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

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

Some Enchanted Evening – The Chase …

Some Enchanted Evening 

Broadway alights in the desert for one night to enthrall “The Chase” audience and help DAP Health raise funds for those most in need 

By Daniel Vaillancourt 

After an absence of more than 24 months, DAP Health presented its big annual benefit gala, The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards — rebranded “The Chase” for 2022 — set against the dramatic backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains outside the Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday, April 9. 

With a promise that attendees would “gala like never before,” the evening was indeed a departure from the usual such soirée held during the desert’s high season, starting with a cocktail reception featuring hot and cold hors-d’oeuvres provided by Lynn Toles’s Savoury’s Catering from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., during which more than 1,000 guests mingled with one another — some catching up with friends and acquaintances they’d not seen since the social circuit was abruptly shut down due to COVID in early 2020. All the while, acclaimed trumpeter, songwriter, producer and musical director Spencer Ludwig (a Latin Grammy winner who has performed with Dua Lipa and Harry Styles, but to name two musical megastars) DJ’d on the sun-dappled stage. 

Broadway in the Desert

The entirely al fresco affair kicked off in earnest with a short set of show tunes performed by Tony-nominated actor and singer Max von Essen, accompanied on piano by actor, writer, producer, and radio host Seth Rudetsky, affectionately known in theatre circles as the “Mayor of Broadway.” 

That dynamic duo was followed by the trio of gala co-chairs, DAP Health board vice chair Lauri Kibby and fellow board members Kevin Bass and Scott Nevins. Before thanking presenting sponsor Amazon and producing sponsor Eisenhower Health, Bass expressed how overjoyed everyone seemed to be back together again, likening the community to “a tribe, a village.” 

Host Michael Urie — the beloved, award-winning television and stage actor perhaps best known for co-starring in ABC’s “Ugly Betty” from 2006 to 2010 — then took helm of the evening, telling the jubilant crowd how happy he was to “celebrate the invaluable, vital services DAP offers” before revealing his fervent desire to soon serve as someone’s Palm Springs pool boy, a running joke he’d revisit, to hilarious effect, several times throughout the evening.  

CEO David Brinkman appeared next, delivering an impassioned speech in support of the organization’s “Vision Forward: Building for a Healthier Tomorrow” campaign. “So here we are, two years into devastating loss and isolation,” said Brinkman. “It can be exhausting. But it can also remind us of what matters most. It can clarify our vision of how we want to spend our time and resources in the future. Loss can erode our foundation, leaving us teetering, or it can motivate us to build a better and stronger community. I can assure you it’s done the latter for DAP Health.” 

Urging attendees to join the philanthropic effort, he likened DAP’s work to that of weaving a net that’s held up by all for the benefit of those less fortunate. “Getting the care you need and deserve can be out of reach on the best of days,” he continued. “Imagine the added challenges for someone experiencing homelessness, struggling with a mental health challenge, fighting an addiction, facing discrimination, or simply living with the daily stress of poverty. Most of the people we serve face two or more barriers to care at the same time.” 

After underscoring that Vision Forward will enable DAP to go from caring for 10,000 to 25,000 people annually, regardless of HIV status or ability to pay, Brinkman introduced the first of a series of videos highlighting the contributions of the myriad individuals who sustain DAP: its donors, volunteers, and staff members. 

Rudetsky then returned to the stage, this time accompanied by Eden Espinosa — the original understudy for Idina Menzel’s Elphaba in the Broadway production of “Wicked,” who went on to play the role not only on Broadway but in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They brought the house down with their interpretations of “Imagine” and “Defying Gravity.” 

Following that powerful musical interlude, Urie — who pulled double duty by also serving as the offstage voice throughout the show — made a second appearance, bringing veteran auction host Dale Johannes onstage. Together they dispensed a trio of packages, including one that boasted a small fortune of diamonds courtesy of Raju and Jaishri Mehta’s El Paseo Jewelers, that raised a total of nearly $100,000 for DAP. 

Before introducing an Amazon-produced clip showcasing one of the online retailer’s trans employees, Kibby spoke forcefully about how DAP’s focus has shifted in recent years in order to provide an ever-greater umbrella of programs and services. “In fact, one of the groups the non-profit is most determined to bring under its wing is women,” stressed Kibby, “including trans women.” 

Arguably the most moving moment of the night occurred midway, when DAP’s Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Jill Gover introduced a stirring video focusing on David Jervis, a once-suicidal patient who found the will and strength to survive after coming under the care of DAP psychologist Dr. Ryan Halquist. The montage was followed by the surprise appearance of Halquist and Jervis, the latter of whom — through copious heartfelt tears — said, “I am proof positive that DAP doesn’t just change lives. It saves lives. The size of your gift tonight doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you make it — that you do give — because when you do, you help DAP and professionals like Ryan pull people on the brink of the abyss back into the real world, where all of us belong. And for that, we the clients of DAP could not be more eternally grateful.” 

When the “Fund the Need” portion of the evening arrived, Urie and Johannes — thanks to a matching gift of $250,000 from longtime desert philanthropist Mark Adams — raised more than $600,000. On. The. Spot. 

Inaugural DAP Health Equity Award

Next, presenting DAP’s inaugural Health Equity Award to Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz, Mayor of Palm Springs Lisa Middleton commented that the honoree made great strides in Washington not only to call out inequality in health care, but to rectify those injustices. “When COVID struck the Coachella Valley head-on more than two years ago, it was Dr. Ruiz who obtained much-needed monies for all local health centers,” continued Middleton. “DAP Health received more than $3 million in federal COVID grants thanks to his efforts. And our community benefited, with DAP caring for, testing, and vaccinating 8,000 of us free of charge.” 

In his acceptance speech, Ruiz acknowledged all the friends and familiar faces he has been honored to serve for the last decade in Congress. “In your eyes, I see the struggle for equality and an unparalleled dignity derived from hope,” he said. “In your smiles, I see the sea of change that we have achieved together. And in your stories, I see my story and our common path towards a brighter, healthier future for all.”  

The second and final award of the evening was bestowed upon every member of DAP’s army of nearly 400 valiant volunteers. In accepting on their behalf, Revivals Stores volunteer Barb Fairbairn — who retired a few years ago after a rewarding career in nursing at San Francisco General Hospital, where she worked during the height of the AIDS epidemic — said, “I think I can speak for all of us when I say that when we were told the organization’s volunteers would be honored at this year’s The Chase, our first thought was ‘Why us?’ We don’t do what we do because we want recognition … We do the work of volunteering because we feel we’ve been very fortunate in our own lives and we want to pay that forward. We do the work because it’s the right thing to do as human beings living in this world in these crazy times.” 

Dancing to Deborah Cox

Urie and Nevins closed out the evening by announcing that more than one million dollars had been raised for DAP over the last few hours. They then yielded the spotlight to Deborah Cox, a Grammy-nominated singer and actress best known not only for her Broadway turns in musicals such as “Aida,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” and “The Bodyguard” but for her chart-topping pop, dance, and R&B hits. The star capped her 30-minute set with a rousing rendering of her best-known smash, “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” which got virtually every member of the audience on their feet to dance the night away. As irresistible as its beat is, the song’s statement was somewhat misleading. In fact, everyone was absolutely supposed to be there, because DAP’s reimagining of “The Chase” for 2022 was — in a word, and in every possible way — triumphant. 

 

Full disclosure: Daniel Vaillancourt is the longtime scriptwriter of The Chase, having written the show since 2011. 

Free COVID-19 Antibody Testing From DAP …

Media Contact

Jack Bunting

(760) 323-2118

COVID-19 Triage Clinic Hotline:

(760) 992-0407

Free COVID-19 Antibody Testing From DAP at FIND Free Mobile Market Community Food Distribution

When: This Thursday, June 25, 2020, from 3:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Where: James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center 480 W Tramview Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262

This Thursday, DAP will be providing no-charge asymptomatic COVID-19 antibody testing and educational materials to the public during FIND’s free Community Mobile Market food distribution at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center. This testing will take place from inside the DAP Mobile Testing Van.

DAP is committed to offering COVID-19 rapid antibody testing to our community, especially people facing financial challenges during this time. Our team will also be able to talk to anyone about our One Call program. This service helps people into insurance enrollment and healthcare services by making just one phone call to DAP at (760) 992-0426.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed gaps in healthcare access in the United States. CDC data shows that the death rates among Black and LatinX people are much higher than for white people, in all age categories.

According to CDC data, Black Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people with HIV, compared to other races and ethnicities. In 2018, Black Americans accounted for 13% of the US population, but 42% of the 37,832 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas.

For anyone interested, free HIV and HCV testing will also be available from DAP staff at that location that day. Community members who are unable to attend the June 25 event are encouraged to call DAP's COVID-19 Triage Clinic hotline to schedule a test by calling (760) 992-0407.

FIND Food Bank distributes food the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center. DAP typically provides HIV and HCV testing at this venue, and regularly partners with FIND for the health of the community. Read more about FIND Food Bank here.

Accessing healthy food in the Desert Highland Neighborhood has always been a challenge for residents. But after public outcry and a supporting health study by Loma Linda University Health and Desert Health Care District, providing nutritious options for people there has become top-of-mind for local leadership and community organizations. Read more here.

Hurdles Accessing Enough Food

Food Insecurity is an economic or social indicator of the health of the community with a direct correlation to poverty levels and poor health outcomes. At least 50% of our clients receive Supplementary Security Income, based on disability, which renders them ineligible for the CalFresh food "stamp" program. Other clients who are eligible for Cal-Fresh receive $16-$30 per month; amounts that are insufficient to fully alleviate food insecurity. Since DAP's founding, food assistance has been a vital component of our integrated approach to service delivery, based on the Chronic Care Model, a system of care that emphasizes patient self-management skills, and the Patient-Centered Medical Home model, which facilitates partnerships between patients and their healthcare providers.

About Our Clients

DAP serves vulnerable low-Income persons and families living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level inclusive of all races, ethnicities, gender orientation, and sexual identity, in addition to low-income people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Over one-third of DAP's patients/clients who are living with HIV are aged 50 years and older. DAP is well aware of the needs of clients and patients confronted by numerous complications of surviving long-term with HIV, including subsisting on fixed incomes.

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

Visit www.desertaidsproject.org and www.thedockclinic.org to learn more.

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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.

Local restaurants ‘Make One Meal Matte …

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steven Henke
shenke@desertaidsproject.org
(760) 656-8401

Dining Out for Life Coachella Valley is April 27
Local restaurants ‘Make One Meal Matter’ to benefit Desert AIDS Project

PALM SPRINGS, CA, (March 30, 2017) More than 60 restaurants across the Coachella Valley will ‘Make One Meal Matter’ on April 27 when they participate in Dining Out for Life 2017 supporting Desert AIDS Project. Locally, an estimated 10,000 diners will eat breakfast, lunch or dinner during the annual event which also happens in cities across the United State and Canada.

Click here for a list of all participating restaurants

Dining Out for Life is a national campaign held each year on the last Thursday in April throughout the United States and Canada to raise funds for AIDS Service Organizations. Generous participating restaurants in the Coachella Valley have committed to contribute 33% or more of their food, beverage, and liquor gross sales to support Desert AIDS Project on April 27.

“This is a unique opportunity for people to join the fight against HIV/AIDS. Just choose one of the participating restaurants and enjoy a meal with friends or family and enjoy a great meal. We are grateful to the restaurants that continue to support our mission and pleased to welcome many new ones this year.” said David Brinkman, CEO of Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.).

Dining Out for Life has benefitted Desert AIDS Project for twelve years, raising $200,000 last year alone. It’s always been a popular event in the West Valley, but with the list of new participants this year, it has become a truly valley-wide event.

“The event generates community awareness of HIV / AIDS and supports Desert AIDS Projects mission to enhance health and well-being of our community.” Added Brinkman

Founded in 1984 in Palm Springs, California, as a volunteer response to the emerging AIDS crisis, Desert AIDS Project today is the largest nonprofit federally qualified health center in Palm Springs specializing in HIV care and prevention. The agency’s “Get Tested Coachella Valley” public health initiative is dedicated to ensuring that every teen and adult knows their HIV status and that those who test positive are connected to care. D.A.P. serves over 3,600 clients who reside in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties of Southern California.

“For more than 30 years, Desert AIDS Project has provided primary health care, dental, social services and nutrition to people living with HIV and AIDS. Fundraisers like Dining Out for Life help us serve the fifty new clients who walk through our doors every month” said Darrell Tucci, Chief Development Officer at Desert AIDS Project.

“Dining Out for Life is a fun event that brings our community together. Our volunteer ambassadors look forward to welcoming diners every year.   People don’t have to do anything special. We’re not asking anyone to do something out of the ordinary. We’re just asking people to ‘Make One Meal Matter’ by going out to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends and family at participating restaurants.” Said George Nasci-Sinatra, Resource Development Event Manager at Desert AIDS Project.

Participating restaurants include (but are not limited to)  Townie Bagels, The Barn Kitchen at Sparrows Lodge, Pho 533, Ristretto For Coffee Lovers, Spencer’s Restaurant, Trio Restaurant, Chill Bar, Alicante Spanish American Cuisine, Bongo Johnny’s Patio Bar & Grille, LULU California Bistro, Over The Rainbow Cupcakes, Raw Remedy Organic Juice & Raw Food Bar, Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill, Sunshine Café, Zin American Bistro, Appetito Deli. Aspen Mills Bakery & Café, Bonta Restaurant & Bar, Catalan Mediterranean Restaurant, Chicken Ranch, Copley’s On Palm Canyon, Dickey’s Barbeque Pit- Palm Springs, dish Creative Cuisine, Draughtsman, Eight4Nine Restaurant, El Mirasol at Los Arboles, El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana, Escena Lounge & Grill, FARM, Firehouse Subs Palm Desert, Firehouse Subs Palm Springs, Fox & Fiddle California, Georgie’s Alibi/Azul, Guacamoles, Jake’s, JT’s Diner, Kaiser Grille Palm Desert, Kaiser Grille, Palm Springs, King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, Maracas Cantina & Grill – Rancho Mirage, Maracas Mexican Cantina & Grill – Palm Springs, Pinocchio in the Desert, Purple Palm at Colony Palms Hotel, Reservoir, The Slice N.Y. Style Pizzeria Ristorante, SO•PA at L’Horizon Resort and Spa, Tipper’s Gourmet Marketplace, The Tropicale, Vicky’s of Santa Fe, Watercress Vietnamese Bistro, Blaze Pizza – Palm Desert, Blaze Pizza – Palm Springs, The Terrace at Hilton Palm Springs.

About Desert AIDS Project
Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering D.A.P. 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.  D.A.P.’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and free HIV and HCV testing. D.A.P.’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future.  D.A.P. is rated a “Top 20 HIV Charity” by About.com. Visit www.desertaidsproject.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

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Desert AIDS Walk October 22 Ruth Hardy P …

The 30th Annual Desert AIDS Walk

PALM SPRINGS, CA (October 13, 2016) – In 1987, former First Lady Betty Ford, actor Kirk Douglas and his wife Ann lead the first steps of the Desert AIDS Walk. On October 22 over 2,000 community members will unite in Ruth Hardy Park to walk in the 30th Desert AIDS Walk in support Desert AIDS Project, presented by Desert Regional Medical Center.

Desert AIDS Project has grown from a small group of volunteers who founded D.A.P. in 1984 to one of the most comprehensive and respected AIDS service providers in the country. In the past 12 months, individuals seeking care at D.A.P has grown by an astounding 65%. 50 new patients walk thru the door every month.

This year’s walk events begin at 8 am on Saturday, October 22 in Ruth Hardy Park. DJ JC DiStefano will energize the park while walkers sign-in and explore the Health & Wellness Festival featuring over 40 vendor booths and a kids activity zone. The main stage will be emceed by 2016 Queen of the Desert, Tommi Rose and 2016 Queen of the Desert Fan Favorite Pinkie Meringue Shimmer.

Prior to stepping off on the walk, which follows a 2.5 mile route through downtown Palm Springs, walkers will enjoy live entertainment from headliner Pepper Mashay and local talent Marina MacDesert Winds Freedom Band will perform along Palm Canyon Drive as walkers pass by.

Congressman Raul Ruiz and Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon lead the group of distinguished community leaders and D.A.P. partners making remarks prior to the walk stepping off at 9:30am. Joining them will be Desert AIDS Project CEO David Brinkman, D.A.P. Board Chair Steve Kaufer Carolyn Caldwell, CEO of Desert Regional Medical Center, presenting sponsor of the 2016 Desert AIDS Walk.

 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

8:00    DJ welcomes walkers with energizing music.
Breakfast courtesy of Koffi

Health & Wellness Festival opens

8:30     David Brinkman, CEO Desert AIDS Project

Steve Kaufer, D.A.P. Board Chair

8:35     Robert Moon, Mayor Palm Springs

8:40     Raul Ruiz, Congressman

Carolynn Caldwell, CEO Desert Regional Medical Center

8:45     Urban Yoga Warm-Up

Marina Mac Performs

9:00     Pepper Mashay Performs

9:30     Walkers Step Off

10:30   Walkers Return to Park | Health & Wellness Festival | Live Performances Continue

Gay Mens Chorus Performs

Marina Mac Performs

Pepper Mashay Performs


2016 Desert AIDS Walk Sponsors

Presented by Desert Regional Medical Center.

Major sponsors: Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Gilead, Wells Fargo, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Eisenhower Medical Center, City of Palm Springs, MDVIP, The Desert Sun, KMIR, Desert Oasis Healthcare.

Other Sponsors include: Revivals, Jus Chillin, Koffi, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Zin American Bistro, United Way of the Desert, VIP Mobile Suites, The Standard Magazine, Gay Desert Guide, and CV Independent

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) serves our community with primary and HIV-specialty services, including medical care, case management, and social services, including food, housing, and counseling. D.A.P. also provides HIV prevention education and free and confidential HIV testing at dozens of community test sites and events through its Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign. They also offer The DOCK, a sexual health clinic, whose services include STD testing and treatment; PEP & PrEP education and referral to treatment; free and confidential HIV testing; and well woman exams. With new advances in treatment, improved access to care through health reform and new prevention technology, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), D.A.P. is committed to bringing the HIV epidemic to an end.

About Pepper Mashay

Pepper MaShay exploded on the dance scene in the summer of 2000 with her mega smash hit “Dive in the Pool” (the un-official theme song from Showtime’s Queer As Folk & best described as the “It’s Raining Men” of the 21st Century).

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