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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.”  

Dr. Christopher Foltz Moving to Cedars-S …

Dr. Christopher Foltz Moving to Cedars-Sinai in L.A.  

After five years of providing culturally competent care for patients at DAP Health, Dr. Christopher Foltz is joining the Infectious Disease Department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Los Angeles. He will be remembered for opening the COVID Clinic and for inspiring many to thrive with HIV in the Coachella Valley.  

At Cedars-Sinai, he will provide outpatient infectious disease care. He will also work part-time in the hospital seeing patients with complicated infectious diseases, specifically working with organ transplant patients. Additionally, he will teach Residents and Fellows in the Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease programs. This move is effective February 1.  

Dr. Foltz spearheaded opening DAP Health’s COVID Clinic and COVID Hotline as soon as the pandemic emerged in March 2020.  He inspired a team of healthcare professionals to join him as frontline responders at a time when little was known about how to protect oneself. He also managed validation testing for the antibody test, an important step in those days to establish reliability, as clinicians everywhere grappled with unproven testing products.  

“I honestly feel like he made that clinic,” says Kimmie Miller, LVN and Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialist at DAP Health. “He needed the rest of us, but he was the brains behind it.”  

Created to alleviate overcrowding at area emergency rooms, the DAP Health COVID Clinic offered care and advice at a time when little was understood about the COVID virus; supplies were scarce, and fear ran high everywhere, even with DAP Health staff.  

“He taught us a new way to think, and he made sure that we were as up to date as possible,” Kimmie says. “He made sure that we were trained properly and would do a daily rundown of what happened and how we could do it better the next day.” 

As always, the proof was in the community feedback.   

“The patients were so appreciative and attentive to what he was telling them,” She says. “We got many calls about how much they wanted to thank him for all his caring and dedication.” 

Dr. Foltz believes the uniqueness of the Coachella Valley, known for its charity and sense of community, had a lot to do with the clinic’s success.  

“The outpouring of help from the community was something I never expected,” he says. “From the donations to just every day “thanks” we received; it was very rewarding.” 

Opening the COVID Clinic was in line with the Infectious Disease training he has devoted his life to. It also groomed him for this next chapter in an already impressive career.  

“All the expertise I was able to provide during the early COVID period really gave me the thirst to diversify what type of medicine I am able to practice,” he says. “This new position will allow me to see more Infectious Disease patients, both in and out of the hospital.” 

He wants his DAP Health patients to retain their focus on staying healthy in the time of COVID.  

“Stay engaged in your health,” he says. “As always, you are your own best advocate.” 

Dr. Foltz has a reputation for asking his patients questions and getting to know them, rather than just talking “at” them during care.  

“A patient-clinician relationship is just that—a relationship,” he says. “It takes time to build the trust to allow someone into your life to manage your healthcare.”   

“I always try to approach it with communication and understanding.” 

That is exactly how it has been for Pete, an established patient of Dr. Foltz.  

“He took the time to try and figure me out, and I could tell he actually cared,” says Pete. “He always took anything I said into account.” 

This encouraged Pete to ask questions about his care, and together they would explore different approaches. 

“This made me feel safe,” Pete says. “And it made me realize that I can really be healthy.” 

For Dr. Foltz, this is part of his strategy for helping patients thrive. 

“I strive to educate my patients with as much information as appropriate so they can ultimately make the best decisions in their own healthcare,” Dr. Foltz says. “I also try to do my best to provide a safe and respectful atmosphere where they feel listened to, and their concerns acknowledged.” “I hope to always remain part of the DAP Health family,” he says.  

To read more about Dr. Foltz’s training in the Midwest and opening the COVID Clinic, visit: https://www.daphealth.org/greater-kansas-city-or-coachella-valley-dr-foltz-lives-to-heal-his-community/ 

 

 

DAP Health rolls out harm reduction prog …

DAP Health rolls out harm reduction program to provide care for people living with addiction 

Contact: Leighton Ginn                                  
Public Relations Specialist  
(760) 567-2983  

lginn@daphealth.org.    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

Program approved Jan. 10, 2022 by the California Department of Public Health 

This Spring, DAP Health will unveil its harm reduction program that will have two components. First, Overdose prevention and secondly a Syringe Services Program (SSP) that will include health services and behavioral health support to combat the rise in preventable overdoses and the increase in new HIV cases.  

The multi-layered program will focus on education for the community, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, distribution and collection of syringes and referrals to support folks through their addiction journey.  

Additional services to be provided: Naloxone/Narcan to reverse overdose and prevent death, and Fentanyl test strips for testing drugs before use to decrease likelihood of overdose.  

In the latest preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100,000 people in the U.S. died from overdoses during the 12-month period from April 2020 through April 2021. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm) 

In Riverside County, there has been an 800 percent increase in fentanyl-related deaths since 2016, according to Rivco.org.  (https://www.rivco.org/news/riverside-county-committee-combat-fentanyl-abuse).  

Palm Springs has an overdose death rate 300 percent higher than the state average.  

Palm Springs Police Department Chief Andy Mills was able to review the harm reduction program and was impressed with how complete it is.  

“It’s important to remember the dynamics that go into a program like this,” Mills says. “That’s what excites me. Not only is DAP Health looking at helping people, but genuinely helping people so they are not destructive to themselves or our community.” 

DAP Health is only the second state certified Syringe Services Program (SSP) in Riverside County, which is the 10th most populated county in the United States.  

Because of the rising numbers, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Bacerra says the federal government supports harm reduction, which includes direct support and care to people who actively struggle with substance misuse.  

“DAP Health will begin deepening our relationship with people living with addiction by adding a harm reduction approach to our first-aid kit of solutions,” says C.J. Tobe, the Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness. “We will do this without stigma or judgment because you cannot treat someone who does not trust you. Harm reduction is an important tactic in DAP Health’s ongoing work to end the HIV epidemic.  Work that begins with meeting folks where they are.” 

Education  

  • Overdose prevention  
  • Safer injecting  
  • Risk reduction counseling  
  • Education to community partners  

Testing  

  • Free HIV/HCV testing  
  • Fentanyl strips for testing drugs before use to decrease likelihood of overdose  

Equipment  

  • Naloxone/Narcan to reverse overdose and prevent death  
  • Phone number and email to DAP Health for the community to report used syringes that need to be picked up and disposed of, or to request education related to harm reduction strategies at HarmReduction@DAPHealth.org or 760 992-0453. 
  • New syringes and intake/dispose of used syringes  
  • New injecting supplies  
  • Safer sex kits  
  • Safer smoking kits   

Referrals To 

  • Substance use counselors  
  • Outpatient Drug Free program DAP Health 
  • Local recovery and treatment centers  
  • DAP Health’s peer support specialist  
  • Early Intervention Specialist (EIS) for anyone with HIV and/or Hepatitis C for treatment  
  • Insurance enrollment and connection to health care and other social support services  
  • DAP Health’s Sexual Wellness Clinic (Orange Clinic) for STI testing and/or Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)  
  • Food and housing    

 

About DAP Health 

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

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

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

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.  

New DAP Health Sexual Wellness clinic op …

DAP Health expands Sexual Wellness in Indio, CA opening new clinic opening June 2022 and MISTR partnership expand the reach of health care services  

DAP Health made two significant moves to expand free testing and treatment to the East Valley by signing a lease to a new facility in Indio and partnering with MISTR to provide virtual PrEP services statewide.  

On Nov. 29, DAP Health signed a lease for a building in Indio to open a sexual wellness clinic.  The organization hopes to open the new space by June 2022.  

Free services will include STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) testing and treatment (gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis), HIV prevention (pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP; post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP), and HIV and hepatitis C testing.  

If anyone tests positive for HIV, the sexual wellness clinic DAP Health will provide that person with rapid start medication and linkage to care, an essential step in reducing new HIV infections and improving the health outcomes of the person living with HIV. While the cost of ongoing HIV treatment is not part of the free services, DAP Health offers financial assistance.  

In 2019, 25% of all HIV-positive test results at DAP Health were Hispanic men. “Many folks were driving from the East Valley to Palm Springs to utilize DAP Health’s sexual wellness services. We noticed not only a high volume of patients but most of those patients were already having symptoms of an STI or testing positive for HIV,” says C.J. Tobe, the Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health. Tobe believes free testing and treatment, with the convenience of not having to drive a great distance, will encourage more people to get tested.   

DAP Health is changing the system to meet the person. Since eliminating the cost barriers in its Orange Clinic that houses its sexual wellness services in July 2021, DAP Health has seen ongoing STI increases while HIV has remained the same, according to Tobe.   

DAP Health knew access to these services would be vital while social activities increased.    

In the first four months:    

  • The Orange Clinic saw over 2,000 patients.   
  • On average, DAP Health is seeing 170 more patients per month than when patients were being charged for services.    
  • The clinic started the same number of people on PrEP during the four months than they did in the prior 12 months.    
  • There were over 50 appointments for rapid start to ensure people newly diagnosed with HIV, or returning to care, have access to HIV medications within 7 days.    

“We are proactively protecting the community’s health,” Tobe said. “Eliminating the cost barrier has proven to increase access to folks in our community for PrEP and STI services.”   

“One of those barriers is cost. DAP Health learned many people testing positive for STIs and HIV had limited incomes. For them, the prior $25 fee for STI testing and PrEP was an impediment to care. DAP Health decided to remove that cost barrier to improve health equity.”  

In addition to the new Indio site, DAP Health now offers PrEP services virtually through MISTR, a discrete online service that provides access to PrEP, the once-daily pill regimen that prevents HIV. With its secure online platform, MISTR can determine if an individual is a candidate for PrEP and makes PrEP completely free. Moreover, MISTR manages all paperwork and back and forth with insurance companies and the various patient assistance programs, creating a seamless experience for the end-user.   

With the new clinic and the partnership with MISTR, DAP Health looks to make its services available to more people.  

DAP Health continues to make sexual wellness a priority by providing more people with more access to health services. It also continues to expand its ability to treat more people.   

"We welcome all people, period. And now we are eliminating more barriers to access sexual wellness services," Tobe said. “We are changing the system to meet the person. We continue to do this; First by eliminating the cost barrier and now opening a free sexual wellness clinic to people most impacted by HIV/STIs. That is health equity.”  

For more information, visit https://mistr.com/dap/ or https://mistr.com/dap-sistr/  

Outpatient Drug Free (ODF) treatment pro …

DAP Health’s Outpatient Drug Free (ODF) treatment program offers an alternative for individuals struggling with substance abuse.

The concept of going to stay at a rehab facility to treat a drug or alcohol addiction is something that we've all heard about. But another option is outpatient rehab where you visit a facility for recovery help, but don't stay overnight. Outpatient treatment is actually a very common option that allows individuals struggling with substance abuse to receive structured care while continuing to work and maintain their social connections.

At DAP Health, we aim to improve the quality of life for our patients by providing effective outpatient drug-free (ODF) substance use disorder treatment services integrated into our Behavioral Health Clinic. The goal is to help you reduce or eliminate alcohol and/or other drug use, address associated physical and/or mental health problems, and restore participants to maximum functional ability. "Our services are designed to treat the individual who meets the diagnostic criteria for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and presents with the ability to participate in low intensity, outpatient treatment," says Dr. Jill Gover, DAP Health's Director of Behavioral Health.

The average participant in the ODF program, which last for 16 weeks, has 6.5 hours of treatment each week. That includes 1 hour of individual therapy; 1.5 hours, twice a week of ODF group therapy; 1.5 hours with a support group; and 1 hour at a 12-step meeting. The ODF program includes evidence-based curricula; the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) screening tools; measured progress of treatment outcomes; and referral resources.

All participants in the ODF program receive a client handbook with handouts that will help them get the most out of their treatment. Some handouts ask questions and have spaces for answers, while others ask you to read and think about a subject or an idea, and contain advice or reminders about recovery.

During each group treatment session, the counselor gives clients time to think about their responses and then the group discusses the handout. Everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. "The more participation you have in group therapy, the more benefit you will receive from it," says Dr. Gover. "Part of the work is reading, completing, and reflecting on the handouts."

To fully benefit from group therapy, Dr. Gover also advises that, among other things, participants attend every group session; listen carefully and respectfully to the facilitator and the other participants and be supportive; maintain confidentiality and don't share other clients’ personal information outside the group so that everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences; and complete the homework assignments.

But all of these specifics aside, remember that taking that first step and joining our ODF program is the most important one. As the introduction to our handbook says, "Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards your recovery. You should be very proud of your decision to enter treatment and your commitment to recovery."

To sign up for the ODF program, contact our Behavioral Health Patient Services Representative, at 760-323-2118, who will make an appointment for you with our intake coordinator. Once a comprehensive assessment intake has been completed, if appropriate, you will referred to the ODF group as part of their treatment plan.   

DAP Health sees large uptick in HIV and …

DAP Health sees large uptick in HIV and STI testing since offering free service  

Eliminating cost barrier has drawn more people to get tested and care in past four months 

PALM SPRINGS, CA – Since eliminating the cost barriers in its Sexual Wellness Clinic/Orange Clinic, DAP Health has seen an ongoing STI increases while HIV has remained the same, according to CJ Tobe, the Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness.  

DAP Health knew access to these services would be vital while social activities increased 

In the first four months:  

  • The Orange Clinic saw over 2,000 patients. 
  • On average, DAP Health is seeing 170 more patients per month than when patients were being charged for services.  
  • The clinic started the same amount of people on PrEP during the four months than they did in the prior 12 months.  
  • There were over 50 appointments for rapid start to ensure people newly diagnosed with HIV, or returning to care, have access to HIV medications within 7 days.  

“We are proactively protecting the community’s health,” Tobe said. “Eliminating the cost barrier has proven to increase access to folks in our community for PrEP and STI services.” 

Free services include STI testing and treatment (gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis), HIV prevention (pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP; post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP), and HIV and hepatitis C testing.

If anyone tests positive for HIV, the sexual wellness clinic will provide that person with rapid start medication and linkage to care, an essential step in reducing new HIV infections and improving the health outcomes of the person living with HIV. While the cost of ongoing HIV treatment is not part of the free services, DAP Health offers financial assistance. 

DAP Health continues to make sexual wellness a priority by providing more people with more access to health services. It also continues to expand its ability to treat more people. 

"We welcome all people, period. And now we are eliminating more barriers to access sexual wellness services," Tobe said while explaining why DAP Health has decided to offer free sexual wellness services. 

“One of those barriers is cost. DAP Health learned many people testing positive for STIs and HIV had limited incomes,” Tobe says. “For them, the prior $25 fee for STI testing and PrEP was an impediment to care. DAP Health decided to remove that cost barrier to improve health equity.”

About DAP Health 

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

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

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

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.    

 

 

DAP Health Advocates for and Supports LG …

DAP Health Advocates for and Supports LGBTQ+ Community at Greater Palm Spring Pride 

DAP Health walked with pride alongside a bright progressive rainbow of other community organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community during the 35th Annual Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival.  The advocacy-based healthcare organization has provided community healthcare since 1984 and proudly sponsored this year's community stage which highlighted local talent. 

This year's Pride event drew tens of thousands of enthusiastic participants from around the globe who gathered in Palm Springs for a weekend of community, music, friends, and of course, the legendary Palm Springs Pride Parade which featured over 250 entrants this year. 

“It was overwhelming to be together again at this year’s parade,” says Nick Valenziano, DAP Health Manager of Executive Affairs.  Valenziano organized DAP Health’s participation in Pride this year alongside a committee made up of DAP Health employees.  “As I watched the street fill up with all the participants, it really hit me that I hadn’t been among the community in this way in such a long time.” 

DAP Health’s Pride Parade contingent returned to its advocacy roots this year inviting employees and supporters to carry signs that amplified the organization's commitment to health equity. Some of the signs read “No Stigma,” “Sex Work Is Work,” “Mental Health is Health”, “Black Lives Matter,” and “U=U”.   

DAP Health Director of Brand Marketing, Steven Henke explains.  “Our approach was to focus our messaging on the very real challenges faced by the communities we serve.  Stigma and shame remain barriers to health care for too many people living with HIV or mental health challenges.  The U=U campaign (undetectable equals untransmittable) aims to end the stigma around HIV that keeps too many people from getting tested for HIV or obtaining the care they need to stay healthy. At the end of the day, the message we wanted to deliver is that DAP Health welcomes all people. Period."    

“You could feel the energy moving in both directions, all of us greeting them and them waving back, shouting and clapping,” Valenziano said. “It was like we were all rediscovering humanity.”   

DAP Health’s Department of Community Health team provided education, counseling, and testing to hundreds of Pride goers who took advantage of free and confidential HIV testing, STI testing, PrEP consultations, and the condom bar offerings.  The message they delivered:  We offer judgment FREE testing and treatment.  

DAP Health's focus on sexual wellness remains on the forefront of a trend that has seen an increase in STI's 

CJ Tobe, Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health, explains "we’ve continued to see an increase in STIs through the COVID pandemic, but even more specifically in the last 6 months we’ve seen a significant increase in syphilis and gonorrhea.”   

DAP Health continues to offer free services in its Orange Clinic.  Free services include testing and treatment for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis;HIV and hepatitis C testing; andpre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP— treatments available for those at risk of coming into contact with HIV and those who may have already been exposed to it. 

The Orange Clinic provides anyone who tests positive for HIV with rapid start medication and links them to care.