DAP Health Announces Date For Its 2023 Health Equity Walk
The popular event, formerly known as the Desert AIDS Walk, kicks off at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 28
at Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs.
Consistent with DAP Health’s almost 40-year history of protecting and expanding access to health care, the organization has renamed its perennially popular Desert AIDS Walk the DAP Health Equity Walk as an affirmation of its mission to remove all barriers to care.
Presented by Desert Care Network, the event will take place throughout Palm Springs — kicking off from Ruth Hardy Park at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 28 — and will feature a Health & Wellness Village sponsored by Walgreens.
The pet- and kid-friendly affair is an opportunity for all residents across the Coachella Valley to walk out loud so that every member of the community — regardless of who or where they are — can achieve optimal health in a more just system.
“When we were founded as Desert AIDS Project almost 40 years ago, there were no HIV medications, advocacy was in its infancy, and the prognosis for those sickened by the disease was inevitably grim,” says DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “Four decades later, our work to end HIV continues through prevention and education, but our measurable successes have enabled us to also create a unique patient-centered model of care we can replicate in other marginalized communities, removing barriers for those who need it most. Honoring our past to create health equity is part of our history and how we plan to continue making history for decades to come.”
With the recent acquisition of the Borrego Health system, a total of more than 100,000 patients of all populations, genders, and ages — from newborns to seniors — at a total of 25 Southern California clinics located within 240 rural and urban zip codes from the Salton Sea to San Diego now fall under DAP Health’s protective umbrella of care.
“Because DAP Health now works on behalf of such a large swath of individuals, it makes sense to broaden our walk’s mission to reflect the totality of our patient population,” continues Brinkman. “While compassionate, state-of-the-art HIV care and prevention is in our organization’s DNA, and will forever be at the heart of our work, the truth is that today, our lifesaving efforts are carried out on behalf of everyone in disciplines that include primary care, OB-GYN, pediatrics, gender affirmation, mental health, harm reduction, and recovery, to name but seven. The walk, one of our biggest annual fundraisers, is now representative of the incredible diversity of services we offer.”
Participants and supporters of the 2023 DAP Health Equity Walk are being asked to do the following:
Walk Out Loud to End HIV. HIV/AIDS care, testing, and prevention have always been at the heart of DAP Health’s mission, and that simple fact will never change. The organization’s clinical expertise has been hard-won from its vast experience, and is what has enabled it to expand as it has.
Walk Out Loud For LGBTQ+ Care. Every stripe of the rainbow, including those seeking gender-affirming care, have continually found a safe haven here, free of shame and stigma.
Walk Out Loud For Women’s Health. The recent acquisition of the Borrego Health system has brought a multitude of clinics that serve women (and their children) into the DAP Health fold. The nonprofit is very proud to now boast robust OB-GYN and pediatric services, among many others.
Walk Out Loud to End Epidemics. This has forever been DAP Health’s superpower, with the organization swiftly and successfully addressing a number of community health crises. For instance, its on-campus COVID-19 clinic was the first to open in the Coachella Valley, and the agency successfully lobbied the powers that be for the community’s fair share of the much-needed mpox vaccine.
Walk Out Loud For Mental Health. Thanks to the 2022 opening of the Marc Byrd Behavioral Health Clinic — which offers in-person and telehealth individual psychotherapy, as well as medication management — this long-held DAP Health dream is now a reality.
Walk Out Loud to Care For Everyone. Health equity means all people have the same access to health care, no matter what social determinants of health negatively impact them. At DAP Health, everyone is welcome, with no one ever turned away due to their lack of health insurance.
Of note, the Ryan White Western Regions Provider Meeting — which brings together nearly 50 peers who specialize in HIV care, and who receive the Ryan White Western Regions Provider Meeting — which brings together nearly 50 peers who specialize in HIV care, and who receive Ryan White Part C and Part D funding — will take place October 26 and 27 in Palm Springs. At the event, these like-minded colleagues, from Denver to Hawaii, will share best practices to improve the quality of care and services they provide to their patients.