everyone in our community". 

The founder of Lulu California Bistro, Jerry Keller got up early to talk with NBC Palm Springs about his family's reasons for supporting DAP Health, "It's just the most powerful charity in this valley that takes care of people. What I love is the fact that it keeps evolving and the new focus is taking care of the whole valley".

DAP Health joined forces with community partners to help spread the word that eating in greater Palm Springs is more popular and more important than ever. This year was the perfect way to reconnect with old favorites or choose among a variety of top-rated eateries that recently opened. 

Pride in Community 

It will take a few weeks for all of the participating establishments to report what they raised, but the last time restaurants and community members came together in support of Dining Out For Life in 2019, the top three fundraising restaurants in North America were all based in Palm Springs raising $307,000. This is a powerful story about generous restaurants and our local community support. The event generates community awareness of HIV/AIDS and supports DAP Health’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Growing Need for HIV Care and Prevention  

DAP Health continues growing to meet the demand for access to care created by barriers to health in the Coachella Valley. Efforts are underway to increase its capacity from serving 10,000 patients annually to 25,000 patients.  

In 2021, fear of COVID caused many people to put health on hold by staying home. DAP Health created new ways of keeping them connected to HIV testing and care with:  

  • 8,182 administered HIV tests at our campus and in our mobile clinic 

  • 566 HIV self-test kits mailed to homes  

  • 53 patients were welcomed into HIV care immediately after testing positive  

  • 187 people resuming antiretroviral treatment (ART) after lapses 

  • 351 patients accessing PrEP for the first time 

  • 22,500 condoms made available through our Condom Club  

 

DAP Health Director of Brand Marketing, Steven Henke spoke with the owner of LuLu's California Bistro, Jerry Keller, about his families support of DAP Health and Dining Out For Life.

About Growth at DAP Health 

The Vision Forward strategy details the organization's expansion of its physical footprint through the construction of additional primary care, mental health, addiction, and dentistry clinics — not to mention additional affordable housing units. The goal - to strengthen DAP Health’s safety net for those who lack access to the care they deserve. Find out more at daphealth.org/visionforward 

DAP Health provides a sense of community for many people living with HIV, a health condition requiring ongoing medical management and commonly stigmatized by society and many in the health care profession.  

“At DAP Health, you don’t wonder if you belong,” says David Brinkman, DAP Health CEO. “You just feel it.”   

Isolation is dangerous for people living with HIV, but DAP Health offers opportunities to choose something different than being alone.  

Michael O’Neil compliments being a DAP Health patient with volunteering on its Client Advisory Board, and helping other patients get the most they can out of DAP Health.  

“DAP has worked on my teeth, my body, my mind,” Michael says.  “Now, DAP Health’s given me goals and some sense of self again.”   

Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs was sponsored by Subaru, Bank of America, The Desert Sun, NBC Palm Springs, Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa/Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, and Road Runner Print & Ship.  

About Dining Out For Life 

Each year, more than 50 local HIV service organizations partner with 2,400+ participating restaurants, 4,100+ volunteers, and 300,000+ diners to raise over $4.5 million for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and Canada. Best part? All funds raised through a city’s Dining Out For Life event stay in that city to provide help and hope to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. 

Launched in 1991, Dining Out For Life® is a trademarked North American fundraiser held annually in more than 50 cities across the United States and Canada; Dining Out for Life raised more than $4 million for AIDS Service Organizations in past years. 2022 marks DAP Health’s 17th year participating in the event. 

Dining Out For Life national board member, Brett Klein explains the importance of the annual event.

A Goodbye to Dr. Tulika Singh

A Goodbye to Dr. Tulika Singh

Singh hopes to create a fusion practice for people with HIV and non-HIV patients

Dr. Tulika Singh is leaving DAP Health, after serving as Director of Research and Associate-Chief Medical Officer for five years. She is beginning a fellowship program at The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She plans to become Board Certified in Integrative Medicine before returning to patient care.  

“I hope to create a fusion practice for people with HIV and non-HIV patients,” she says, “Incorporating alternative and conventional medicine to offer them the best care possible.” 

 While at DAP Health, she received FACP & FIDSA honors, given to Internist and Infectious Disease MDs for exceptional work. She also led groundbreaking research in new antiretroviral long-term use injectables. And she helped update HIV Primary Care guidelines for IDSA/HIVMA, used by thousands of clinicians in the U.S. 

 Dr. Singh is certainly not leaving conventional medicine behind. This Board-Certified HIV Specialist and Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine Physician says she wants to go even further to help make people well.  

“It is important that I finally pay attention to the other side of medicine,” she says.  “If conventional medicine was the only answer, then why are we so unhealthy in our country?” 

Integrative medicine uses conventional science-based approaches, such as drugs, surgery, and lifestyle changes. But it also utilizes wellness practices and non-Western medicines. It calls for including behavioral and emotional health in treatment, and for looking at non-medical factors affecting a patient’s health.     

“It is a completely different ballgame,” than traditional medicine, says Dr. Singh. “It includes taking time to get to the ‘why’ of a patient’s illness and addressing it.” 

DAP Health patients utilize wellness and social services in a dedicated wing on the campus, a practice developed when alternative and holistic therapies were the only options for people with HIV in the 1980s.  

“Long-term HIV survivors are so resilient and strong,” she says.  “I have utmost respect and admiration for their journey.” 

Dr. Singh has been practicing HIV specialty care since 2009.  

Although antiretroviral therapy is a modern miracle, many patients need help managing pain, decreasing stress, and maintaining life balance. 

“I really appreciate the multiple alternative medicine options that DAP Health patients have access to, like acupuncture, massage, yoga, reiki, and physical therapy all under one roof,” says Dr. Singh. “I see how much that has helped them.” 

Understanding the value of non-Western and alternative healing methods comes naturally to her, given her Indian parents both were specialists. She still remembers the advice her father gave her when she sought his blessing for her attending medical school.   

“Go and learn your modern medicine,” he said, “But you’ll learn Ayurveda, homeopathy, and naturopathy have their place.” 

25 years later,  says Dr. Singh, “and he’s right!”  

Inspired by Patients and Coworkers During Pandemic 

“The resilience and adaptability in our patients throughout this have been so inspiring,” she says. 

 Dr. Singh worked to keep her patients engaged in their health during COVID lockdowns, ushering in telehealth and Virtual Visits when coming to the medical offices was impossible. During the worst days of the pandemic, DAP Health patients received uninterrupted and ongoing care because Dr. Singh and her team made connecting with technology painless for patients.  

“COVID slowed us down, but it didn’t stop us,” she says. “We got on the phones and computer monitors and we took care of patients.”   

Finding a way to keep medical care going during COVID, she says, is credited to the flexibility shown by patients, DAP Health leadership and her fellow medical staff.  

“We came together, and we became more resilient and caring, more than we were ever before,” she says. “It was an exciting as well as a humbling experience.” 

Dining Out For Life Returns April 28

2022 Dining Out For Life is Thursday, April 28th 

Make One Meal Matter - Dine Out | End HIV 

Appetites are building for Thursday, April 28, when Dining Out For Life (DOFL) happens all day at restaurants, bars, and bakeries across greater Palm Springs. For 17 years, this event has helped fund DAP Health as it works to reduce HIV stigma and provide access to HIV care, prevention, and testing. Participating businesses donate all or part of their gross sales from the day. All funds raised stay in Greater Palm Springs to provide help and hope to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. 

More information about DOFL, participating establishments, volunteering, and sponsoring can be found at daphealth.org/DOFL/ 

DAP Health joined forces with community partners to help spread the word that eating in greater Palm Springs is more popular than ever. This year’s DOFL is the perfect way to reconnect with old favorites or choose among a variety of top-rated eateries that have recently opened.  

This year’s promotional videos feature local personality Kelly McQueen, aka DJ Mod Girl, capturing the excitement and satisfaction of eating all three meals of the day— breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a cocktail or two—at DOFL participating restaurants and bars on Thursday. You can view them on the DAP Health Youtube Channel 

 

 

The Palms Springs Show with Jacob Cunningham created a multipart series that explores eateries in the Palm Springs area, just in time to plan for the big day. You can tune in here: youtube.com/c/PalmSpringsShow 

 

Growing Need for HIV Care and Prevention  

DAP Health continues growing to meet the demand for access to care created by barriers to health in the Coachella Valley. Efforts are underway to increase its capacity from serving 10,000 patients annually to 25,000 patients.  

In 2021, fear of COVID caused many people to put health on hold by staying home. DAP Health created new ways of keeping them connected to HIV testing and care with:  

  • 8,182 administered HIV tests at our campus and in our mobile clinic 

  • 566 HIV self-test kits mailed to homes  

  • 53 patients were welcomed into HIV care immediately after testing positive  

  • 187 people resuming antiretroviral treatment (ART) after lapses 

  • 351 patients accessing PrEP for the first time 

  • 22,500 condoms made available through our Condom Club  

DAP Health provides a sense of community for many people living with HIV, a health condition requiring ongoing medical management and commonly stigmatized by society and many in the health care profession.  

“At DAP Health, you don’t wonder if you belong,” says David Brinkman, DAP Health CEO. “You just feel it.”   

Isolation is dangerous for people living with HIV, but DAP Health offers opportunities to choose something different than being alone.  

Michael O’Neil compliments being a DAP Health patient with volunteering on its Client Advisory Board, and helping other patients get the most they can out of DAP Health.  

“DAP has worked on my teeth, my body, my mind,” Michael says.  “Now, DAP Health’s given me goals and some sense of self again.”   

Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs is sponsored by Subaru, Bank of America, Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa/Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Road Runner Print & Ship, The Desert Sun, and NBC Palm Springs 

Pride in Community 

The last time restaurants and community members came together in support of Dining Out For Life was in 2019. The top three fundraising restaurants in North America were all based in Palm Springs. 83 local restaurants raised $307,000 during Dining Out for Life 2019. Greater Palm Springs is the smallest participating market but ranked second in overall fundraising among the 50 participating cities across the United States – raising more funds than cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and Phoenix. This is a powerful story about generous restaurants and our local community support. The event generates community awareness of HIV/AIDS and supports DAP Health’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of those living with HIV/AIDS. 

About Growth at DAP Health 

The Vision Forward strategy details the organization's expansion of its physical footprint through the construction of additional primary care, mental health, addiction, and dentistry clinics — not to mention additional affordable housing units. The goal - to strengthen DAP Health’s safety net for those who lack access to the care they deserve. Find out more at daphealth.org/visionforward 

About Dining Out For Life 

Each year, more than 50 local HIV service organizations partner with 2,400+ participating restaurants, 4,100+ volunteers, and 300,000+ diners to raise over $4.5 million for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and Canada. Best part? All funds raised through a city’s Dining Out For Life event stay in that city to provide help and hope to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. 

Launched in 1991, Dining Out For Life® is a trademarked North American fundraiser held annually in more than 50 cities across the United States and Canada; Dining Out for Life raised more than $4 million for AIDS Service Organizations in past years. 2022 marks DAP Health’s 17th year participating in the event. 

Raul Ruiz Wins Health Equity Award

Raul Ruiz Wins Health Equity Award

Recognition scheduled at The Chase for fighting for health access

Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) will be presented with the inaugural DAP Health Equity Award at the 28th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Gala on April 9 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.  The accolade honors Rep. Ruiz for his long commitment to health justice locally and nationally. The DAP Health Equity Award honors leaders who have reduced health disparities locally, especially improving access for people who traditionally are economically and socially disadvantaged. 

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

Leveraging his platforms as a physician and a U.S. Representative, he has called out health disparities, influenced broad support for change, and secured more funding for care and education. He stays engaged in each issue he supports in the Coachella Valley to make sure promises are kept and change happens. 

“Dr. Ruiz understands that calling attention to specific barriers in healthcare is the first step in removing them,” said David Brinkman, DAP Health CEO. “DAP physicians offer the highest standard of health for more than 10,000 patients, helped by funding, public support, and the advocacy consistently provided by our friend.”

For years, Congressman Ruiz has been a strong health advocate for the people of Coachella Valley, and the impact of his work is sizeable. He has consistently voted to increase health center funding since coming to Congress. When COVID emerged, he fought for additional funding so that all health centers could stand up to the challenge. DAP Health has received over $8 million in federal grants, thanks to his advocacy. 

Dr. Ruiz also works to ensure his advocacy in Washington is put to good use here in the Coachella Valley where he grew up. 

  • Understanding the importance of educational opportunities, Dr. Ruiz has been a long-time advocate of the Teaching Health Center Program. He has led efforts to increase funding, which has happened twice under his leadership. The program also helps meet area staffing needs.
  • When COVID hit, underserved farmworker communities in our region immediately experienced disparities in vaccination rates. Dr. Ruiz increased local awareness by speaking out and helped secure thousands of tests and vaccines. He also led public health education events in the fields to meet people where they are. 
  • Dr. Ruiz’s support was vital to the success of Get Tested Coachella Valley/Hazte la Prueba Valle de Coachella public health initiative. This groundbreaking 3-year, $5 million effort sought to dramatically reduce HIV through education and routine testing for more than 81,000 individuals and provided linkage to care for 88% of newly diagnosed HIV patients. The 2014-2016 project united more 150 community partners, making it the nation’s first community-based initiative of its kind. It was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California State Office of AIDS, and at two White House conferences.

To learn more about Congressman Raul Ruiz, visit https://ruiz.house.gov/

 

The Chase Sponsors

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 

Transcendental Meditation at DAP Health

Transcendental Meditation at DAP Health 

March 14, 2022

As part of its ethos to treat the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – DAP Health is now offering free Transcendental Meditation (TM), courses.  TM, a simple mental technique, has been shown to improve awareness, memory, and creativity while reducing tension and anxiety. By reducing deep-rooted stress and fatigue, it increases energy and resiliency, and improves overall health. 

The course is free to patients and employees of DAP Health, and will be offered monthly, consists of four one-hour lessons held over four consecutive days. The first session is a one-to-one meeting with the teacher followed by three subsequent group classes.  All classes must be attended.  No prior experience, equipment, or clothing is required.

It's a simple, natural, effortless technique. It’s very practical,” said Thomas Roth, Director of the David Lynch Foundation HIV Wellness Initiative, who is leading the program at DAP Health.  “We work it into our daily routine: 20 minutes in the morning before breakfast, 20 minutes in the evening before dinner and go about your day.”  Roth, who has been meditating since he was 13 years-old, added, “Forget that you meditated. It's not like we need to remember, ‘oh, I should be kinder because I'm a meditator.’  It's not like that at all. We just do it, and we forget about it and the results come naturally.”

While many forms of meditation focus on mindfulness, TM goes beyond that to take the brain to a very quiet place which expands consciousness. “Everybody knows that we're using 10% of our potential,” said Roth. “So, this takes us to those quieter states of our mind, where we can tap into that creativity and intelligence and bring that out into our daily life.” 

Roth continued, “The other thing that's fantastic is the side effects; what goes on in the body. When the mind becomes quieter and quieter, correspondingly, because of that mind-body connection, the body attains, a very deep state of rest.”  According to Roth, the level of relaxation that is achieved can be twice as deep as the deepest sleep during the night. “The result of that is release of stress. Rest is the antidote to stress. None of us are getting enough rest. I can say that as a rule,” Roth said.  “So, this adds a very powerful, yet simple and effortless technique to attain a deep state of rest and eliminate stress.”

Scientific research backs up TM’s claim’s of reducing tension and increasing resiliency. “There's been 350 peer reviewed, published scientific studies on transcendental meditation. It's by far the most thoroughly researched process of personal development on the planet,” said Roth.  “It's something that's substantiated by research.”

“We give the body deep rest and naturally, anxiety is reduced. Tension is reduced. All the symptoms of stress are reduced,” Roth said. “At the same time, what it creates is an anchor in that quietness inside. We don't feel like we're a football being thrown around in life.  It’s a deep anchor in our own consciousness and that gives us more perspective. It gives us stability and little time to ourselves to re-energize.”

To sign up or learn more about DAP Health’s Transcendental Mediation program, contact Thomas Roth at Troth@TM.org or call or text 415-547-0486.

DAP Health Condom Club Continues Communi …

DAP Health’s Condom Club Continues Community Outreach 

February 14 is National Condom Day 

Ray Perea saw the darkest days of the AIDS crisis when he worked as a bartender in San Francisco from the 70s through the 90s, as AIDS claimed numerous friends and customers.  

Thanks to advancements in modern medicine, HIV has become manageable for people who have access to care and are preventable through viral load suppression and with medications like PEP and PrEP.  

But that does not mean a service like DAP Health’s Condom Club has become obsolete. In 2019, with more than 2.5 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases, STDs reached a record high in the US for the sixth consecutive year. STDs include syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. As recently as 2018, Palm Springs was facing a syphilis outbreak.  

For years, DAP Health has provided free condoms and lube packets throughout the Coachella Valley, at bars and resorts, as requested by business owners, says Alonso Gonzalez, a community health educator who leads the condom club.  

“I think it’s great that DAP Health has continued to provide this service to organizations that need it,” says Ray Perea, a Condom Club volunteer for 19 years. “And I’m glad to see the organizations out there, the bars and the resorts, still wanting the packets to hand out and keep people safe, and making them aware that it’s an issue, that it still exists.”  

Perea says he initially joined for two reasons. He moved to Palm Springs with his partner, and they were looking for a way to volunteer with DAP Health, then known as Desert AIDS Project.  

The Condom Club offered a perfect opportunity with a lively bunch of people that Perea says has been appealing.  

“The Condom Club has always been a fun group to work with,” Perea says. “It’s a good thing to do in terms of helping other people. The volunteers that go there, some of them have really interesting stuff and it’s always a fun group to just chit chat with.”  

Perea says another reason for volunteering is what he witnessed. “It is an ugly, ugly disease,” Perea says. “It was just a horrific disease to die from. It was not pretty.”  

Perea remembers when protease inhibitors first came out. There were so few available that patients had to go on a waiting list, or a lottery system.  

“That changed the whole picture of people surviving,” Perea says. “I had a friend who was ill, and he was put on the list. A short time later, he did pass away. And then there were a couple of other friends who were at death’s door. Luckily, they got the protease inhibitors and survived.” 

Gonzalez says the Condom Club is busy with the distribution. He estimates DAP Health distributed around 25,000 packets in 2021   and about 50,000 each year pre-pandemic.  

While HIV is not as dire as it was in the United States, Perea hopes people continue to take safe sex seriously, and use the free condoms provided to prevent the spread of HIV and STDs.   

How Revivals is prioritizing people expe …

How Revivals is prioritizing people experiencing homelessness  

When Revivals and DAP Health decided to partner with Martha’s Village and Kitchen to provide clothing and supplies to people experiencing homelessness, they knew there was a need.  

But the demand caught them by surprise.  

The 2020 Riverside County Point-In-Time count suggests there were close to 200 unsheltered individuals in Palm Springs, but advocates for people experiencing homelessness say the true numbers might be double or triple that number. 

Martha’s Village and Kitchen is one of the largest providers of homelessness and impoverished services in Riverside County with over 8,000 people in need passing through its doors yearly.  

 Over the summer, Indio-based Martha’s Village opened The Palm Springs Access Center, providing wraparound services for people experiencing homelessness. These services include helping individuals obtain permanent and supportive housing, health, disability, Social Security, and other benefits, along with computer training, and assistance filling out job applications. 

Dane Koch, the director of retail, says it was an easy decision to partner with Martha’s Village. Revivals is part of DAP Health, an advocacy-based healthcare organization committed to removing roadblocks to human potential.  

Homelessness leads to increased feelings of uncertainty, vulnerability, and isolation. Homeless people experience great physical and mental stress. Many homeless people do not have access to medicine or regular physical or mental health care treatment. They tend to be hospitalized more often than people with homes.  

DAP Health believes that housing is healthcare and through a partnership with Coachella Valley Housing Coalition is breaking ground to begin construction of the 61-unit special needs affordable housing development known as Vista Sunrise II.  The Vista Sunrise II development will be constructed on the DAP Health campus at Sunrise and Vista Chino in Palm Springs.  This new development consists of studios and one-bedroom units for individuals and families who experience chronical illnesses, physical or mental disabilities, or those who are homeless.  

Martha’s Village provides vouchers for Revivals to its clients, who then come into a Revivals store to pick up necessities and clothing. Parents can shop at the store with their children enjoying the same retail experience as every other shopper in the store. A client can have up to four vouchers each year.  

Kris Fisher, the senior store coordinator at the Revivals in Palm Springs, says Revivals anticipated 15 clients per week. Instead, it was 50. 

“The response has been pretty overwhelming. I don’t think we expected to get the number of clients that we did,” Fisher says. “But I’m glad the program is being utilized and that we can be a resource.”  

George Sinatra, the senior director of development for Martha’s Village and Kitchen, shared two stories that illustrate the impact of this partnership.  

An elderly woman who had eye surgery needed protective eyewear.  

She came to Martha’s Village wearing disposable sunglasses. “We were able to get new sunglasses to her at Revivals that day,” Sinatra says. “That was super helpful.” 

Sinatra remembers a family of four who was living out of a car. They had come into Palm Springs looking for help.  

“They had one bag of clothing between the four of them that included undergarments and everything,” Sinatra explains 

The family came into Palm Springs, where they were able to get a shower and receive clothing from Revivals for the mother, father, and two young children under six. Then they were moved to Martha’s Indio location. 

“They are doing amazing and have been successful here going through Martha’s programs. They’re getting ready to get employment locally and then they’ll be able to move into their own home as a family.”  

 Koch says he is proud to be part of the new program. “People talk about the problem of homelessness a lot, but we see people, not problems.  It’s important to prioritize people experiencing homelessness and it just makes you feel good about coming to work every day, knowing you are making a difference.”  

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