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8am to 5pm Mon - Fri

Dr. Christopher Foltz Moving to Cedars-S …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, the proof was in the community feedback.   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

DAP Transgender Health Program Earns ELE …

Palm Springs, CA (December 5, 2019) — Desert AIDS Project (DAP) has earned certification in ELEVATE gender-affirmation healthcare training by Annenberg Center For Health Sciences at Eisenhower Health. This nationwide initiative sets a high bar for cultural competence in healthcare professionals involved in primary care and HIV care for the transgender, intersex and gender diverse clients. 

Transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people are disproportionately affected by HIV in the U.S. and globally. ELEVATE certification shows that DAP clinicians and personnel have the empathy and expertise to welcome and retain members of our TGNC community in HIV care.

“This designation reflects the commitment we have as an organization to our transgender, intersex and gender diverse clients,” said Anthony Velasco, NP and Co-Chair of DAP’s Transgender Health Program. “Our services and programs are most effective when we address intersectionality issues that contribute to stigma and discrimination unique to their struggle.”

The ultimate goal of ELEVATE is to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care for TGNC patients. In addition to barriers accessing primary healthcare and sexual health check-ups, competent HIV care is commonly elusive for them.

This is especially troubling, as the percentage of transgender people who received a new HIV diagnosis was 3 times the national average in 2017. (CDC)

Not enough health care clinicians receive proper training or are knowledgeable about TGNC health issues. This can lead to limited health care access and negative health care encounters. (CDC) DAP is seeking to reverse this trend, especially in the Coachella Valley.

“By providing services designed to empower and engage our clients in ongoing relationships with their primary care clinician, we address the full spectrum of health and wellness needs,” Velasco said. “We also seek opportunities to equip all of our staff with the knowledge and skills to achieve cultural competency and cultural humility.”

About ELEVATE

The Annenberg Center has established a special designation certificate program to recognize individuals and healthcare practices for environments that ensure optimal, culturally sensitive, and culturally competent care for TGNC patients. ELEVATE is a nationwide initiative to create welcoming, gender-affirming healthcare environments for transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) patients. By improving the cultural competencies of healthcare professionals and personnel involved in primary care and in HIV care, the ultimate goal of ELEVATE is to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care for transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) patients. To learn more, visit www.elevate.annenberg.net

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 for only $25 per visit, 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 sixth 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.

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