WELCOMING WELLNESS AT PALM SPRINGS PRIDE
Words by Ellen Bluestein
DAP Health had an elevated presence at this year’s Pride weekend. Held November 3-5, 2022, attendees at the annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community were introduced to the extensive programs and services offered by the organization and its partners. In fact, DAP Health’s entire participation in Pride was predicated on showcasing the breadth of its healthcare services to the public. “DAP Health is opening the aperture a little bit wider to the community's understanding that DAP Health is healthcare,” said Steven Henke, DAP Health director of brand marketing.
“The weekend was a huge success,” Henke continued. “This was the first time DAP Health created a comprehensive pavilion space that invited the community into wellness.” The pavilion offered free programs throughout the weekend that covered a wide range of topics, from yoga and speed friending to sexual wellness and recovery, incorporating panel discussions and conversations with partner organizations including Planned Parenthood, Queer Works, Brothers of the Desert, and the L-Fund.
The pavilion was a community effort. “We couldn't have done it without the people who volunteered to be on the panels and lead yoga and to do all those things,” said Henke. “It was remarkable. We had an opportunity to have a lot of meaningful conversations that taught us some important truths during Pride, and it speaks volumes about the talent and the commitment of the DAP Health employees who were willing to donate their weekend and the weeks leading up to the event to create this beautiful expression of Pride.”
In addition, DAP Health’s community health team distributed over 800 life-saving fentanyl testing strips, 17 doses of Narcan (the nasal inhalant that reverses opioid overdoses), and 45 HIV self-test kits. The mobile clinic conducted 22 STI tests, while community partner Riverside County Department of Public Health administered 500 MPX and 200 flu vaccinations.
But healthcare extends far beyond the medical, as evidenced by both the signs the DAP Health team carried in the signature parade and the programming at the pavilion. “We are advocating for equitable access to healthcare, including mental health, recovery, and harm reduction,” said Henke. “We were really inviting people to understand that healthcare at DAP Health is so much more than they thought.”
“There are so many people who still think we only provide one service,” continued Henke. “I think the beautiful thing about being at Pride — having the pavilion, and then having our team marching down Palm Canyon, holding those signs — is that we were able to show the community what we mean when we say that DAP Health is an advocacy-based healthcare organization, what we mean when we say we are fighting for healthcare equity for the LGBTQ+ community, what we mean when we say we're expanding access so that more people can experience wellness.”