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

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

Uniting for Public Health

Uniting for Public Health  

DAP Health Insights – Monday, April 26, 2021, from David Brinkman, CEO  

Our Health Clinicians Take an Active Role in Wellness  

Spending more time at home during the pandemic means many people are less active. That’s why we’re helping everyone get the message about fitness by spotlighting the personal wellness habits of our clinicians. Each one has a different way of staying active, and all of them want their patients to get the right amount of exercise.   

“Even though it might take some effort to change your lifestyle, especially if you’re living with physical limitations or you’ve been sedentary for a long time, it is so worth the effort because the quality of your life will improve dramatically,” says Dr. Jill Gover, manager of Behavioral Health. Learn more here.   

Pulling Together to Fight Syphilis and HIV   

We were already battling syphilis and HIV epidemics, but pandemic life has caused so many people to avoid testing and treatment that the CDC doesn’t believe new cases will stop anytime soon.   

We offered mobile STI testing and mail-in self-HIV testing early in the pandemic. But it takes working with community partners to really make a difference.   

We are collaborating closely with our ally Planned Parenthood to bring more testing and treatment to everyone in the Coachella Valley, and to create new frameworks for serving our community better. You can read more about the syphilis epidemic and DAP Health’s work with Planned Parenthood in The Desert Sun here.  


Expanded Resource Navigation Offers Hope …

Two Men Reviewing Resources at a Table

Expanded Resource Navigation Offers Hope to More

More people face poverty daily because of this pandemic, and their own fear of seeking assistance threatens them and their communities. DAP Health is taking the stigma out of asking for help with our new Resources Navigator, a service for people who have been affected by COVID and who might not usually be seeking this kind of resource.  

Participants are required to meet just one of the following criteria:

  • Personal health affected by having COVID       
  • Spouse, significant other, or family affected by having COVID
  • Employment or income negatively impacted by COVID

DAP Health will connect participants to the best and most compatible services and programs according to their needs, with community partners that will render the service. For many who are suffering, the greatest barrier can be not knowing about the many services available to help them, offered from several nonprofits and government agencies.

Anyone who is interested should contact Michael Cohan by calling (760) 323-2118 ext. 480 or by e-mailing

It is not necessary to be a patient or client of DAP Health to utilize this new service. Participants will also be able to register for ongoing medical services and behavioral health during their consultation.

“The idea is to be able to connect community members who have been impacted by COVID to services in the community,” said Zayda Weldon, DAP Social Services director. “We will let them know of the available medical and mental health care services we have if they are interested, but our main goal is to assist people impacted with COVID.”

Help accessing food, utilities, and Internet service can make a huge difference for many affected by COVID, who are also experiencing growing job losses. Assistance with unemployment insurance, legal advice and tax services are also resources that people in our community can connect to.

Resource Navigation Can Help Link to These Essentials:

  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Internet Service
  • Rent
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Tax services
  • Legal advice
  • Exercise programs
  • Health insurance or Medi-Cal (including through Covered California)
  • Ongoing medical and behavioral healthcare

About DAP Health

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 9,700 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.     

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

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that DAP exceeds industry standards in terms of financial health, accountability, and transparency.     

Visit to learn more.     

Weekend Wrap Up June 26 2020

Advocating for Safety and Access

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, June 27 From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

Our team has been preparing for this COVID-19 surge since the onset of the crisis in March, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch people suffer and sometimes die from this virus.

In the last week, we have seen more positive COVID-19 test results in our clinic than in the previous ten weeks combined. And unfortunately, we expect this to continue upwards.

All people in California are now required by law to wear face coverings in most public indoor settings, plus in other situations where exposure is likely. Read our Surge Warning here.

We know that wearing face coverings and social distancing work to prevent new transmissions, and we urge everyone in our community to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Coachella Valley.

Help Spread The Message Of Health Advocacy

We’ve created colorful digital graphics that we invite everyone to download and use on their social media channels, to remind everyone they know about COVID-19 safety. Download them here.

Antibody Testing At FIND’s Free Community Mobile Market food distribution

Many in our community face food insecurity, and it’s been made much worse by this health crisis. Partnering with FIND Food Bank has been a great way for us to make sure anyone in our community can have access to nutritious food to build resiliency.

Our Community Health team’s experience and data told us that providing COVID-19 antibody testing to people where they live would be adding another valuable option for managing their health and safety.

DAP’s Mobile Testing Van was offering AB testing at FIND’s free Community Mobile Market food distribution at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center on Thursday. The team also offered HIV and HCV testing, plus information on getting help with insurance and healthcare at DAP.

National HIV Testing Day is Today

HIV and STIs haven’t taken a break during this health crisis. As we mark National HIV Testing Day, we continue to engage our community about keeping up-to-date on sexual health in this new normal. 

HIV testing onsite at DAP continues in a safe and clean environment, and we also offer free at-home testing via mail. The syndemic nature of HIV and STIs means that testing for both is always a good idea. Our three-point STI testing gives reliable results without clients having to wait as long in the waiting area. Anyone can get more information by calling (760) 992-0492.

DAP Transgender Healthcare Is Here To Stay

Thanks to our own state’s insurance practices and civil rights law, transgender people are not facing any interruptions in services or care at DAP, and we are committed to keeping it that way.

Anthony Velasco, Co-Chair of DAP’s Transgender Health Program recently gave some insight on how we all have an opportunity to be better allies to our transgender siblings, including why pronouns matter. Read more here.

Advocating for Safety and Giving Back: Shop For A Cause

Palm Springs retailers pulled together to help DAP by sharing 10% of proceeds from Thursday and Friday sales. All of these businesses have something in common—all are committed to maintaining strict safety guidelines for customers and workers.

We must mitigate risks when it comes to avoidable exposure to COVID-19. We are thankful these businesses are innovating with approaches like contactless deliveries, curbside pickup, and physical distancing. Caring about each other this way is what makes the Coachella Valley such a special place.

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.

Safe Chiropractic Services Open Again at …

Safe Chiropractic Services Open Again at DAP

Clients can once again access safe chiropractic therapy on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Appointments can be requested on MyChart or by calling (760) 323-2118.

Dr. Jim Cox is noticing that his clients have new aches and pains that seem to go along with sheltering in place. Read more, including tips for keeping our backs healthier. 

Now that chiropractic services at DAP have resumed, what are some common problems your clients are noticing, and what can you tell us about the causes?  

Working from home: A LOT of sore and stiff necks and shoulders due to bad ergonomics, and not having a proper desk set up. 

Walking or hiking a lot more than ever before: Low back and hip pain from exercise their bodies aren’t used to. 

Getting to those projects that have been put off: Shoulder pain from lifting all those rocks or boxes.

Anxiety and stress over the whole situation: General aches and stiffness all over, a physical manifestation, which also can be from inactivity (REALLY staying in).

How safe is it to come see you at DAP? 

Very safe.  We’re screening at the door.  Everyone is masked and surfaces are wiped down thoroughly between patients.

Will you be doing things differently in your practice? 

Wiping down surfaces was always our protocol, so the screening and masks are the only thing new.  No modifications to treatment protocol. 

Any tips for folks to preserve their backs when hunkering down means they cannot see their favorite Dr. of Chiropractic? 

Move it or lose it!  Within tolerable levels of course. 

  • Stretch often. 
  • Yes, it’s a “stay at home” order but that doesn’t mean you can’t go for a walk.  The heat now poses a challenge, so get up early and take a nap later. 
  • Maintain a healthy diet as much as possible.  Carb loading with inactivity is the perfect recipe for joint inflammation.

Urgent: Help Our Medical Team Get the Su …

Care Team

The Desert AIDS Project Care Team is staffed by astute, compassionate healthcare professionals who lovingly support the healing process of each unique patient.

PPE Donations

Urgent: Help Our Medical Team Get the Supplies They Need

Due to a shortage of market supply, Desert AIDS Project medical staff is seeking donations of the following PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) items:

  • Unused Gowns
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Masks and Hand Sewn Masks
  • Shoe Covers

For questions or to arrange drop off, please contact Shelia Barnett via the form below or call 760-992-0420.

Preguntas y Respuestas del Coronavirus

Preguntas y Respuestas del Coronavirus

La mejor manera de proteger a la comunidad de cualquier preocupación de salud que surja es a través de información útil. Aquí tenemos respuestas a las preguntas más frecuentes que hemos recibido de nuestros clientes acerca del COVID-19, mejor conocido como el Coronavirus.

Estaremos actualizando esta información mientras siga surgiendo más datos a medida que se desarrolle este problema de salud pública.

Preguntas frecuentes

Estoy cuidando a alguien en casa- qué debo hacer? Haz clic aquí

Me estoy cuidando en casa – qué debo hacer? Haz clic aquí

Por qué estoy siendo revisado antes de que se me permita ingresar al campus de DAP?

Respuesta: Para DAP es prioridad la salud y seguridad de nuestros clientes, voluntarios y empleados. Para prevenir exposición innecesaria en el campus de DAP, las revisiones son obligatorias para todos los que ingresan al edificio de DAP. Quién no se le realice esta revisión y no siga las instrucciones ofrecidas por examinadores de DAP tendrán que abandonar el campus de DAP.

DAP ofrece exámenes?

Respuesta: No, DAP no ofrece exámenes a cualquier solicitud para el COVID-19. Sin embargo, si un médico de DAP determinará si usted tiene un alto riesgo, debido a 1) haber viajado a las áreas afectadas 2) exposición conocida, puede que le realicen exámenes para mantener a todos seguros.

Existe un plan en marcha en la clínica?

Respuesta: Si. Todo el personal clínico de DAP cuenta con la capacitación, las herramientas y las garantías necesarias para brindar atención de manera segura a cualquier cliente de DAP que experimente síntomas de enfermedad respiratoria.

DAP trabaja muy de cerca con el Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Riverside (RIVCO) y los centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) para determinar las mejores formas de servir a nuestra comunidad en esta pandemia.

Tengo VIH y estoy preocupado por el coronavirus. ¿Qué tengo que hacer?

Respuesta: Para las personas que viven con el VIH / SIDA, actualmente estamos recomendando un cumplimiento adicional de las recomendaciones de la CDC para protegerse contra COVID-19, que son lo mismo para protegerse de las enfermedades respiratorias. También sugerimos que se quede en casa tanto como sea posible, pero que mantengan una red social de forma remota para ayudarlo a mantenerse socialmente conectado y mentalmente saludable.

Además, eviten los viajes no esenciales y las grandes reuniones públicas.

Los pasos importantes a seguir incluyen:

  • Lavarse las manos con frecuencia con agua y jabón durante al menos 20 segundos.
  • Evite el contacto cercano con personas enfermas: mantenga una distancia de seis pies.
  • Evite tocarse la cara.
  • Quédese en casa cuando esté enfermo.
  • Estornude / tosa en el codo, no en la mano.

Y también,

  • Evite viajes no esenciales.
  • Evite grandes reuniones públicas.
  • Quédese en casa tanto como sea posible.

Haga clic aquí para conocer más.

También puede conversar con su médico de DAP en MyChart, que es una excelente herramienta para obtener la información personalizada específicamente para las necesidades que usted requiere. Podemos ayudarlo a realizar la configuración si aún no lo ha hecho.

Cómo pueden las personas contraer COVID-19 / Coronavirus?

Respuesta: COVID-19/ Coronavirus parece transmitirse por gotitas, y hasta el momento no hay evidencia de transmisión en el aire.

Se propaga:

  • Entre personas que están en contacto cercano entre sí (dentro de unos 6 pies).
  • A través de gotas respiratorias producidas cuando una persona infectada tose o estornuda.

Estas gotas pueden caer en la boca o en la nariz de las personas cercanas o posiblemente ser inhaladas a los pulmones.

También es posible que una persona pueda contraer COVID-19 al tocar una superficie u objeto que tiene el virus y luego tocarse la boca, la nariz o boca posiblemente los ojos, pero no se cree que esta sea la forma principal en que el virus se propaga.

Si alguien tiene síntomas y está tratando de decidir si debe hacerse una prueba de detección de Coronavirus al ingresar, que debe hacer?

Respuesta:  Cualquier persona que piense que podría estar sufriendo del COVID-19 debe llamar al (760) 992- 0407 para obtener más información y la oportunidad de hablar con el médico de DAP sobre sus síntomas.

  • La clinica de triaje del COVID-19 no acepta personas sin cita.
  • Tienes que consultar tus síntomas con el médico llamando al (760) 992-0407 – ahí se tomará una decisión si puede ser visto en la clínica de triaje del COVID-19.
  • Si trata de ser examinado en la clínica de triaje del COVID-19 sin cita, se puede estar poniendo en riesgo usted y a otras personas. Por favor llame al (760) 992-0407 para hablar con alguien.
  • Si tiene una emergencia que pone en riesgo su vida llame al 911.

Soy un terapista o un sexo servidor y quiero mantener a mis clientes y a mi a salvo?- Que tengo que hacer ?

Respuesta: El Coronavirus se contagia por el contacto con un a persona que tiene el virus. Se transmite al momento de toser o por medio de saliva. Y puede permanecer en manijas, excusados, interruptor de luz, sinks, mesas de masaje, y materiales de látex y silicón.

El mantener tu entorno de trabajo limpio con toallas desinfectantes después de cada cliente es parte de tu rol en tu negocio. Pero el evaluar riesgos de tu cliente es también muy importante.

  • Tu cliente puede tenerlo en su piel si no se asean a fondo.
  • Un cliente te lo puede transmitir al toser o estornudar cerca de ti si no utiliza mascarilla.
  • El virus también está presente en las heces, lo que hace el contacto con el area anal otra forma de posible transmisión.
  • También lo puedes transmitir fácilmente a tu cliente si estas infectado.

Antes de que inicies una sesión con un cliente, te recomendamos que les realices una revisión para que puedas evaluar tus propios riesgos. Cuando negocies servicios, precios y reglas, también cubre el tema del Coronavirus. Así es como puedes realizar la pregunta:

“Solo quiero revisar contigo primero varias cosas para asegurarme que ambos estamos seguros por el Coronavirus.” Aclara lo siguiente:

  1. Sabes si has estado expuesto al Coronavirus
  2. Recientemente haz tenido temperatura de más de 100 grados u otros síntomas de enfermedades respiratorias como tos, fiebre o dificultad para respirar?
  3. Tú o alguien con quien vives ha viajado internacional últimamente?

Si tu cliente responde “Si” a una de esas preguntas, estarás tomando un riesgo si continuas con la sesión. Si decides continuar, estos son algunos consejos para tener menos riesgo:

  • Asegurate de lavarte las manos por 20 segundos con agua tibia. Utiliza desinfectante para manos cuando no te puedas lavar las manos.
  • Los guantes de látex, condones y protectores dentales son altamente recomendados para trabajos sexuales más que nunca.
  • Haga que su cliente utilice mascarillas de papel durante toda la sesión si tiene síntomas como tos o problemas para respirar. Si utiliza una mascarilla, solo use una vez y deseche inmediatamente. No reuse la mascarilla
  • Utilice un desinfectante de manos de manera generosa. Puede hacer su propio desinfectante mezclando 3 partes de alcohol isopropyl y  1 parte de gel de aloe vera. Es también aceptable incluir unas gotas de tu aceite favorito (como el té verde) para dar un aroma agradable.
  • No se toque la cara- ésta es una forma más segura de contraer cualquier virus.
  • Báñate después de cada cliente y cambia de ropa para minimizar un posible contagio de Coronavirus.

Cómo está ayudando DAP a la comunidad a mantenerse al tanto del Coronavirus?

Respuesta: DAP ha creado una línea directa COVID-19 (760)992- 0407 para obtener información y la oportunidad de hablar con el médico de DAP sobre los síntomas.

DAP también está ayudando a la comunidad a prepararse para el Coronavirus al comunicarse con ellos por medio de las redes sociales, su sitio web y literatura en inglés y español en sus clínicas.

También planeamos lanzar actualizaciones semanales a medida que esta situación continúa.

Cómo puedo mantenerme actualizado sobre la enfermedad de COVID-19 en el Condado de Riverside y los Estados Unidos?

Respuesta: si estás interesado en las actualizaciones diarias, visite los siguientes sitios web:

También puede obtener más información llamando a lo siguiente:

Línea de información de CDC:

800- CDC- INFO

(800) 232-4636

TTY (888)232- 6348

Línea de información pública del Condado de Riverside:


Desert AIDS Project Opens COVID-19 Clini …

Desert AIDS Project Opens COVID-19 Clinic

WHAT: COVID-19 Clinic Open at Desert AIDS Project

WHERE: 1695 North Sunrise Way in Palm Springs

CONTACT: Jack Bunting (760) 656-8472

WHY: To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and alleviate suffering in our community.

WHEN: Clinic is open Mondays through Fridays from 8am – 4:30pm

Important Resources:

Palm Springs, CA — March 16, 2020 — Desert AIDS Project opened a COVID-19 Clinic today on its campus, created to treat and test clients struggling with significant symptoms of Coronavirus.

Before being seen at the clinic, clients must be screened and referred by a DAP clinician.

DAP is NOT offering on-demand testing for a-symptomatic clients or those with mild symptoms of illness. Anyone who thinks they might be suffering from COVID-19 should call (760) 992-0407 for information and the opportunity to talk to DAP clinician about their symptoms.

The CDC and DAP leadership are reminding people that for mild or moderate symptoms of respiratory illness, the best prescription is to stay home and use over-the-counter medications.

Only people with the following symptoms will be examined at DAP by a clinician for possible COVID-19:

1) greater than a 100.4 fever 2) cough 3) shortness of breath.

For the larger Coachella Valley community, DAP believes this move will equate to saving lives and providing some mitigation to an overwhelmed healthcare system, including emergency rooms and hospitals. By opening the clinic today as an emergency response to this dire health crisis, DAP stands to help halt new infections of COVID-19 in our area and prevent deaths.  

This measure, as well as heightened hygiene and social distancing, are important in fighting this epidemic, but the window is closing.

“How we act in the next two-to-three weeks are critical to flatten out the curve of this pandemic,” said David Brinkman, CEO.

DAP has launched its COVID-10 Clinic without the budget to do so, and has just started a campaign to raise funds. The anticipated cost at least $575,000 in the coming months to provide this service to the community.

Currently, 7,000 people in the Coachella Valley get primary and specialty care from DAP, plus other services like behavioral health, dentistry, wellness, and social services.

About Desert AIDS Project
Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center 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 STD 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, and to learn more.


A Masterclass in Human Potential

A Masterclass in Human Potential

Desert AIDS Project hosts deeply personal 2020 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards

By Steven Henke and Jack Bunting

In an evening filled with profoundly personal moments The 26th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards became a masterclass in human potential. This years ‘Chase’, like the organization it benefits, created a space of community and connection while paying homage to some of the staunchest allies of Desert AIDS Project (DAP) and its mission. It also raised over $1 million for its client programs and services.

A powerful tribute to Barbara Keller, both on screen and in speeches, inspired all in attendance to keep her spirit of giving alive. In addition, humanitarian leaders in the fields of journalism, philanthropy, and science were honored for their contributions to end HIV.

This year’s highly anticipated headliner Kristin Chenowith, a longtime friend of DAP, helped everyone in the ballroom of the Palm Springs Convention Center get in touch with their humanity with an unforgettable performance.

It was a night to celebrate as well as build for the future. DAP has provided quality and comprehensive healthcare to residents of the Coachella Valley for 35 years. The evening highlighted the work DAP does to remove roadblocks to human potential every day, whether by providing lifesaving, world-class medical, dental, and behavioral health services, food and transportation, or housing and employment.  

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth wowed the crowd with heartwarming classics.

At an Exciting Crossroads

This year’s Steve Chase gala marks a time of great change for DAP. The recent naming of the Barbara Keller Love Building on its campus was a fitting tribute after the passing in 2019 of one of DAP’s greatest benefactors. 

And with less than a month until the ribbon cutting for its two new clinics, the agency is poised to make good on its promise to offer more clients the Patient Centered Medical Home model of care, in settings that elevate their experience and enable medical teams to serve them much more thoroughly.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

2020 Humanitarian Awards Co-Chairs Kevin Bass, Partick Jordan, and Lauri Kibby applaud DAP. 

PCMH at DAP: the healthcare model of the future

In a deeply personal speech, Desert AIDS Project CEO David Brinkman shared his story of entering humanitarian work 25 years ago. From trying to convince bathhouse patrons to use protection as a “condom fairy,” to running a homeless youth services and advocacy organization, Mr. Brinkman knew all too well about the link between poverty and poor health outcomes.

At the helm of DAP for the last 14 years, he has pushed the organization to prevent those poor health outcomes for members of the community, regardless of their ability to pay. The one silver lining from the AIDS crisis, according to him, is that DAP learned how to help people live by not settling for what was offered in the traditional healthcare system.

“We’ve learned that surviving HIV isn’t just about taking one pill a day,” he said. “Those who survive also have housing, get restorative sleep, eat nutritiously, see a therapist, and have good dental health as well as an excellent physician.”

In a shout-out to his Chief Medical Officer, Mr. Brinkman asked, “Right, Dr. Morris?”

The Patient Centered Medical Home model of delivering healthcare to clients is an apex that eludes many healthcare organizations. But because DAP championed patient centered care as a way to help clients survive HIV before there was antiviral medication, it is uniquely able to offer the PCMH model without a drastic reinvention of itself.

It did require new clinic construction and technology for heightened collaboration practices among clinical teams, which required asking the community to increase its commitment of support, starting in 2018. With the new clinics opening next month, Mr. Brinkman’s gratitude was palpable.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

CEO David Brinkman shared why DAP’s work is deeply personal to him.

He reminded the audience “We quite simply could not do the lifesaving work we do without you.” 

Mr. Brinkman also called attention to new client populations in the Coachella Valley who increasingly rely on DAP for their healthcare.

“There are nearly 20,000 of our desert brothers and sisters living in poverty without health insurance,” he said.

“The vast majority of these people, they don’t have HIV, but they’re disenfranchised in many ways,” he said. “They’re people of color; they’re trans; they’re immigrants; they’re women; English isn’t their first language; they’re homeless.”

One thing is certain: “All of them need help.”

His commitment to serving new client populations was clear.

“We’re not going to turn them away,” he said. “Quite the opposite; we just ask, ‘how can we help you’”?

The new clinics that will serve more than 10,000 clients have been built with the technology and layout that make delivering PCMH possible, even if “treating the whole person” is a concept that isn’t new at DAP.

To Dr. Morris, opening DAP’s doors wider to serve clients who might not have considered DAP before is part of what fuels him.

“We’re much more inclusive these days by having patients who don’t have HIV, by expanding services to our transgender community, and offering more care for women who need services.” he said. “It’s a very exciting time to be in leadership and help build this bridge to a new place and new places to grow for DAP.”

Donning their most fashionable finery, almost 1,500 of our valley’s most glamourous and generous humanitarians started the evening outside the Palm Springs Convention Center at the Steve Chase Fashion Experience.  

Guests and media began strolling the 300-foot long red carpet, generously sponsored by Walgreens, greeted on either side by the iconic art pieces of Karen Barone and Tony Barone.

Closer in, a giant step-and-repeat backdrop for photographs was the ideal destination, but not before checking in with our valley’s top media:

  • NBC Palm Springs’ Special Correspondent Sandie Newton and Anchor Joe Smith broadcasted LIVE to capture the excitement.
  • Palm Springs Life Fashion Editor Susan Stein and William Squire uncovered people’s motivations for choosing their looks.
  • Palm Springs Life Fashion Stylist Neil Cohen and local personality Ethylina Canne got attendees to dish on their red carpet attire.
  • DAP staff were interviewing guests for a Facebook Livestream.

Dazzling experience continued inside

The scene outside was projected onto giant screens at the cocktail reception, so that guests could still peruse silent auction items and enjoy libations without missing the excitement of the red carpet.

Dancers atop a two-story catwalk above the bar brought the music to life for guests who mingled below. The structure wowed attendees with cascading fresh flowers, designed by Vaso Bello Celebrations.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

DAP’s Event Director Debbie Chapman designed an immersive experince during the cocktail party.

Inside the dinner, event co-chair, Patrick Jordan welcomed attendees by touching upon DAP’s turbulent beginning and echoing how that hardship has set it up to survive tomorrow.  

“At DAP, our past is what ensures our future,” he said. “Every obstacle overcome; all the lessons learned; each scientific advancement made.”

Mr. Jordan expressed unbridled optimism for finding solutions to problems in our community.

“At DAP, every sunrise and sunset shines a light on the stepping stones that will lead our community onward and upward,” he said.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

Annette Bloch and Andrei Muresan attend the 2020 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards. 

The evening got underway with a loving video tribute to Barbara Keller, whose commitment to DAP is the stuff of legends. In ten years, Barbara raised approximately $10 million for DAP client services. According to those closest to her, she led by example, and her sense of justice and fairness were her greatest gifts.

Longtime DAP advocate and former senator Barbara Boxer said of her friend, “For Barbara, it was a question of right and wrong—it was this feeling that we’re all equal,” she said.

“That if people don’t have a voice and you have one, you use it.”

And how should we honor the legacy of Barbara Keller, who over ten years raised millions to remove roadblocks to accessing healthcare here in our valley?

“We’ve all got to step up,” she said. “Step up!”

One attendee described the video as a “master class in how to be a humanitarian.”

Barbara’s husband Jerry and daughter Lindsay were in attendance at the gala.

Co-Chair Lauri Kibby 

Co-chair Lauri Kibby delivered a call-to-action for the evening.

“If you believe as I do, that a community is only as strong as its weakest link, then you must agree that the well-being of our community requires us all to be well,” she said.

“Think bigger—stretch farther—dig deeper,” she said, “Put aside your qualms and trust me.”

Kibby and others from DAP recently attended the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Kigali, Rwanda. CEO David Brinkman presented on DAP’s 35 years of best practices, after being invited by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS.

DAP leadership also toured Kigali health centers fighting for the same result as DAP: patient centered healthcare.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

Steve Chase Humanitarian Award Co-Chair Lauri Kibby enters the after party.

For people not living with HIV, lack of access to primary care is a major driver of new infections, no matter where on the globe they live. 

When it came to sharing success factors in delivering patient centered care, the U.S. visitors and their Rwandan hosts shared the same observation: community commitment is required for anything meaningful to happen.

After the trip, Kibby’s commitment to DAP was even stronger. 

“I was struck with the magnitude of DAP’s achievements,” she said. “The depth of its influence on others who need its wisdom.”

After telling the audience she was so thankful they were still supporting DAP, she shared:

“When I came back from Africa, I doubled my commitment to DAP.”

Deborah L. Birx, MD.

DAP Board Member and local entrepreneur, Athalie Lapamuk accompanied by her mother, Adaline Duverger, a retired critical care nurse, presented the Science and Medicine Award to Ambassador-at-Large and United States Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah L. Birx, MD. 

Ambassador Birx’s considerable achievements span over a three-decade-long career, focused on HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health. Her accomplishments include overseeing the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), leading RV 144, one of the most influential HIV vaccine trials in history.

Dr. Birx is also praised for the following programs:  

  • Her $100 million Key Populations Investment Fund, which helps address critical gaps in HIV programming in underserved LGBTQ communities, 
  • DREAMS, her signature HIV\AIDS prevention program, which stands for Determine, Resilient, Educated, AIDS-Free, Mentored, Safe – targets adolescent girls and young women in the highest-impact countries across Africa, and her latest program, 
  • MenStar whose mission it is to engage men in health care. 

Her speech praised the world of DAP, saying “The amazing work of the Desert AIDS Project – which I had the pleasure to see firsthand yesterday – embodies Steve’s spirit and legacy,” she said. “Through your commitment to excellence in client-centered care, you celebrate and honor the human dignity of everyone that you serve – and give greatly of yourselves for the benefit of others.”

Ambassador-at-Large and United States Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah L. Birx, MD.

“The Desert AIDS Project is a leader in the way it does its work. They support and invest in a vital organization which continues to innovate. There really is no organization doing this particular work better, anywhere in the world.”

Dr. Birx pointed out similarities between DAP and her organization, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

“We believe that the best answers to a crisis are compassion and commitment,” she said. “We never take for granted that a client will walk through our clinic door – or remain connected to care well into the future – unless we design and deliver HIV services and support that truly meet their needs.”

Whether in Palm Springs or Pretoria, South Africa – healthcare organizations must always place the client and the community at the center of everything that they do, she said.

According to Dr. Birx, one of the best ways to do that is simple but too often overlooked: Ask clients and communities what they require not only to survive but thrive – and then build services that meet them where they are with what they need.  

Garry Kief

The Partners for Life Award, generously sponsored by Harold Matzner, was presented to Garry Kief by Co-Chair Kevin Bass. Local non-profits benefitting from Mr. Kief’s benevolence include The McCallum Theatre, The Palm Springs International Film Festival, The Manilow Music Project, and Desert AIDS Project.

Bass praised his friend’s commitment to giving back. “Empathy and compassion aren’t learned skills; they’re inherited traits and either you got ‘em or you don’t,” he said. “And Garry’s got ‘em.”

“Garry has been giving his whole life, and not just giving money, but giving of his time and wisdom as well.” 

Garry Kief accepts the Partners for Life Award.

Alongside his husband, Barry Manilow, Kief oversaw the “Gift of Love” Concert series at the McCallum Theater which has raised for $2.5 million for over 25 local charities. Accepting his Award, Kief turned the spotlight back on the local non-profits. 

“There are more than 1,000 charities in the Coachella Valley, more than 10,000 volunteers – 400 alone at DAP,” he said. “So this is to honor them; this is to honor you.”  

Kief described himself as “the guy who usually stands at the back of the room and watches the things I help make happen.” 

His goal, he shared, was always the same – to give back, to involve the village, and to say thanks. What matters is your heart, he said.  

“And your heart tells you that together our little village can help cure AIDS, prevent AIDS, and make a life better for those living with AIDS,” he said. “That’s not a political issue. That’s a people issue. And our little village takes care of our people.”

Hank Plante

Cliff Morrision presented the Arts & Activism Award to Hank Plante. Morrison and Plante appeared together in the documentary ‘5B’, which was screened locally to a sold-out audience and has been earning awards at film festivals around the world. In 1983, Morrision was working as a nurse at San Francisco General during the AIDS crisis where he successfully petitioned to open Wards 5A and 5B, the first health facility in the U.S. dedicated to providing AIDS treatment. He recalled their meeting 35 years ago when Plante was reporting on a story about Ward 5B. 

“Through his intense and relentless pursuit of the truth, an image of Hank surfaces,” he said. “And for me as well as for many other in our community, he had become our Walter Cronkite.”  

Hank Plante accepts the Arts and Activism Award.

Plante accepted his award and shared that AIDS was always more than just a story to him. 

“Because, as one of the first openly gay TV reporters in the country, it was personal,” he said. “These were my friends who were getting HIV and who were dying.” 

“Reporting on AIDS was a way for me to channel my grief and my anger over the disease.” It was also a mental and emotional challenge for Plante. 

“There were many times when I’d be shooting a story…and I’d have to go out into the hallway to compose myself and try not to cry,” he said. “I was there to be a professional.”

Plante shared about what it was like to interview patients during that time. They let him invade their lives, he said. They knew they didn’t look well; that their families and co-workers would see the story, that they might face repercussion from doing it- but they always said “yes”, because they wanted to help other people.

The Entertainment: Broadway royalty did more than entertain

Kristin Chenoweth

No stranger to ‘The Chase’, Emmy and Tony Award winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth was honored with an Arts & Activism Award in 2009. During her sounds check, the tech team showed her a video of her acceptance speech from that awards show where she honored a her voice teacher who passed because of AIDS. 

Fittingly, she wore a pink sweater on the red carpet emblazoned with the word ‘NO’.

“We will get a place in the fight against HIV where we won’t need fundraising dinners anymore,” she said.

The deeply personal feeling of the night continued when Chenoweth took attendees down memory lane, performing favorites from The Carpenters, Barbra Streisand and Dolly Parton. Her performance was generously sponsored by Living Out.

Acknowledging our challenging times, she honored Leonard Cohen with a rendition of “Hallelujah”, imploring the audience, “We all can agree on this word, can we not? Let’s all sing…”

During her closing of “I Will Always Love You” Chenoweth silenced her band and put down her microphone to finish the serenade, completely a cappella, to guests in the 20,000 square foot ballroom. It lasted almost a minute and the audience erupted in a standing ovation.

The After-Party

Event honoree Garry Kief designed the after-party with his friend Terri Ketover, featuring balloon sculpture walls that had party goers scrambling for the perfect photo opp. Go-Go dancers dressed all in white led the crown in a dance frenzy on a glossy white floor surrounded by a raised VIP lounge and a sweets bar containing cupcakes and cotton candy.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

The evening continued at an after party produced by Garry Kief.

Bold Face Names Seen at ‘The Chase’

Hank Plante, Harold Matzner, Annette Bloch and Andrei Muresan, Garry Kief and Barry Manilow, Lauri and Charles Kibby, Patrick Jordan and Franck Ford, Kevin Bass and Brent Bloesser, David Brinkman and Dr. Will Grimm, Gayle Hodges & Art Wedmore, Terri and Bart Ketover, Kyle Mudd and Louis Smith, Steve Tobin and Johnny Krupa, Dennis Flaig-Moore and Clint Moore, Karla Kjellin-Elder and Jeff Elder, Marc Walters, Paul Swerdlove and Elgart Aster, Michelle Finney, Edward and Marie Lewis, Trina Turk, Loren Ostrow, LuAnn Boylan, Jerry Keller, David Zippel and Michael Johnston, Jim Burba and Bob Hayes, Steve Kaufer and Young Chu, Mark Hamilton and Juan Francisco, Steve Rose, Glen Pietradoni, Omar Elkabchi, Bryan Garcia, Jason Cunningham, Patrick McDonald, Ethylina Canne, Susan Stein, Neil Cohen, Peter Daut

Sponsors of the 26th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards 

PRODUCING: Harold Matzner, Walgreens

MAJOR: Elgart Aster & Paul Swerdlove, Desert Care Network, Desert Sun, Eisenhower Health, El Paseo Jewelers, Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Living Out

STAR: Mark Adams, Steven Anders/The Elizabeth Firth Wade Endowment, Annette Bloch, Desert Oasis Healthcare, Here Media, Jean-Daniel Kermelly, NBC Palm Springs, Saks Fifth Avenue

SUPPORTING: Blackbook, Jim Burba & Bob Hayes, Diageo, Gilead Sciences, Lynn Hammond, Jerry Keller, Lauri & Charles Kibby, Garry Kief, Gilead Sciences, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs / GRIT Development, Neil Lane Jewelers, Edward & Marie Lewis, LULU California Bistro, Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel, UC Riverside School of Medicine, Marc Walters & Richard Cassar, Wells Fargo

BENEFACTOR: Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal, Carolyn & Daniel Caldwell, Colleen Crowley & Jack Martin, Coachella Valley Health Personnel, Freehold Communities, Image360, Patrick Jordan, Kaiser Permanente Foundation, Koffi, Frank Kurland, Laboratory Corporation of America, Perry McKay, Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, Revive Wellness, Ann Sheffer & Bill Scheffler, Sysco Riverside,  Vaso Bello Celebrations, Union Bank – Don Soucie, White Cross Pharmacy, 111 Wealth Management

PATRON: Carrie & Mark Babij, CASL Interpreting, Desert Insurance Solutions,  Desert  Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy, Jay Harness & Darci Daniels, Higher Ground, Ben Hu, Steve Kaufer & Young Chu, Brad Leathers, Maximum Security, James O’Reilly & Steven Pounders, MD, Robert O’Shaughnessy, Robert Seale & Jim Gilger. Steve Simoni & John Sacchi

MEDIA: CV Independent, Gay Desert Guide, HERE Media, LOCALE Magazine, Palm Springs Life, PromoHomo.TV, Rage Monthly, The Hollywood Times, The Standard Magazine 

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

Desert AIDS Project’s allies and supporters are humanitarians removing roadblocks to human potential. 

Passing of Barbara Keller

Desert AIDS Project is saddened to learn of the passing of its brightest and most compassionate guiding light, Barbara Keller.

Barbara Keller made an enormous impact at Desert AIDS Project where she served as a board member for 10 years, four years as Board Chair, and co-chaired the Steve Chase gala for 7 years – during which time she gave and helped raise more than $10 million for Desert AIDS Project client services and Get Tested Coachella Valley.  She was driven by the comprehensive and compassionate care available at D.A.P., because it saves lives, and was especially supportive of the staff and leadership team of the organization, led by her friend David Brinkman.  Brinkman sent a note to the staff of D.A.P this morning:

“This morning we lost our one and only Barbara Keller.  The love she brought to the Desert AIDS Project family changed us forever.   She had been our board’s leader, the Steve Chase’s chief and our clients and mission’s ultimate champion.  Words fail to express the gratitude I have for having been the recipient of her friendship, love, and mentorship.  Barbara Keller = humanitarian.”

Barbara will be remembered as the strong and strategic voice of fairness and compassion for the most vulnerable in our valley. She and her husband Jerry Keller, supported over 30 different charities and non-profit organizations and served on four valley boards, including Desert AIDS Project, The Palm Springs Art Museum, Coachella Valley Repertory Theater and the Israel Cancer Research Fund.

She worked on One Night Only, an annual fundraiser for Jewish Family Services, since its beginning with Michael Childers, and worked with the Sunshine Circle, an organization that connects Jewish teenagers with local Holocaust Survivors.  She fought for Civil Rights and Women’s Rights and was a supporter of Equality California, an organization that honored her in 2017.  She and EQCA aligned in the belief that none of us is equal unless all of us are equal.

In addition to her generosity and limitless compassion, Barbara brought her business experience to bear for the organizations she supported. Before moving to the desert, she was a theatre director and producer in New York and worked as a business agent for film industry script supervisors in Manhattan.  She served on the board of the North Shore Community Arts Center for eight years. She also published several books including Film, Tape and TV: Where Do I Fit In? and Orgasmic Days in the South of France, a personal guide to the Cote d’ Azur.

The performing arts remained an important part of her life as she supported the Annenberg Theatre at the Palm Springs Art Museum, The McCallum Theatre, where she served on the Board of Trustees, and several local theater companies.  She was once quoted as saying, Art transcends all boundaries.  It brings imagination to life and gives life to imagination.” Barbara believed that she got more from her philanthropic work than she gave because the work she devoted herself to gave she and her husband Jerry the life they enjoyed together.

In addition to countless awards honoring her philanthropy, Barbara received an Association of Fundraising Professionals Volunteer of the Year and a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, located in front of her beloved LuLu California Bistro, for her work as a humanitarian.  Barbara believed that we all need to have a purpose in our lives and that it could be found in community service through the impact of contribution…the power of philanthropy.

Desert AIDS Project will be working with Barbara’s family to honor her legacy.  Before we learned of her passing, it had already been decided that a special Everyday Heroes award, honoring women, would bear her name.

Video Tribute to Barbara Keller Shown at 2017 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards:

The Affordable Care Act put chronically …

For people living with HIV/AIDS, and the clinicians and advocates caring for them, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was almost too good to be true when it was introduced in 2010. Suddenly, chronic disease management was available to the uninsured, the uninsurable and for the poor. This included the preventive and wellness services required for living into old age with HIV/AIDS.

Until this point, being HIV positive and uninsured caused incredible uncertainty for many who were just trying to stay alive. And for those struggling with addiction and/or mental illness alongside HIV, adherence to treatment was even more challenging and the danger of developing AIDS was more likely.

Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) is very blessed to have a volunteer workforce of about 600 and a paid staff of about 250. And our valley is probably the most generous community anywhere when it comes to charitable giving.HIVlivng But the ACA has done something for our clients living with HIV/AIDS that love alone could not. It has made them proactive participants in their own health care, regardless of employment status or pre-existing health conditions. Life-sustaining primary care has been made available to them while they are still well, so that they can partner with their clinicians to make sure the virus stays suppressed in their bodies, and that additional complications from living with HIV/AIDS can be managed.

Before the ACA, our uninsured clients living with HIV/AIDS would wait months for specialized and lifesaving treatments at county facilities after being referred by a D.A.P. clinician. We are so thankful for the life-sustaining treatments administered there, but the reality is that long waiting lists for the uninsured resulted in many of our clients dying.Even with medications available to treat their HIV, opportunistic infections and cancers threatened to take their lives, and often did so without timely medical intervention. Today, thanks to insurance provided through the ACA we do not have to worry about long waiting lists for our patients. That is cause for celebration.

In addition to helping our core client group live longer and more meaningful lives, the ACA has enabled us to open our doors wider to care for people in our community who might not have HIV, but who face other health care needs.

  • More than half of our 5,500 clients are HIV negative. They receive primary medical care, regular checkups and health screenings and they receive care for more serious health issues when they need it.
  • Our Behavioral Health Program is helping approximately 700 clients receive the support they need, utilizing psychiatry, psychology and group sessions, whether they live with HIV/AIDS or not.
  • We have become known for our program to cure Hepatitis C, a silent killer that is threatening the lives of about 5,000 people locally.
  • Our Transgender Care Program is led by award-winning staff dedicated to linking our transgender siblings in the Inland Empire to gender-affirming health care.

In Riverside County by 2017, approximately 400,000 adults caught in the coverage gap had been given access to medical care. In less than 10 years, the ACA has elevated the quality of health care and made it accessible for all residents.

If it were to be abolished, we would go back to a time of needless mortality and more people living in the shadows. That is a fate that this valley cannot face.