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DAP Health Celebrates East Valley Expans …

DAP Health Celebrates East Valley Expansion with Two Exciting Events

Sexual Wellness Clinic and Revivals Indio Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies to be held Saturday, July 16


In its continued mission to meet clients where they are with what they need, DAP Health announced the opening of its new sexual wellness clinic at 81-719 Doctor Carreon Blvd, Suite D in Indio. The clinic, which officially opens on July 11, 2022, will operate Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and will offer testing for HIV, hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted infections including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. The clinic will also provide free pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) services. Case management and referrals to additional resources will also be available. Testing and treatment are confidential and free of charge. 

 “Our mission is to enhance and promote the health and well-being of our community and we do that by meeting people where they are,” said CJ Tobe, director of community health and sexual wellness at DAP Health who led the project. “We are adjusting the system to meet the needs of the community by not asking for your insurance while providing free services that don’t take weeks to be seen by a clinician. We will test you, treat you, prescribe Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and connect you to any other medical or social support needs you may have. All of these services at the clinic are free from cost and free from judgment and shame.” 

Indio Artists Help Make DAP Health's New Sexual Wellness Clinic a Safe, Welcoming Space

DAP Health is also celebrating the first anniversary of its Indio Revivals resale store.  Located at 82-150 CA-111, Indio (corner of Monroe and Hwy 111), Revivals offers an affordable shopping experience while raising funds for comprehensive care at DAP Health.  “We are truly branching out to bring DAP Health to the east county,” said Dane Koch, director of retail for Revivals.  “Revivals is there to provide that affordable shopping experience while supporting the mission of DAP Health.”    

Comprised of a unique blend of staff and volunteers, the welcoming community feeling at Revivals would not be possible without the generosity of those who volunteer. Over 180 volunteers donate over 13,000 hours each year, reselling gently used furniture, home goods, and fashion that has been donated by the generous local community at their four store locations. 

 The magic really happens behind the scenes where the team of volunteers sorts, prices and touches every donated item before it comes to the sales floor.  Together, the team has created a unique shopping experience - an exciting treasure hunt that delivers on their promise of affordability, discoverability, and community connection. 

To commemorate these two milestones, DAP Health will host individual ribbon-cutting ceremonies on Saturday, July 16, 2022.  The first will take place at 10:00 a.m. the DAP Health sexual wellness clinic and will include a tour of the facility.  The second will occur an hour later at 11:00 a.m. at Revivals Indio and will include a free taco cart lunch, family-friendly give-a-ways, and a storewide sale.  All are invited to attend. 

Together, the clinic and the store represent DAP Health’s commitment to providing more people with more access to health services and expanding affordable shopping opportunities.  “We are looking forward to building a deep relationship with the community and becoming part of the community,” said Koch.  “As we mark this anniversary, this is a personal invitation to join us and see our store. If you are new to Revivals, come see what we have to offer.  If you are already a Revivals shopper, come celebrate with us.”  


About DAP Health 

DAP Health is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 10,000 patients, offering medical and mental health care, free 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. Click here to read more about our commitment to health equity.      

DAP Health opened one of California’s first COVID clinics and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP Health 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 health care.  

DAP Health’s sexual health clinic offers free STI testing and treatment, free Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) services, and free HIV and HCV testing. DAP Health has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP Health 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 to learn more.      


About Revivals Stores 

To help fund services, DAP Health opened its own thrift store in 1994 called Revivals which offers the valley’s best collection of resale items alongside brand new furniture at bargain prices under its owned brand - Mode. Revivals raises over $1 million annually for the non-profit, turning over 100% of profits to DAP Health each year since it first opened in 1994, and as the advocacy-based healthcare organization opened its doors wider to welcome more neighbors into care, Revivals opened more stores to help fund the work. 

Revivals’ newest store location is in Indio, CA. at the corner of Monroe and Highway 111. The store was designed to embrace the brand evolution of DAP Health and reflect the organization's commitment to community throughout.   

You can support this great cause by volunteering, shopping, or donating to Revivals or directly to DAP Health. All donations provide comprehensive care for the 10,000 individuals who call DAP Health their health care home.  Learn more at 

Visit to learn more. 







Words by Ellen Bluestein 

May 30, 2022 

When clients arrive at DAP Health’s new sexual wellness clinic in Indio, the first thing they will see is a colorful mural in the waiting room.  Designed by Indio artists Cece Cruz and Evelyn Sofia Rivera, together known as Mujeres Murals, the full-scale artwork creates a warm and familiar environment to help alleviate the anxiety of those seeking services. 

The clinic, located at 81-719 Doctor Carreon Blvd, Suite D in Indio, is set to open on July 11, 2022, and will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. It will offer testing for HIV, hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted infections including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. The clinic will also provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Case management and connections to additional resources will also be available. Testing and treatment are confidential and free of charge. 

To celebrate the opening of the new clinic, DAP Health will host a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at 10:00 a.m., with a tour of the facility. All are invited to attend. 

“We started to do planning a year before the COVID pandemic to address unmet needs in our community and to respond to where we're finding new HIV cases and why new infections are happening to certain members of our community,” said CJ Tobe, director of community health and sexual wellness services. “[We] identified that there's such an unmet need for sexual wellness services, specifically surrounding Indio... The data showed new HIV cases located in the east valley. Latinos with lower income and under the age of 39 are most at risk. So, everything just made sense for us to respond to the need by opening a clinic there.” 

“What was happening is that[clients] weren't doing routine testing, Tobe continued. “They were coming in for treatment which means they're having symptoms. They had to be seen right away. So, it wasn't just regular asymptomatic testing. We also identified through trends that the majority of new HIV cases were in people living under 200% of the federal poverty level. So, we also knew then that there was a cost barrier that may be preventing people in our community from accessing a clinic.” 

At the new Indio clinic, “the patient will be able to come in, they'll be able to see our clinicians... and then they'll be able to get their medication right there too,” said Tobe. “They don't have to go across the street or down the road and maybe run into their cousin or, you know, something like that.” 

Another barrier to service is the discomfort that often accompanies talk of sexuality. “There is a lot of stigma and shame attached to sexual wellness specifically in the Latino community in Indio,” said Tobe. “We're hoping, when we open the doors, that we start reaching the community and establishing trust with people.”   

Part of establishing that trust included enlisting Cruz and Rivera to create the serene scene on the walls of the clinic’s waiting room. “I think once the community learns that Cece and her team created this beautiful mural in the clinic, that it will be welcoming and representative of the community, [it will start] building that trust,” said Tobe. 

While Tobe picked the color palette and some elements for the wall-sized painting, Cruz and Rivera had artistic license to design the rest.  “Both of us are very grateful for how much freedom we've had with this mural,” said Rivera.  “We've been really appreciative of the fact that CJ has been completely open to the ideas and our styles.” 

The scene features a wide range of colors – from browns and blues to pinks and purples - that can often be found in a desertscape. “It's not super bright. It stands out, but it's not aggressive,” said Rivera. Added Cruz, “It’s warm but it’s not dull.  It’s not muted.” 

The overall design concept was a collaborative process. “I really wanted to incorporate that feeling of not just the desert with the fields and the community and the people but also that feeling of nurturing with the tree and the Mother Earth,” said Cruz.  “And so that was my idea of the part that I had sketched.” 

“I really like cactuses,” added Rivera. “I feel like they're a symbol of home. I think that [they are] especially familiar.” 

“We put together sketches but then we got community input as to which sketch, they wanted to go with,” Rivera explained. “We submitted three different sketches and then put them online and asked, ‘okay, which ones do you guys like better? Or do you want them all included?’ And everybody decided they wanted all of them. So now we've done a mixture of the three.” 

Connecting with community is key to how both Cruz and Rivera work. “I think the rapport that we've been able to build with the community, throughout our mural painting is that people enjoy visually what it is that we've created so it's not going to be taken likely, Rivera said. “They trust us, and we trust them. It's mutual.” 

“When I think about the hopes are that people see it and they feel just warm and welcomed and peace and it's familiar. Like whatever fear and anxieties anybody might be feeling, when they see it, they're like, ‘oh, okay,’ and kind of take a deep breath and say ah,” Cruz said demonstrating a stress-releasing exhalation. 

“We wanted it to feel very welcoming,” she added. “You walk in and you're just like, oh, okay, I feel good here.” 

Indio artists Cecelia Cruz and Evelyn Sogia Rivera, designed the new community mural in the Indio Sexual Wellness Clinic. 


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.  


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 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.   


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.


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.  


“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)  

Meet Carol Wood

Meet Carol Wood  

 5-minutes with DAP Health’s Chief of Clinical Operations at DAP Health  


Carol Wood is the Chief of Clinical Operations at DAP Health.  A registered nurse, Wood had a long career in healthcare leadership before joining DAP Health in 2017.

Born in Canada, Wood moved with her family to California when she was 3 years old.  She grew up in Whittier and moved to Hemet in 1989. While raising her two children, Wood held executive leadership positions in acute care, skilled nursing, home health, hospice, and graduate medical education. 

What she likes most about working at DAP Health. 

To me, there are so many opportunities for us to help our patients. I learn something every day.  There is some amazing work being done, things I didn’t even know about until I started working here.  I still have some empty file cards in my head so until they are all filled up, I’ll just keep working. If I wasn’t working at DAP Health, I’d be retired, but I love what I’m doing here. 

When she’s not at DAP Health. 

I’m basically a homebody.  I love to read, listen to music, and be with my family.  My daughter had our first grandchild in March so I look forward to spending time with my granddaughter, but I like to read. I read a lot. I remember my son saying to me, “You know why I like to read books?  It’s like watching a movie in your head.”  And I said, yeah! 

Her favorite book. 

I’ve probably read every book James Mitchner ever wrote but Hawaii is my all-time favorite. I’ve read it 3 times. 

Her personal philosophy. 

I’ve had a theory for many, many years: If my worrying cannot effect change, then I’m not going to worry about it.  Then all I’ll get is a headache. What’s the point of fussing and worrying and fretting over something you cannot change? So, figure out how you can deal with it. Is it that important? If I can make a difference and it’s worth me fretting, then I will fret and I will make a difference. 

Her dream career. 

I would’ve been a singer.  I did some semi-professional singing with the Chorale Bel Canto which still performs around Southern California. I also sang in the Whittier High School Cardinal Ensemble.  I won Outstanding Female Vocalist and earned the Bank of America Achievement Award in music in my senior year. The thing with music for me is that almost every song reminds me of something. It takes me back to either a moment or a place or an experience or a time.   Music can be very meaningful.  It can make you laugh. It can make you cry.  I have an hour's drive [to and from DAP health] so I just keep the music going all the way there and all the way home.   


Her Ideal escape. 

I love the mountains.  I don’t like hot weather at all.  I love cold weather.  My bucket list trip is an Alaskan cruise.  I’d also love to take the train ride across Canada. I really want to do that.  

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.  

DAP Health Celebrates Vision Forward Don …

DAP Health Ends Season with Double Ribbon-Cutting

Some 200 invited Partners for Life members gather to celebrate the expansion made possible by the ongoing Vision Forward campaign

By Daniel Vaillancourt

DAP Health hosted a season-closing event at its Palm Springs campus on the evening of May 4. Invited guests included some 200 members of the popular Partners for Life donor program, who not only witnessed a double ribbon-cutting but saw with their own eyes the considerable progress that’s been made in the organization’s physical expansion over the last year through contributions to the ongoing Vision Forward capital campaign.

The affair — which featured cocktails and wine, plus a generous sampling of delicious hors d’oeuvres courtesy, as always, of Jerry Keller’s Lulu Catering — began, appropriately, in the Barbara Keller LOVE Building, which houses mental health services, the dentistry department, and the social services wing. Jerry Keller’s wife Barbara, who passed away in 2019, was a longtime supporter of DAP Health, and served as the president of its board of directors from 2009 to 2019.

Al Jones — whose major gift made the Marc Byrd Mental Health Clinic, named after his late husband, a reality — was the first donor to speak. His heartfelt address was followed by the official ribbon-cutting of that new facility.

“Lance and I were honored to participate in the new mental health clinic, as the need is so great for our community,” added Scot Karp, speaking on behalf of himself and of his husband. Marc Byrd’s reception area was named thanks to a gift from the pair’s Karp Family Foundation.

Jones and the Karps were followed by Sue Burnside, the donor after whom DAP’s group therapy quarters is named. “I’m so excited,” said Burnside, who benefitted greatly from group therapy as a queer youth, “because I really think people’s lives are going to be changed in this room.”

Also on hand to speak about why they donated to name the social services wing were spouses Karla Kjellin-Elder and Jeff Elder, who impressed upon the assembled group that, since they recently relocated from Orange County to the desert, it was important for them to crystallize their commitment to their newly adopted community.


From there, attendees moved to the recently dedicated Annette Bloch CARE Building, currently home to the Blue, Green, and Yellow Clinics (all devoted to primary care), and soon to welcome the Orange Clinic (sexual health). Prior to the second ribbon-cutting (which marked the recent opening of the Blue and Green Clinics), Dante Noto — whose gift lent his name to the Blue Clinic Bullpen — spoke about his desire to pay tribute to the many doctors, nurses, and staff members who work in tandem every day to care for DAP’s more than 10,000 patients.

Last to speak at the soirée was DAP Health CEO David Brinkman, who thanked the agency’s many benefactors and community supporters for showing their support at special events held throughout the year — from the Desert AIDS Walk in the fall, to February’s Annette Bloch CARE Building dedication, to DAP’s biggest annual fundraiser, April’s The Chase.

In addition to Burnside, the Elders, Jones, the Karps, and Noto, other major donors in attendance included Steve Tobin and Johnny Kruppa of the Grace Helen Spearman Foundation.

Prior to the season-ending get-together, we asked all those who participated in available naming opportunities related to the Vision Forward campaign to tell us, in their own words, why it was important for them to give to DAP Health in the ways they did. Their responses are as follows:


Sue Burnside

The Sue Burnside Group Room

Group therapy harnesses the collective energy of community, and the powerful — indeed, life-changing — knowledge that none of us is alone. There is transformative, healing magic in such knowledge… Bearing gentle witness to the challenges, heartbreaks, highs, and lows of others is therapeutic, both for the listener and for the listened-to. This simple beauty of connection and community — the single most significant healing force in the world — reminds us of our shared human condition and our responsibility to one another. I’m grateful to contribute to such beautiful efforts in this small way.

Dr. Jim Cox

The Yellow Clinic’s Jack Pugh Charitable Trust Chiropractic Suite

It simply feels good to contribute to the well-being of others by giving to an institution that has wisely diversified in order to achieve longevity. As the population of the Coachella Valley continues to expand, there is — and will always be — a shortage of health care providers. We cannot afford to let one institution fail, particularly one that increasingly caters to a demographic being squeezed out by gentrification and rising inflation. Not to mention one that still prides itself on the care for those living with HIV/AIDS, an area where DAP not only has deep roots but, thankfully, the will to never give up.

Karla Kjellin-Elder & Jeff Elder

The Social Services Wing

We are part of this Coachella Valley community and, for us, being part of a community means we help each other. DAP has been making a difference in so many lives for years. We want to help them continue their work. Donating to the social services wing at DAP is our way of helping to make that difference.

Mike Feddersen & Tom McClay

The Blue Clinic Reception Area

Because it’s extremely important to us that quality health care be made available to every person in the Coachella Valley, regardless of ability to pay, we very much wanted to support DAP’s Vision Forward campaign. Blue being our favorite color, we are honored to have our names located on the Blue Clinic Reception Area. We congratulate DAP Health on its many worthwhile endeavors and are thankful to be part of its vision.

Al Jones

The Marc Byrd Mental Health Clinic

In August of 2018, my husband of 26 years, Marc Byrd, died. He’d been HIV positive yet undetectable for 30 years, thanks to his faithfully taking a daily regimen of 19 pills. But a few months prior to his passing — unbeknownst to me — Marc chose to cease medicating himself, the result of severe depression he was so successful at hiding that not even I could fathom the depths of his despair. His immune system plummeted, leading to his body’s inability to fight off pneumonia. Had those of us who loved Marc been aware of his emotional state, we could have urged him to seek and receive the mental health support offered at DAP Health. His life might have been saved. I decided to make a contribution — an investment — in DAP in order to create the Marc Byrd Mental Health Clinic, which will help the organization provide a host of expanded services and treatments that will prevent others from succumbing to hopelessness. 


Scot & Lance Karp

The Mental Health Services Reception Area

With so many of our fellow community members having been so adversely affected by the pandemic, we feel the need for mental health care, support, and services is greater than ever. We’ve always been impressed with the broad-based portfolio of healing DAP Health provides, and admire the awareness, expertise, and stability brought by the organization’s long history with our community. We are not only honored to be able to support mental health wellness; we feel it’s our obligation. Through our continued involvement, we sincerely hope many others may be inspired to contribute what they can.

Dante Noto

The Blue Clinic Clinical Bullpen

As a long-term HIV survivor, I was moved to make a legacy gift to DAP Health to honor friends, past and present, living and dying with HIV/AIDS. Members of the LGBT community have always stood together to save our own lives. DAP promises the same commitment to the entire desert community. My gift supports the Blue Clinic Clinical Bullpen to honor the tireless health care team at DAP.

Steve Tobin & Johnny Kruppa

The Orange Clinic Reception Area

Because DAP Health’s mission is perfectly aligned with the Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation’s mission of helping to “improve the lives of the needy and less fortunate in our community,” it was imperative that we contribute to DAP’s Vision Forward campaign by naming The Orange Clinic Reception Area after Ms. Spearman in memory of her kind and loving vision.

For more information about DAP Health’s Vision Forward campaign, please contact Director of Development James Lindquist at or 760.656.8413.

Some Enchanted Evening – The Chase …

Some Enchanted Evening 

Broadway alights in the desert for one night to enthrall “The Chase” audience and help DAP Health raise funds for those most in need 

By Daniel Vaillancourt 

After an absence of more than 24 months, DAP Health presented its big annual benefit gala, The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards — rebranded “The Chase” for 2022 — set against the dramatic backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains outside the Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday, April 9. 

With a promise that attendees would “gala like never before,” the evening was indeed a departure from the usual such soirée held during the desert’s high season, starting with a cocktail reception featuring hot and cold hors-d’oeuvres provided by Lynn Toles’s Savoury’s Catering from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., during which more than 1,000 guests mingled with one another — some catching up with friends and acquaintances they’d not seen since the social circuit was abruptly shut down due to COVID in early 2020. All the while, acclaimed trumpeter, songwriter, producer and musical director Spencer Ludwig (a Latin Grammy winner who has performed with Dua Lipa and Harry Styles, but to name two musical megastars) DJ’d on the sun-dappled stage. 

Broadway in the Desert

The entirely al fresco affair kicked off in earnest with a short set of show tunes performed by Tony-nominated actor and singer Max von Essen, accompanied on piano by actor, writer, producer, and radio host Seth Rudetsky, affectionately known in theatre circles as the “Mayor of Broadway.” 

That dynamic duo was followed by the trio of gala co-chairs, DAP Health board vice chair Lauri Kibby and fellow board members Kevin Bass and Scott Nevins. Before thanking presenting sponsor Amazon and producing sponsor Eisenhower Health, Bass expressed how overjoyed everyone seemed to be back together again, likening the community to “a tribe, a village.” 

Host Michael Urie — the beloved, award-winning television and stage actor perhaps best known for co-starring in ABC’s “Ugly Betty” from 2006 to 2010 — then took helm of the evening, telling the jubilant crowd how happy he was to “celebrate the invaluable, vital services DAP offers” before revealing his fervent desire to soon serve as someone’s Palm Springs pool boy, a running joke he’d revisit, to hilarious effect, several times throughout the evening.  

CEO David Brinkman appeared next, delivering an impassioned speech in support of the organization’s “Vision Forward: Building for a Healthier Tomorrow” campaign. “So here we are, two years into devastating loss and isolation,” said Brinkman. “It can be exhausting. But it can also remind us of what matters most. It can clarify our vision of how we want to spend our time and resources in the future. Loss can erode our foundation, leaving us teetering, or it can motivate us to build a better and stronger community. I can assure you it’s done the latter for DAP Health.” 

Urging attendees to join the philanthropic effort, he likened DAP’s work to that of weaving a net that’s held up by all for the benefit of those less fortunate. “Getting the care you need and deserve can be out of reach on the best of days,” he continued. “Imagine the added challenges for someone experiencing homelessness, struggling with a mental health challenge, fighting an addiction, facing discrimination, or simply living with the daily stress of poverty. Most of the people we serve face two or more barriers to care at the same time.” 

After underscoring that Vision Forward will enable DAP to go from caring for 10,000 to 25,000 people annually, regardless of HIV status or ability to pay, Brinkman introduced the first of a series of videos highlighting the contributions of the myriad individuals who sustain DAP: its donors, volunteers, and staff members. 

Rudetsky then returned to the stage, this time accompanied by Eden Espinosa — the original understudy for Idina Menzel’s Elphaba in the Broadway production of “Wicked,” who went on to play the role not only on Broadway but in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They brought the house down with their interpretations of “Imagine” and “Defying Gravity.” 

Following that powerful musical interlude, Urie — who pulled double duty by also serving as the offstage voice throughout the show — made a second appearance, bringing veteran auction host Dale Johannes onstage. Together they dispensed a trio of packages, including one that boasted a small fortune of diamonds courtesy of Raju and Jaishri Mehta’s El Paseo Jewelers, that raised a total of nearly $100,000 for DAP. 

Before introducing an Amazon-produced clip showcasing one of the online retailer’s trans employees, Kibby spoke forcefully about how DAP’s focus has shifted in recent years in order to provide an ever-greater umbrella of programs and services. “In fact, one of the groups the non-profit is most determined to bring under its wing is women,” stressed Kibby, “including trans women.” 

Arguably the most moving moment of the night occurred midway, when DAP’s Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Jill Gover introduced a stirring video focusing on David Jervis, a once-suicidal patient who found the will and strength to survive after coming under the care of DAP psychologist Dr. Ryan Halquist. The montage was followed by the surprise appearance of Halquist and Jervis, the latter of whom — through copious heartfelt tears — said, “I am proof positive that DAP doesn’t just change lives. It saves lives. The size of your gift tonight doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you make it — that you do give — because when you do, you help DAP and professionals like Ryan pull people on the brink of the abyss back into the real world, where all of us belong. And for that, we the clients of DAP could not be more eternally grateful.” 

When the “Fund the Need” portion of the evening arrived, Urie and Johannes — thanks to a matching gift of $250,000 from longtime desert philanthropist Mark Adams — raised more than $600,000. On. The. Spot. 

Inaugural DAP Health Equity Award

Next, presenting DAP’s inaugural Health Equity Award to Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz, Mayor of Palm Springs Lisa Middleton commented that the honoree made great strides in Washington not only to call out inequality in health care, but to rectify those injustices. “When COVID struck the Coachella Valley head-on more than two years ago, it was Dr. Ruiz who obtained much-needed monies for all local health centers,” continued Middleton. “DAP Health received more than $3 million in federal COVID grants thanks to his efforts. And our community benefited, with DAP caring for, testing, and vaccinating 8,000 of us free of charge.” 

In his acceptance speech, Ruiz acknowledged all the friends and familiar faces he has been honored to serve for the last decade in Congress. “In your eyes, I see the struggle for equality and an unparalleled dignity derived from hope,” he said. “In your smiles, I see the sea of change that we have achieved together. And in your stories, I see my story and our common path towards a brighter, healthier future for all.”  

The second and final award of the evening was bestowed upon every member of DAP’s army of nearly 400 valiant volunteers. In accepting on their behalf, Revivals Stores volunteer Barb Fairbairn — who retired a few years ago after a rewarding career in nursing at San Francisco General Hospital, where she worked during the height of the AIDS epidemic — said, “I think I can speak for all of us when I say that when we were told the organization’s volunteers would be honored at this year’s The Chase, our first thought was ‘Why us?’ We don’t do what we do because we want recognition … We do the work of volunteering because we feel we’ve been very fortunate in our own lives and we want to pay that forward. We do the work because it’s the right thing to do as human beings living in this world in these crazy times.” 

Dancing to Deborah Cox

Urie and Nevins closed out the evening by announcing that more than one million dollars had been raised for DAP over the last few hours. They then yielded the spotlight to Deborah Cox, a Grammy-nominated singer and actress best known not only for her Broadway turns in musicals such as “Aida,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” and “The Bodyguard” but for her chart-topping pop, dance, and R&B hits. The star capped her 30-minute set with a rousing rendering of her best-known smash, “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” which got virtually every member of the audience on their feet to dance the night away. As irresistible as its beat is, the song’s statement was somewhat misleading. In fact, everyone was absolutely supposed to be there, because DAP’s reimagining of “The Chase” for 2022 was — in a word, and in every possible way — triumphant. 


Full disclosure: Daniel Vaillancourt is the longtime scriptwriter of The Chase, having written the show since 2011. 

Wellness as a Way of Life

Wellness as a Way of Life


Words by Lawrence Karol

DAP Health’s mission is to enhance and promote the health and well-being of the community. But there’s a lot more behind that effort than just providing primary and specialty medical care. From acupuncture to urban yoga, DAP Health has a whole host of wellness programs that address every aspect of its patients’ lives — whether it’s physical, spiritual, emotional, or intellectual — and help patient health outcomes.

“Our wellness services offer a spectrum of complementary and alternative wellness programming,” says Cory Lujan, DAP Health’s client wellness manager. “Our goal is to support conventional and routine medical care. Services such as yoga, chair massage, and acupuncture specifically help with pain management and stress, anxiety, and a host of other ailments.”

Harvard Health Publishing, which is the consumer health education division of Harvard Medical School, notes that yoga, in particular, “promotes physical health in multiple different ways. Some of them derive from better stress management. Others come more directly from the physical movements and postures in yoga, which help promote flexibility and reduce joint pain.”

At DAP Health, Kristin Olson’s Urban Yoga Studio is located in the main building. (Olson has owned her yoga studio for

decades and employs many yoga instructors.) There are three weekly classes that are ideal for beginners or those with decreased mobility. The classes are free for DAP patients, while there is a fee for the general public.

Despite being less well-known than yoga, DAP Health’s sound bath classes have also developed a devoted following. Like yoga, sound bath sessions can help reduce anxiety and stress — and, despite their name, they do not involve water or a bathtub. Lujan explains that sound bath is a music meditation where the attendees are immersed in the sound of various frequencies of singing bowls. “Our Reiki specialist, Sarah Stern, leads the sound bath and uses multiple instruments, including gongs, rain drums, and chimes.”

Speaking of Reiki, this Japanese energy-healing technique is another patient wellness program that helps with stress reduction, relaxation, and also promotes healing. “It’s very popular among those who are into spirituality,” says Lujan. “The Reiki practitioner does not touch her patient. She uses energy healing to realign the body’s energy. Patients usually report the same feelings as that of meditation and they come out feeling spiritually moved and some are in tears.”

If all these wellness programs leave you primed to take on more activities, be sure to check out the wide variety of other events offered at DAP Health — everything from a knitting group to a book club to the Soles on Sunrise walking group.

For questions about DAP Health wellness services, contact the Wellness Center Administrative Assistant at 760.323.2118.

More Healing with Chiropractic

More Healing with Chiropractic 

DAP Health added a new doctor to its Chiropractic team, a move to make it easier for patients to get care. Alyssa Romero, DC, brings clinical expertise with a background in sports medicine, and a passion to help people heal in a community setting. 

“We're confident Dr. Romero coming on board will alleviate some of the scheduling pressure and shorten wait times,” says Dr. Jim Cox, head of DAP Health Chiropractic Clinic.  

Dr. Romero’s work first impressed Dr. Cox when they worked together in the mobile Chiropractic Clinic during AIDS/LifeCycle. 

Both were part of the medical team monitoring more than 2,500 cyclists and an additional 600 roadies as they completed the 545-mile journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Set up at various checkpoints along the way, they needed to be ready for anything. 

Dr. Romero handled a lot of patient intake.  

“It's a daunting task that she handled with professionalism and grace,” says Dr. Cox. “Always a smile on her face, expressing genuine concern for anyone's needs.” 

The experience at AIDS/LifeCycle showed that Dr. Romero is suited for the patient-focused care that DAP Health provides. 

“I noticed her immediate grasp of any job at hand and the ability to connect with people, “ says Dr. Cox.She'll do just fine in the busy setting that DAP can often be.” 

Dr. Romero described how her experience with Dr. Cox during AIDS/LifeCycle made her want to work with him full time.   

A cyclist hobbled over to our treatment tent in quite a bit of distress and needed treatment immediately, she says.  

“We rushed him back and Dr. Cox actually worked on his lower back in order to get him out of the acute pain so he could ride that day,” says Dr. Romero.  

“He is one of the most caring people I have met, and he genuinely loves to help patients get better,” she says. “He brings a smile and laughter to work, and that energy is what made me want to work alongside him at DAP Health.” 

The level of help DAP gives its patients and clients also was a motivator for Dr. Romero. A surprise to many, DAP helps with food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and ongoing health care.  

“I was like, I want to be a part of that too!” she says.  

A Coachella Valley native, Dr. Romero is putting her sports medicine expertise to good use to help non-athletes make their bodies function better.  

I might not be doing sports-related things here in this office, but I still have to teach patients how to properly sit, to stand and have form,” she says.  

For her patients who are piecing together how to embrace living without masks and getting more exercise, she has sound advice.  

“It is important to remember to listen to your body, gradually increase your activity level, find an exercise activity you love and simply do it more.” 

DAP Health patients can request chiropractic appointments on MyChartor by calling (760) 323-2118. 

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 or call or text 415-547-0486.