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

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.

Hepatitis Center of Excellence

The Hepatitis Center of Excellence, located at Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.), is designed to address a serious and growing need for Hepatitis care in the local community.  D.A.P. works in collaboration with Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC) to staff the Center with Infectious Disease Physicians and Pharmacists who specialize in Hepatitis care.

Located at D.A.P.’s main campus in Palm Springs, the Hepatitis Center of Excellence delivers comprehensive, state-of-the-art expertise to manage, support and cure those afflicted with Hepatitis. Services include non-invasive diagnostic testing and staging, improved access to curative treatments, and compassionate support for the many complex issues associated with a Hepatitis diagnosis.

The Hepatitis Center of Excellence provides testing and treatment of Hepatitis C (HCV), a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. Hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer, the need for liver transplants, and increased risk of death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that every American born from 1945 through 1965 get a blood test for Hepatitis C.  Thanks to recent medical breakthroughs, Hepatitis C can now be cured with antiviral medication(s).

The Hepatitis Center of Excellence offers state-of-the-art Hepatitis C care delivered by Physicians and Pharmacists who specialize in Hepatitis. The DOHC model has been published and presented in State and Regional US forums.  Additionally, the agency’s own unique D.A.P. Total Care model — which holistically integrates case management, counseling, and other healthcare services – will help patients to maintain their Hepatitis C medication regimens.

For Hepatitis C information, testing, or treatment, please call the Hepatitis Center of Excellence at 760-992-0426 to schedule an appointment. 

33rd Anniversary Campaign

Is PrEP right for YOU?

Are you HIV negative but are at very high risk for HIV? Taken every day, PrEP can help keep you free from HIV.

What is PrEP?
PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a daily medicine that can reduce your chances of getting HIV. PrEP can help stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. Daily PrEP reduces risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces risk by more than 70%. Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods.

Is PrEP for you?
PrEP may benefit you if you are HIV negative and ANY of the following apply to you.

You are a gay/bisexual man and
• Have an HIV-positive partner
• Have multiple partners a partner with multiple partners, or a partner whose HIV status is unknown – and you also; have sex without a condom, or recently had a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
You are heterosexual and
• have an HIV-positive partner.
• have multiple partners, a partner with multiple partners, or a partner whose HIV status is unknown – and you also; don’t always use a condom for sex with people who inject drugs, don’t always use a condom for sex with bisexual men.
You inject drugs and
• Share needles or equipment to inject drugs
• Recently went to a drug treatment program
• Are at risk for getting HIV from sex.

Visit your doctor
• To find out if PrEP is right for you
• Every 3 months, if you take PrEP, for repeat HIV tests, prescription refills, and follow-up.
• If you have any symptoms while taking PrEP that become severe or don’t do away.

How can you get help paying for PrEP?
• Most private and state Medicaid plans cover PrEP. If you are on Medicaid, check with your benefits counselor.
• Schedule an appointment with our PrEP Benefits Navigation Specialist by calling 1-760-992-0492.
• Walk-in The DOCK, 1695 N. Sunrise Way (at Vista Chino), Monday – Friday 10am – 6:30 PM, to receive benefits assistance.

Content source: Division of HIV/AIDS PreventionNational Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, Sexual Transmitted Diseases and Tuberculosis PreventionCenters for Disease Control and Prevention

Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala

Thanks for joining us at this year’s Gala!

Check out our online auction
View photos from our TapSnap booth
2016 Steve Chase Gala Program

Since 1995, the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala has raised millions of dollars for direct client services at Desert AIDS Project.

Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors



Eisenhower Medical Center
Harold Matzner


Annette Bloch
Desert Regional Medical Center
Harbinger Pictures
Helene Galen
Integrated Wealth Management
One America
Steve Tobin


Contour Dermatology
Elgart Aster & Paul Swerdlove
Reaction Marketing


Steven Anders/Wade Endowment Fund
Bank of America
Dash and a Handful Catering
Desert Sun
Event Management Productions
Walter Leiss
James Fielding & Edison Briones
ITEX of the Desert Empire
Patrick Jordan
Kaiser Permanente
Barbara & Jerry Keller
Dr. Terri Ketover & Dr. Bart Ketover
Dorothy & Mel Lefkowitz
Dave Morgan
Bruce Purdy & Barrett Shepard
Dr. Suzanne Quardt & Rick Manzano
Renaissance Hotel
Savoury’s Catering
Time Warner Cable
UCR School of Medicine


Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
Air Dimensional Design
The Five Hundred
Frank Kurland
David Lee
Gary Gaiser
City of Palm Springs
Pediatrix Medical Group
Quantum Medical Radiology
City of Rancho Mirage
Ann Sheffer & Bill Scheffler
Smirnoff, Diageo
Union Bank
Vaso Bello Celebrations


Robert Archer & Charles Hilliar
Supervisor John Benoit
Mark Hamilton
David Hockney
Dr. Babak Khazaeni
Signs by Tomorrow
Trick Dog Films
Jim Watterson & George Martin


The Advocate
CV Independent
Desert Charities News
Gay Desert Guide
Jones Agency
LIVE Magazine
Palm Springs Life
The Standard
Time Warner

Partners For Life Award: Jim Burba and Bob Hayes – In addition to being the sponsor for Lorna Luft’s 2013 Community Service award, the life-and-business-partners a year earlier pledged $10,000 at the 2012 gala. Although they produce conferences around the world for the hotel and tourism investment community, Palm Springs holds a special place in their heart … and their philanthropy.

100 Women Award: Carolyn Caldwell – president and CEO of Desert Regional Medical Center (DRMC,) Carolyn joined D.A.P.’s board in late 2012. Just a year later, she had secured a $1.5 million gift from DRMC’s parent, Tenet Healthcare, as lead sponsor of Get Tested Coachella Valley. Caldwell has been honored by the City of Palm Springs Human Rights Commission and for her ongoing commitment to affordable healthcare for everyone, including her role as one of the “champions” for Get Tested Coachella Valley. She currently serves as the chair of D.A.P.’s medical committee for the board of directors.

Arts and Activism Award: Jim Casey – co-chair of the Steve Chase gala for seven years with Barbara Keller, during which time Casey’s company, Integrated Wealth Management, contributed $1.5 million as presenting sponsor. Casey continues to be closely involved with D.A.P. both as a major donor and volunteer.

New Generation Arts and Activism Award: Danny Pintauro

2015 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala Co-Hosts
As one of the 2016 gala’s co-hosts, Leslie Jordan is perhaps best-known to most of us as Beverley Leslie from the smash hit TV show “Will & Grace,” for which he won an Emmy in 2006. Through movie writer-director Del Shores, his special connection to Palm Springs is perhaps his institutionalized-drag-queen Brother Boy character in the cult classic “Sordid Lives” which takes an hysterical look at family dysfunction beyond extreme.

No matter Jordan’s stature of just 4’11”, he will undoubtedly hold his own with the considerably more statuesque Ethylina Canne, who brings a special mix of sass and likeability to any stage. Growing up on a farm in scenic Morro Bay, a love of show tunes and “anything sparkly” was noticeable at a very early age. Fast forward to Palm Springs by way of San Francisco drag stages, she soon made herself known by winning the 1st Annual Desert Drag Race at Toucans Tiki Lounge and then Fan Favorite at D.A.P.’s 1st Annual Queen of the Desert benefit. Ethylina has endeared herself to many D.A.P. supporters ever since by always being ready whenever called on.

Gala attendees may not be ready for this 2016 co-host team … but that’s bound to be part of the fun!

2016 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala Co-Chairs

Patrick Jordan is a long-time member of D.A.P.’s Partners For Life annual giving program, a current D.A.P. board member, and a top fundraiser for the annual Desert AIDS Walk. Before his local success as a highly-successful broker at Bennion & Deville Homes, this honoree of the 2011 Partners for Life Award had a long career in the music industry.

Dave Morgan is also a long-time member of Partners For Life, as well as a sponsor of past Steve Chase galas, where he received the 2015 Partners For Life Award. He created the very popular Dancing with the Desert Stars fundraiser and his company, Reaction Marketing and Promotions, has produced it for each of its four years, raising more than $250,000 for D.A.P.

Dr. Suzanne Quardt, popularly known as “Dr. Q,” is a very active member of D.A.P.’s 100 Women annual giving program that supports programs and services for women and children whose lives are affected by HIV. She also serves on several committees at Eisenhower Medical Center, as their immediate past Chief of Plastic Surgery, and is an active supporter of the Women Leaders Forum and the American Heart Association.

Past Gala Information

First organized by and named for famed interior designer Steve Chase, these galas are a prime highlight of the desert community’s social season! Honorees, award presenters, and entertainers in the past years have included: Carol Channing, Matt Bomer, Peter Gallagher, Ann Margret, Tom Hanks, Betty Ford, Diahann Carrol, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Patti LaBelle, Betty White, Shirley MacLaine, Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, Debbie Reynolds and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Client’s Bill of Rights


  1. Be treated in a respectful manner that honors your dignity and privacy.
  2. Not be discriminated against in the delivery of health care treatment based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability or source of payment.
  3. Know the reason for tests and treatment and understand the benefits and risks.
  4. Receive comprehensive health care provided in a safe and clean environment and in an accessible manner.
  5. You have the right to talk with a health care provider in private and have your personal health care information kept private as protected under state and federal laws.
  6. Have our staff explain advance directives or other confidential rights you may have.
  7. To get accurate, easy-to-understand information and have someone help you make informed health care decisions.
  8. Have an interpreter available if your primary language is not English.
  9. Refuse treatment and be informed of the consequences.
  10. The right to notify your physician when a second opinion is desired.


  1. Participate in the development and implementation of your care. A Client may also designate a health spokesperson.
  2. To be fully engaged in the services provided, including frequency of services and to participate in decisions regarding your care and treatment objectives.
  3. Provide a correct and complete medical history, including information about past illness, medication, hospitalization or other related information.
  4. Ask questions if you do not understand documents you are asked to sign or your confidential rights to use and disclosure of your health care information.
  5. Notify us if you are already established with another provider or agency and your choice of Laboratory/Pharmacy or other health care service you want to use.
  6. Accept the consequences of refusing treatment recommended by the Physician.
  7. Voice any concerns or dissatisfactions you may have with your care.
  8. Notify D.A.P. immediately of any changes in your residence, telephone number or financial status.
  9. Treat our staff with respect and consideration.
  10. Pay required fees as appropriate.

D.A.P. exemplifies essential components …

A newly released policy paper published last month by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) outlines the essential requirements of an effective HIV care model. Desert AIDS Project achieves many of the goals, services and elements outlined in the policy paper for promoting positive health outcomes for HIV-positive people. The paper states that, among other things, the major elements for an effective HIV care model include:

  • HIV testing within communities combined with efficient linkage to HIV care providers and specialty care
  • Access to integrated medical care all under one roof, commonly implemented through the “medical home” model
  • A holistic approach towards care that provides social services for clients

HIV testing and linkage to care
Free and confidential HIV testing is available in various cities throughout Riverside County through Desert AIDS Project. In total, Desert AIDS Project has initiated testing efforts in over 20 communities and groups throughout our service-area. Health Educators and Early Intervention Specialists link any person who is HIV-positive with the services here.

Medical Home model
We provide a majority of our services all under one roof at our Palm Springs campus. Case management and primary and specialty care providers form the base of care operations here. Case managers assist clients to identify needs and coordinate the variety of clinical and social services required to remove barriers to, avoid duplication of, and maintain engagement in care. Telemedicine capabilities in conjunction with off-site partners allow D.A.P. clients to receive some medical advice without having to schedule appointments elsewhere. Gynecologic services for women ensure our HIV-positive female clients receive thorough medical care.  The three-year old dental clinic at the Palm Springs campus – Riverside county’s first HIV-specialty dental clinic – is also a testament to the integrated medical care model that we strive to offer for clients.

HIV providers and expertise
Well-qualified physicians make up the HIV care team at Desert AIDS Project at the main campus in Palm Springs. Our staff of  providers demonstrates HIV expertise and experience with specialty training. Five providers of HIV care in our medical clinics are Certified HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVS). There is no higher credential one can earn specific to HIV. These providers are Dr. Hawthorne, Dr.Kerkar, Physician’s Assistant Jean Davis, Ph.D and Dr.Shiu. Even D.A.P. specialists Dr. Dew, certified in Preventative Medicine/Public Health and Occupational Medicine, and psychiatrist Dr. Torban, who has been recognized as one of America’s Top Psychiatrist’s, make certain that D.A.P. clients receive the best relevant care no matter what. Dr Hawthorne–who holds both AAHIVS certification and is certified in Infectious Diseases by the American Board of Internal Medicine–currently, serves as D.A.P.’s Interim Medical Director.

Holistic care and social services
Access to essential HIV medications and holistic social services also show that D.A.P. is on the right track . Clients have access to a Walgreens pharmacy on site that contains all of the stock of a regular pharmacy, while also carrying essential HIV medications. Eligible clients can also receive nutrition and food assistance through our monthly farmer’s market at the Food Depot or obtain help navigating housing opportunities. Support groups, nutrition workshops, alcohol and substance abuse counseling, yoga & meditation classes, and access to legal services round out some of the social services offered at D.A.P.

It is clear that Desert AIDS Project is on the right path for promoting positive health outcomes for our clients by providing effective, integrated care under one roof and taking a holistic approach towards HIV/AIDS treatment. We will continue to meet the evolving needs of our clients to ensure everyone in our community has a right to a decent quality of life.