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Desert Care Network Donates $2.5 Million …

DESERT CARE NETWORK DONATES $2.5 MILLION TO DAP HEALTH IN SUPPORT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The generous gift, part of DAP Health’s Vision Forward campus expansion, will go toward programs and services for residents of the organization’s second on-campus housing complex, Vista Sunrise II, enabling residents to access lifesaving care in their own backyard.

 

Desert Care Network (DCN) continues its longstanding support of DAP Health with a significant $2.5 million contribution toward the nonprofit’s Vision Forward campus expansion campaign and soon-to-be-unveiled affordable housing complex, Vista Sunrise II. The generous gift reflects DCN’s dedication to addressing the needs of the diverse communities both organizations serve. This commitment will help provide equitable housing solutions for individuals facing challenges such as homelessness and chronic illnesses.

“At Desert Care Network, we are deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of all residents in the Coachella Valley,” says Desert Regional Medical Center & Desert Care Network CEO Michele Finney. “Our 40-year partnership with DAP Health, and this donation toward its Palm Springs campus expansion, focus on much-needed affordable housing, and align perfectly with our mission to provide comprehensive care to our most vulnerable residents. To support the health of our entire community, we know we are better together.”

“Thank you, Desert Care Network, for understanding — as we do — that housing is health care,” adds DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “Together, we are transforming lives and building a healthier, more compassionate community. By focusing on health equity and social drivers of health, we highlight the connection between housing and superior health outcomes. The ability of Vista Sunrise II residents, most of whom have no means of reliable transportation, to access primary and mental health care — not to mention wraparound social services such as nutrition, health education, and so much more — within a short walk next door is a game-changer for some of our most marginalized neighbors.”

Vista Sunrise II, a collaborative effort between DAP Health and developer Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, will provide affordable housing while incorporating thoughtful design elements and sustainable construction practices. This innovative project will feature 61 units, with 30 dedicated to rapid rehousing for individuals experiencing homelessness and 30 units allocated to those with chronic illnesses and/or low incomes. Key features include:

Thoughtfully Designed Living Spaces: The units will offer a variety of configurations, including one- and two-bedroom layouts, with a housing manager’s home also onsite. Each unit has been designed to prioritize comfort and functionality, featuring large windows for natural daylight, office nooks for work-from-home opportunities, and mobility-accessible options for residents with special needs.

Sustainable Construction Practices: The project incorporates environmentally friendly practices such as density housing on an existing site to minimize land clearing, “cool roof” materials to reduce energy costs, and all-electric appliances to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, carports with solar panels will offset the complex’s power grid electrical needs, further enhancing its sustainability.

Unique Amenities: Vista Sunrise II offers a range of amenities to foster community engagement and well-being, including rooftop terraces with mountain views, outdoor courtyards, a community center for gatherings and learning, and on-site case management services for residents. The proximity to DAP Health programs and services, grocery stores, shops, and an adjacent park will encourage residents to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.

Vista Sunrise II represents a beacon of affordable housing innovation, combining compassionate care with sustainable practices to create a thriving community for all residents. With Desert Care Network’s generous contribution, this project will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals and families in Palm Springs for decades to come.

 

About DAP Health

DAP Health, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2024, is an internationally renowned humanitarian health care organization and federally qualified health center (FQHC) whose goal is to protect and expand health care access for all people — especially the disenfranchised — regardless of who or where they are, their health status, or whether they have health insurance.
 
In 2023, the nonprofit made a successful bid to absorb the Borrego Health system, enabling its 950 employees to serve more than 85,000 patients of all populations, genders, and ages — from newborns to seniors — at a total of 25 Southern California clinics located within 240 rural and urban zip codes from the Coachella Valley to the San Diego coast.

For years, DAP Health’s programs and services have included primary care, infectious diseases, gender-affirming care, LGBTQ+ care, mental health, dentistry, harm reduction, recovery services, affordable housing, social services, and HIV prevention, testing, and treatment. The additional disciplines now under its vast umbrella include family medicine, women’s health (including OB-GYN), pediatrics, veterans’ health, geriatrics, urgent care, and pharmacy services.

The organization was founded as Desert AIDS Project in 1984 by a group of volunteers. Thanks to nearly 40 years of experience caring for those affected not only by the HIV epidemic but by various other public health emergencies (COVID-19, mpox), DAP Health has the physical and intellectual resources, the drive, and — most importantly — the vision to effect even greater change by positively impacting its diverse patient populations’ social drivers of health (SDOH).
 
According to the World Health Organization, SDOH are “the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.”
 
The next epidemic hasn’t surfaced — yet. But just as DAP Health met earlier community health crises decisively and successfully, its experts stand at the ready.

 

About Vision Forward

Vision Forward is DAP Health’s 10-year strategic plan that will see the organization grow from serving 10,000 individuals annually today at its Sunrise campus to 25,000 patients and clients a year by 2025. So far, this broadminded expansion has encompassed:

  • The purchase of the Annette Bloch CARE Building and the opening of its three clinics.
  • The opening of a DAP Health sexual wellness clinic in Palm Springs.
  • Construction of Vista Sunrise II, which will feature 61 new units of affordable housing, to be completed in the second quarter of 2024.

Still to come is the Tenet Health Pavilion, a structure that will bridge the Barbara Keller LOVE Building and the Annette Bloch CARE Building, and which will include:

  • A transit- and pedestrian-friendly pathway.
  • A central registration area for all patient services.
  • A cafe open to the public that will be staffed and managed by clients of DAP Health’s Return-to-Work program.

 

About Desert Care Network

Desert Care Network is your health care resource in the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin regions of Southern California. We are three hospitals: Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio, and Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree. Working together, we bring advanced health care to our communities.

We operate a Level 1 trauma center at Desert Regional, the highest possible. And Level 4 trauma centers at JFK and Hi-Desert.

We have created a network of stroke-ready hospitals, anchored by Desert Regional Medical Center — our valley’s only nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center — and supported by the primary stroke center at JFK and the certified stroke-ready hospital at Hi-Desert.

Desert Regional is home to the only Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for newborns in the Coachella Valley. We also operate a hospital-based clinic that provides high-risk care for expectant moms.

DCN has an unwavering commitment to our community. We train the next generations of physicians through our residency program, and those doctors staff mobile clinics that provide services to the underserved, unhoused, and refugee populations across the desert.

DCN provides over a hundred million dollars in free and discounted health care to patients in need each year. In the last three decades, we have given millions of dollars in charitable donations and sponsorships to local organizations, including DAP Health, FIND Food Bank, the Women Leaders Forum, Volunteers in Medicine, and many more.

We are dedicated, driven, and proud to serve the health care needs of the Coachella Valley, the Morongo Basin, and everyone who visits our desert.

 

About Coachella Valley Housing Coalition

The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition was founded in 1982 by a group of community advocates, the local community, and business leaders, to address the substandard living conditions farmworkers and other low-income persons were enduring in the Eastern Coachella Valley.

Their innate sense of compassion for the human condition inspired them to help hundreds of families move out of inadequate living conditions — which included makeshift power poles in unpermitted mobile home parks, contaminated drinking water, and other crude housing additions made of cardboard — into safe, decent, and affordable housing. With a $10,000-dollar seed grant from the Aetna Foundation, the board of directors established the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC).

Today, CVHC is an award-winning tax-exempt 501 (c)(3), nonprofit affordable housing development organization that has been named amongst the Top 50 Affordable Housing Developers in the country. Every CVHC housing community is built with a solid commitment to partnerships, vision, and extensive community planning. CVHC is a Neighbor Works® America chartered member and a Rural LISC partner. It has developed affordable housing throughout Riverside and Imperial Counties, and has developed more than 5,000 multi-family and single-family residences, making it the largest affordable housing developer in Riverside County.

Key Programs

Rental Housing: Through its Multi-Family Housing Development department, CVHC builds affordable rental housing for working families (in hospitality, retail, and health care), farmworkers, retired farmworkers, migrant farmworkers, veterans, and families/individuals with special needs — the elderly, people with disabilities, and chronic illnesses. With more than 41 affordable rental communities totaling 2,953 units developed throughout Riverside County, CVHC offers an array of housing options for renters who are looking for a steppingstone to homeownership, or who are in need of affordable rental housing. CVHC is proud to partner with DAP Health on the development and operations of Vista Sunrise II, a 61-unit special needs development located in the city of Palm Springs. The development will include 29 units for chronically homeless individuals and 31 units for chronic illnesses. The Vista Sunrise II development will be CVHC’s fifth special needs development constructed in Riverside County.

Homeownership Through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program: Since 1989, CVHC has been helping families fulfill their dream of homeownership. Creating affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income families is a part of CVHC’s mission. The mutual self-help housing program means homes are built in part by homeowners. In the mutual self-help program, families work together and collectively build each other’s homes by using their sweat equity in place of a down payment.    Mutual self-help housing essentially builds communities based on a shared commitment of hard work, mutual support, and lifelong bonds. CVHC is the largest mutual self-help developer in the nation. To date, over 2,160 single-family homes have been constructed throughout Riverside and Imperial counties.

Community Engagement: CVHC also provides enrichment and educational programs at its Multi-Family developments. These include early childhood education centers, afterschool kids clubs, computer Instruction + technology centers, ballet folklorico dance instruction, mariachi music instruction, alternative high school diploma and GED programs for adults, community gardens + wellness for seniors, health and wellness educational classes + events, and English as a second language.

John F. Mealey College Scholarship Fund: In 2020, CVHC created the JFM Scholarship Fund in honor of its founding executive director. The scholarship is awarded annually to students living in CVHC developments who are seeking a higher education at any accredited college, university, or vocation school. To date, more than $962,000 in scholarships have been awarded, benefiting more than 889 students, supporting their dreams, and helping them persevere to complete their degrees.

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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Mon …

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Here’s the 101 so that you can keep yourself and those you love safe.

Words by David Russo

 

“Colon cancer is the battle we can win with early detection and regular screening.”

                                                                                                               — Unknown

DAP Health’s Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Silas Gyimah is fond of that inspiring citation of unknown derivation. As the founder of the Palm Springs-based, queer-led nonprofit Cheeky Charity — whose mission is to facilitate colorectal and anal cancer prevention, early detection, and support, with a focus on the young and LGBTQ+ populations — so am I.

“At every visit, we verify records to see if a patient is due for a screening,” Gyimah says. “If they are, we schedule them, focusing on FIT [fecal immunochemical test] and colonoscopies as our primary screening methods. This is a true implementation of the quote above.” 

Let’s delve more deeply into this largely preventable and curable disease.

 

Colorectal Health: Understanding and Prevention

Colorectal cancer (CRC), once predominantly a concern for older adults, is now increasingly affecting younger individuals. This shift necessitates a renewed focus. Understanding the nuances of colorectal health is vital for individuals of all ages.

 

Understanding Colorectal Cancer

CRC originates in the colon or rectum, part of the digestive system. It usually begins as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time, some of these polyps can become colon cancers.

 

Symptoms To Be Aware Of

CRC might not cause symptoms right away, but if they occur, they may include changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, a feeling that the bowel doesn’t empty completely, weakness or fatigue, and unexplained weight loss. It’s important to consult a health care provider if any of these symptoms are experienced.

 

Risk Factors

Certain factors increase the risk of developing CRC. These include older age, a personal or family history of CRC or colorectal polyps, inflammatory intestinal conditions, a low-fiber/high-fat diet, a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and alcohol use. Genetics also play a role, with some inherited genes increasing the risk.

 

Prevention Strategies

Prevention of CRC starts with lifestyle changes. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — and low in red and processed meats — can reduce risk. Regular physical activity is crucial. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, and moderating alcohol consumption are also recommended.

 

The Importance of Screening

Screening for CRC is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing the disease. It’s generally recommended to begin screening at age 45. Screening can find precancerous polyps, which can be removed before they turn into cancer. For people at higher risk, such as those with a family history, screening may be recommended earlier.

 

Navigating the Rising Trend in Young Adults

The rising incidence of CRC among young adults is a complex issue that involves a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. It’s important for young adults to:

  • Be aware of their family history.
  • Minimize known risks.
  • Incorporate healthy preventative habits into their lifestyle.
  • Regularly check for symptoms.
  • Discuss screenings with their health care providers if they have risk factors.

 

Conclusion

As our understanding of colorectal health evolves, it becomes clear that CRC is not just a concern for the elderly. The increase in cases among younger adults emphasizes the importance of awareness and proactive health measures across all age groups. Through lifestyle modifications, regular screening, and early detection, the impact of CRC can be significantly reduced.

 

Resources

Colorectal Cancer Alliance, colorectalcancer.org

American Cancer Society, cancer.org/cancer/types/colon-rectal-cancer

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal

Cheeky Charity, cheekycharity.org

 

In a partnership between DAP Health and Cheeky Charity — and in honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month — 50 eye-catching banners will be flown throughout downtown Palm Springs during March to help raise awareness and reduce stigma.

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.    

 

 

Coping with the Holiday Blues in 2020

Coping with the Holiday Blues in 2020  

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

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

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

Get started by acknowledging your feelings. 

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

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

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

It’s important to express your sad feelings.  

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

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

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

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

Things to keep in mind: 

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

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

Set Aside Differences 

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

Stick to a budget  

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

Try these alternatives: 

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

Plan Your Holidays 

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

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

Learn to Say No 

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

Set boundaries 

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

Keep healthy habits  

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

  • Get plenty of sleep 
  • Maintain a regular exercise routine  

Don’t Forget Seasonal Affective Disorder  

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

Take a breather—create enough time for self-care.  

Give yourself downtime 

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

About Therapy at DAP 

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

About Dr. Jill Gover 

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

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

About DAP Health Center    

DAP Health Center (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 people, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other health and wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.    

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

Visitwww.desertaidsproject.orgto learn more.    

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Regulating Emotions for Elevating Your M …

Regulating Emotions for Elevating Your Mood  

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

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

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

Technique One: Opposite Action  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Technique TwoVisual Grounding  

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

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

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

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

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

Seniors Need Protection – Less Isolati …

Seniors Need Protection – Less Isolation

Specialists say social isolation can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, but many people over age 65 in our community are trapped with long-term social seclusion, worsened by this pandemic. We’ve created a medical home for them, with specialized doctors and therapists they can access from home, and a social services team to link them to programs and coverage.  

Seniors make up almost 30 percent of this Valley’s population, about double the national average. Because many already identified as physically vulnerable pre pandemic, seniors are experiencing added isolation from adhering to current social distance rules. 

As the length of this pandemic takes a toll on even the most resilient seniors, advocates like Dr. Jill Gover, our behavioral health manager contributed to a story in The Desert Sun:

"(Older people) are not willing to take the risk and so they are much more isolated — it was a major problem to begin with and COVID has only exacerbated it." (read more here)

Get Access To the Care You Need

One Call is a service that can enroll callers in health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California, register them for medical and behavioral healthcare, and schedule their first appointment at DAP — all in approximately 45 minutes. This is a significant reduction in the amount of time this would normally take, thanks to a DAP Healthcare Navigator who will work one-on-one with each caller.

Callers can access One Call service by calling 760-992-0426, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm PDT.

PrEP 2-1-1 During COVID

PrEP 2-1-1 During COVID

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 26, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

New HIV infections are continuing in our Valley, and years of our work to reverse this trend are in danger unless we offer the public every prevention method we can.

Most of our clients who are using PrEP to prevent HIV are on the daily dose, and this remains the most effective regiment. For a few, daily dosing is not an option, and we believe in making this lifesaving therapy available to them.

Clinical data indicates that while daily PrEP has shown to be 99% effective in preventing HIV, PrEP 2-1-1 has been shown to be up to 86% effective. 

With medication delivery, telephone consults, and sanitized stations for periodic STI testing, clients are preventing HIV while being safely served. You can learn more here.

Seniors Need Protection--Less Isolation

Specialists say social isolation can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, but many people over age 65 in our community are trapped with long-term social seclusion, worsened by this pandemic. We’ve created a medical home for them, with specialized doctors and therapists they can access from home, and a social services team to link them to programs and coverage.  

Seniors make up almost 30 percent of this Valley’s population, about double the national average. Because many already identified as physically vulnerable pre pandemic, seniors are experiencing added isolation from adhering to current social distance rules. 

As the length of this pandemic takes a toll on even the most resilient seniors, advocates like Dr. Jill Gover, our behavioral health manager contributed to a story in The Desert Sun:

"(Older people) are not willing to take the risk and so they are much more isolated — it was a major problem to begin with and COVID has only exacerbated it." (read more here)

Untreated HIV Still A Threat

We hope these numbers do not increase as the economy suffers, but people are still developing and dying from AIDS in 2020, right here in the Coachella Valley. Staying in treatment for HIV is not easy for many, but our medical team has the expertise and heart to help anyone re-enter care without judging them.

Our early intervention program had 160 referrals for attempts to find patients who had stopped filling their ART prescriptions, ceasing their HIV treatment without explanation. (Based on calendar year 2019) You can read more here about our work to make sure anyone needing HIV treatment can get it quickly.

Flu Vaccination at DAP Suggested by Octo …

Flu Vaccination at DAP Suggested by October 1, 2020

Media Contact:
Jack Bunting
[email protected]
(760) 323-2118

Easy Flu Shots Protect All Season Long

Now is the time to schedule a flu shot with your DAP doctor by logging onto MyChart, or by calling (760) 323-2118.

Flu season starts in late fall, and getting your vaccination is recommended by October 1, 2020.

Why Is A Flu Shot So Important?

By missing a flu shot, as many as 50 million Americans may catch influenza this year, but now it can be much deadlier. Serious complications from the flu are deadly enough to kill over 34,000 people in the U.S. every year. (CDC)

Experts warn that it is possible to catch the flu on top of a COVID, but a flu shot makes a huge difference.

Everyone should get a flu shot, but especially if they are 65 years and older or living with:

    • HIV/AIDS
    • diabetes
    • heart disease
    • serious overweight issue (40 BMI)
    • HCV
    • cancer

Flu season often is delayed in Southern California, meaning we see cases peak in January through February. DAP is timing its flu shots so that patients retain immunity during peak months.

Questions About Flu? Call Us!

Our COVID Clinic also specializes in multiple upper and lower respiratory diseases, including flu. Anyone interested in talking about the flu should call 760-992-0407 to talk to a clinician.

If you have the flu

It is important to seek immediate care from your DAP doctor for flu-like symptoms by logging onto MyChart, or by calling (760) 323-2118.

You can also call our COVID Clinic to discuss your symptoms and find out if our respiratory treatment options are right for you.

Treatment provided for upper and lower respiratory infections at DAP’s COVID Clinic includes:

    • Oxygen Therapy for patients who have lower than normal levels
    • Nebulizer treatments to open airways and address shortness of breath
    • IV Fluids for dehydration
    • Fever control with medication
    • Community Acquired Pneumonia Treatment – Injection of antibiotics and ability to prescribe medications to our DAP Walgreens (overnight home delivery available)
    • Influenza A & B testing and treatment
    • Strep Throat testing and treatment

If you have HIV, you are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. In addition to taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), the best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu shot. 

Check-in with your doctor about other shots you might need

Depending on your age and certain risk factors, other immunizations may be needed. This is a good time to make sure you are current on immunizations by discussing it with your doctor (examples include bacterial Pneumonia and Hepatitis vaccines).

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About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit www.desertaidsproject.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

Get Access To the Care You Need

One Call is a service that can enroll callers in health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California, register them for medical and behavioral healthcare, and schedule their first appointment at DAP — all in approximately 45 minutes. This is a significant reduction in the amount of time this would normally take, thanks to a DAP Healthcare Navigator who will work one-on-one with each caller.

Callers can access One Call service by calling 760-992-0426, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm PDT.

Sexual Health Clinic - Palm Springs

1695 N. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 AM (Closed for lunch from noon-1:00 PM)

Call 760-992-0492 to schedule an appointment.

To reach our after-hours answering service, please call (760) 323-2118.

Hope is Theme of Desert AIDS Walk 2020

Hope is Theme of Desert AIDS Walk 2020  

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 12, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

HIV remains a substantial threat to public health in the Coachella Valley, and we are not letting COVID distract us from vigorously fighting it 

As we test more new positive cases, we are stepping forward and evolving our programs to test, treat, and prevent HIV in the age of COVID. 

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is more important now than ever. You can find out more at  www.DesertAIDSWalk.org.  

The reason for the Walk has never really been about balloon arches or walker t-shirts. It’s always been about the collective power of community and our shared vision of a future where everyone has the comprehensive care that they need to live their best lives. 

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is an important funding source for programs and services that help people thrive with HIV, while preventing new cases in our valley. It also supports Hepatitis C cures, behavioral health services, dentistry, food, housing, and other vital services. 

This year we are making it easy and fun for Valley residents to participate with downloadable walk routes, specialized for safe walking in their cities. We’re also including an online wellness forum that will provide entertainment and more about DAP’s programs and services, dedicated community sponsors, and the extended work of its partners. Registration and more information is available at www.DesertAIDSWalk.org.  

DAP Talks  

Suicide Prevention 

Preventing suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic is a major concern for mental health advocates everywhere. DAP’s Dr. Jill GoverBehavioral Health Manageraddressed the warning signs and other important information we all should be aware of in her latest DAP Talks. You can listen here.  

If you or someone you know needs to talk to a specialist about suicide, please don’t wait. The following services are availableday and night: 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255.  

Riverside County HELPline, a free confidential crisis suicide intervention service (951) 686-HELP (4357). 

DAP In The News 

No matter what health profile we fit, it’s important to stay engaged in our healthcare during this crisis. Dr. Tulika Singh talked to The Standard about the top four neglected health habits she notices in her patients, plus realistic fixes for better outcomes. You can read more here. 

DAP Patients Will Get HIV Meds Quicker U …

DAP Patients Will Get HIV Meds Quicker Under New Rapid ART Program

Media Contact:
Jack Bunting
[email protected]
(760) 323-2118

Palm Springs, CA (September 3, 2020) -- DAP has reached an important milestone in the fight to end HIV, winning designation as a Rapid ART Implementation Site, standing with just 10 other healthcare organizations in the U.S. The Award for Special Projects Of National Significance was won in a competitive grant process and is bestowed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

By joining this national demonstration project and collaboration with HRSA, DAP will share its 36 years of experience in the fight to end HIV, and it will boost resources for its HIV testing and treatment programs for people in the Coachella Valley.

For a three-year period, DAP will continue to build and share its best practices for making sure PLWHA receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) quickly after receiving an initial HIV diagnosis, or immediately after requesting it if they had stopped ART for any reason.

It’s a surprise to many, but people are still developing and even dying from AIDS in 2020, right here in the Coachella Valley. Our early intervention program had 160 referrals for attempts to find patients who had stopped filling their ART prescriptions, ceasing their HIV treatment without explanation. (Based on calendar year 2019)

Falling through the cracks means that some patients whose bodies had stabilized with life-saving HIV meds have stopped taking them, sometimes for five years or more. And for others, it means not starting therapy at all after receiving an HIV diagnosis.

Without accessing care, they are waiting until they are sick from HIV-related illnesses before attempting to resume ART and primary care.

Waiting to begin or resume ART always leaves a dangerous gap of time that could result in catastrophe, such as failing to ever adhere to medication therapy, or even death. Another consequence is the effect on others as sex partners are put at risk for HIV.

This collaboration with HRSA seeks to remedy the problem with a protocol that provides ART ASAP:

  • Same day as HIV diagnosis (some exceptions)
  • Quickly after request is made to resume therapy

The vast majority (about 80 percent) of new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2016 were transmitted from the nearly 40 percent of people with HIV who either did not know they had HIV, or who received a diagnosis but were not receiving HIV care. (CDC)

According to Dr. Tulika Singh, DAP Associate Chief Medical Officer, not all physicians are permitted to treat their patients without administrative obstructions that derail health outcomes.

“Despite having extensive experience in HIV treatment and care, caregivers struggle to reduce high HIV prevalence and rising HIV incidence rates, due to delays in starting ART,” she says. “This is due to previous protocols and practicing traditional HIV medicine,” like having to do unnecessary lab work or jumping through hoops with insurance.

“No more!” says Dr. Singh.

Greater access for ART through this project will be enabled by DAP’s referral and linkage networks, with extensive arrangements with regional medical centers, community clinics and individual providers, in addition to this grant.

“We are able to provide rapid start ART for newly diagnosed persons living with HIV as early as the same day of diagnosis,” she says. “This will help us get to UN 90-90-90 goal sooner than anticipated and help our patients age in a healthy way.”

The Courage To Resume ART
Given what we know about the health consequences of stopping ART, the public health argument is strong for offering the resources to resume therapy quickly and without delay.

When it comes to why people fall out of care, “Every situation is so different,” says C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health at DAP.

Poverty affects most DAP clients, but it affects PLWHA uniquely. They might cope with denial, depression, and suicidal ideation. Stigma is often made worse by rejection from loved ones, and drug and alcohol abuse are more likely to increase.

But other factors may include housing insecurity, unemployment, lack of transportation, and fear of government due to immigration status. Being a recent transplant to the Palm Springs area from other parts of the U.S. also can also be a reason.

“People are also dying by not accessing all the things you need to make the medication keep working,” says Tobe.  “There’s a lot that goes into getting that treatment, starting with walking through those doors.”

In addition to ART, DAP helps patients thrive with HIV with access to social services they are eligible for, ensuring they receive needed food, housing, transportation, and home health care support if they need it.

U=U Helping End The Epidemic

The more people who are on treatment and undetectable, the fewer new transmissions there will be. According to Prevention Access founder Bruce Richman,

“We need access to treatment and removing barriers, not just for the wellbeing of people living with HIV,” he says. “But also, to prevent new transmissions.”

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit www.desertaidsproject.org. 

About U=U & Prevention Access Campaign

Prevention Access Campaign is a health equity initiative to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by empowering people with and vulnerable to HIV with accurate and meaningful information about their social, sexual, and reproductive health. Find out more here.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) is a growing global community of HIV advocates, activists, researchers, and over 990 Community Partners from 102 countries uniting to clarify and disseminate the revolutionary but largely unknown fact that people living with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV.  

About UNAIDS 90-90-90

Removing barriers to ART is in support of UNAIDS 90-90-90, the global plan to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The goal is that globally,

90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, and  

90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and

90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

According to its 2020 update, “the response could be set back further, by 10 years or more, if the COVID-19 pandemic results in severe disruptions to HIV services.”

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