health Better Health Today ISSUE 2, 2022
Designing a Healthier Tomorrow daphealth.org
Housing is Health Care
DAP HEALTH 1695 N. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday 760.323.2118
Welcome to the second edition of DAP Health Magazine. The theme of this edition is ‘Designing a Healthier Tomorrow.’ We invite you to meet the people helping DAP Health innovate to create greater wellness for our community. Our fashion story features DAP Health employees wearing thrift-store fashion from Revivals. Learn why a healthier planet starts in your closet when you “wear it again.” We assembled a dream team for this photo shoot. In addition to our health care models, we collaborated with fashion stylist Neil Cohen, photographer Kevin McDermott, and make-up artist Miki Straus (a former Queen of the Desert title holder). The feature was shot at Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs — still family-owned after more than 70 years in business. Wellness begins with We at DAP Health. Dive into the story about the services available on our campus. You will want to Namasté this way. Meet architect Maria Song and learn how we are co-creating a health care home in our “Designing a Healthier Tomorrow” feature. The organic design details of our new Marc Byrd Mental Health Clinic were captured by photographer Donato Di Natale. The Annette Bloch Care Building bears the name of the mega philanthropist whose generous gift helped fund the building. We lost Annette last year, but Linda Lyon, her daughter, continued her mother’s support of DAP Health by pledging $1 million to our capital campaign while giving a speech honoring her mother at an event celebrating her life. In “Words Matter,” we explore person-first language and how choosing the right words can make ourselves and the people we talk about feel better. In our leadership series, we profile two of our board members in a conversation about the future of health care and our Client Advisory Board, which guides the decisions DAP Health makes to better serve our patients. And, in a nod to our LGBTQ+ history, we introduce readers to the new Palm Springs AIDS Memorial and feature a story about how lesbians led during the AIDS crisis. We are proud to share this edition of DAP Health with you and hope it brings you closer to the (WE)llness everyone deserves. David Brinkman, MBA CEO, DAP Health
PRESIDENT AND CEO David Brinkman EXECUTIVE EDITOR Director of Brand Marketing Steven Henke CREATIVE DIRECTOR Senior Marketing Manager Dustin Gruber ART DIRECTOR Tes Schaff PHOTOGRAPHERS Mark Davidson Donato Di Natale Lani Garfield Kevin McDermott John Pascal WRITERS Ellen Bluestein Jack Bunting Lawrence Karol Lorenzo Taylor Daniel Vaillancourt BOARD OF DIRECTORS Patrick Jordan, Chair Lauri Kibby, Vice Chair Fred Drewette, Treasurer Mark Hamilton, Secretary BOARD MEMBERS Kevin Bass Carolyn Caldwell Ginny Ehrlich Jerry Fogelson Eve E. Fromberg-Edelstein, Esq. Athalie LaPamuk Bertil Lindblad Kyle Mudd Scott Nevins ABOUT US DAP Health is an advocacy-based medical and mental health center in Palm Springs, CA that serves more than 10,000 patients. It offers primary care, mental health services, dentistry, pharmacy and lab services, and free STI testing and treatment. Also available are social services, various support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness options. The latest HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the Coachella Valley. This wide array of options enables patients to achieve optimal health. COVER Photo by Kevin McDermott DAP Health employee Alexis Gonzalez Ramos is wearing an outfit and accessories thrifted at Revivals. 3
Designing a Healthier Tomorrow.................................6 Wellness as a Way of Life..........................................12 Leading the Way Toward a Healthier Tomorrow........20 Sexual Wellness Clinic Coming to Indio....................24 Vision Forward...........................................................32 Style and Substance.................................................34 A Starry Night Benefiting a Humanitarian Giant........46 The Chase.................................................................52 Harm Reduction Program.........................................64 Trenton Ducati and At-Home HIV Testing.................66 Where Everything Old is New Again..........................70
Dr. Alyssa Romero is wearing an outfit thrifted at Revivals. Top: Vintage sequined butterfly Pants: Model’s Own Shoes: Only Madden Bag: Wine bottle bag 5
Designing a Healthier Tomorrow
DAP HEALTH’S CAMPUS EXPANSION IS CREATING A MORE FAMILIAL ENVIRONMENT FOR BOTH PATIENTS AND CLINICIANS. Words by Lawrence Karol Photos by Donato Di Natale
Even if you’ve never watched a home renovation television show, you’ve most likely heard the familiar design refrain about “bringing the outdoors inside.” But it’s a concept very few people associate with the often impersonal environment of many health care facilities. That’s just one of the numerous reasons why the ongoing redesign and expansion of DAP Health’s 13-acre campus is so unique. “One of the cornerstones of our designs is bringing nature inside and blurring the line between outdoor and indoor to welcome the idea of hope and health,” says Maria Song, a partner at the Palm Springs-based Interactive Design Corporation (IDC), the architectural firm overseeing DAP Health’s expansion. “When opening enclosed spaces, the openings grant a reprieve from the manmade world. The interior environment brings in the exterior with daylight, natural materials such as wood and stone, colors reflecting natural elements such as plants and water, and window openings to soothing views of landscape.” Various research studies offer support for the link between interior design and health care outcomes. In 2019, MultiBriefs — a producer of email publications that cover top stories in various fields including health care — reported that, “One of the biggest successes in interior design in recent years has been the recognition that the design of health care interiors can have a significant impact on patient experience and, consequently, health outcomes. For more than two decades, research and case studies have documented various ways in which patient-centered improvements to the interior environment can make positive contributions to patients’ physiological and psychological health.” This integral connection between design and health outcomes has been the focus of DAP Health’s approach since its founding in 1984. The internationally known interior designer Steve Chase, who succumbed to AIDS in 1994, was involved with the design of DAP Health’s original facility as well as the social service wing and main hallways of its current location. His legacy and generosity led to the creation of the organization’s annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards event. “Everybody reacts to their physical environment,” says David Brinkman, DAP Health’s CEO. “And it’s our job when we work with designers to grow our facility, or to modernize portions of our facility, to be very thoughtful about how design can help soothe people’s nerves, help people feel welcome who have traditionally been excluded, help people feel confident who are coming to us in fear, and help people feel welcomed who traditionally have felt unwelcome in health care settings. And so everything from color to light to even smells are thought through.”
Architect Maria Song, a partner at the Palm Springs-based Interactive Design Corporation and DAP Health CEO David Brinkman in DAP Health’s Blue Clinic.
DAP Health’s Blue Clinic and Green Clinic, both of which opened in March 2020, are one phase of the organization’s expansion that’s embraced this philosophy. The clinics’ colors were inspired by the seven chakras — the word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, the term refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. “The colors are important in Eastern medicine and in Eastern healing modalities, and their use at DAP Health is an acknowledgment that through our past history we have learned that the more comprehensive and diverse the approach and modalities are to health care and healing, the better the outcomes will be,” says Brinkman. In addition to being inspired by the colors of the seven chakras, Song explains that the corridor to the clinic buildings was redesigned to follow the concept of memorable pedestrian alleyways in Europe, making the entrances to each clinic similar to unique storefronts. “The entrances are recognizable and the experience of going through a portal made of natural material [in this case birch wood] emphasizes the transition from the ‘alleyway’ to a destination for quality health care,” she adds. “In the clinics themselves, the use of natural materials, new skylights, and light color palettes avoids a cold, clinical environment.” Beyond their outward aesthetics, all of DAP Health’s clinics are purposefully designed to be small and intimate. When a patient receives their care in the Blue Clinic, for example, they will always receive their primary care in that clinic. Similarly, the same provider team works in the Blue Clinic every day of the year that it’s open. “This creates a more familial environment for both the patient and the provider,”
notes Brinkman. “That is by design and it’s intentional because we never want our patients to feel like they’re a number, or that they’re coming into an airport terminal. We want their experience to feel intimate, to know the names of the staff, and the staff to know their name, and to use an integrated team approach as a part of their care strategy.” Once the campus expansion is completed, DAP Health will have four primary care clinics — Blue, Green, Yellow, and Magenta. “And when we say ‘primary care,’ it’s primary care but it’s also infectious disease care,” says Brinkman. “That is our specialty. We also practice HIV medicine in our primary care settings, as well as gender-affirming care and we’re expanding our women’s specialty care. So, our term for primary care is pretty broad.” In addition, a unique aspect of these clinics versus what most people think of as primary care is that each of them will also have social workers among the staff, as well as a mental health specialist. This framework aligns with DAP Health’s holistic approach to patients’ overall health care and allows all of its different team members to be a part of delivering primary care. Another major component of DAP Health’s campus expansion is a new pavilion that will connect their original building with their medical facility. “The DAP Health campus is composed of several buildings built over several decades with different architectural styles,” says Song. “The new pavilion provides an architectural language which connects the history of the campus. The main function of the pavilion is to serve the patrons of DAP Health with much-needed services.” These services will include an information desk, a pharmacy, two waiting lounges, a café, a multipurpose
The Marc Byrd Mental Health Clinic waiting area located in the Barbara Keller Love Building.
Tactile textures bring the outside in throughout clinic settings.
meeting room for group meetings — as well as yoga and teaching classes — that opens up to an urban garden, plus a lab. “So, it’s really a terminal in between the two buildings that connects the access,” adds Song. “Having the pavilion organizes and introduces the services in a much easier way to patients instead of having them figure out where they need to go.” Another important consideration in the new pavilion design was vehicular organization. “We will have a very easily recognized front entry door to the campus and one that is easily accessible by car and allows somebody to be dropped off from both directions.” Song also notes that DAP Health’s original building was mid-century modern in style, “so what we’re trying to do with our new pavilion addition is bring back some of the recognizable mid-century modern organizations of glass, and openings, and simple shapes.” An additional feature that’s an important part of IDC’s design is a landscape park that will surround the pavilion. “The new pavilion faces west and the sunsets will be unforgettable,”
says Song. “However, summertime will be brutal. Our design includes urban parks composed of luscious desert trees. These parks will frame the west façade of the building and provide calming shade. The temperature difference between shaded and non-shaded surfaces is over 19 degrees, so these urban parks will become cooler, mini-climate zones that clean the air, reduce urban heat, and provide employees and guests alike with wonderful views.” All of these improvements are being made possible by a capital campaign launched pre-COVID during which generous members of the community donated $13.5 million. With that funding, DAP Health was able to build the Blue and Green Clinics, as well as its new Purple Clinic — the Marc Byrd Mental Health Clinic — and the Orange Clinic for sexual wellness. They were also able to acquire the land to build Vista Sunrise II, a new affordable housing facility, and to purchase the building that will house their Yellow and Magenta Clinics. “We have $6.5 million left to raise,” notes Brinkman. “That funding will go to expanding our primary care work, our dentistry work, and our sexual wellness 9
work. When we achieve our goal, we’ll be able to move from serving 10,000 to 25,000 people annually.”
avoid the ‘big box’ designs that would dishearten residents by appearing to lack thought and consideration.”
Like the other buildings that are part of the campus expansion, Vista Sunrise II is being planned and laid out with the goal of creating healthier spaces. “As designers, we prize aesthetics and livability because every human deserves the dignity of a home in which they can be proud, happy, and uplift themselves with the help of the surrounding community,” says Song. One special feature of the complex will be a central demonstration kitchen. “We’ve taken the opportunity for what is traditionally a community room, or a rec room, in an affordable housing facility and we’ve turned it into a large kitchen,” says Brinkman. “Whether people are cooking together, or a chef is coming in from the community, or our nutritionist is teaching healthy cooking courses, we know people like to gather around for meals.”
Interior finishes will be true to IDC’s design roots: natural materials and natural light, along with safety and accessibility. The apartment interiors will include slip-resistant, wood-look floors; shades of blue, light gray, and natural white; plus built-in cabinets, fixtures, and countertops that are universal design. “Universal design means that a handicapped person with a wheelchair could use it,” says Song. “A person who has health challenges could use it. It’s really for everybody and doesn’t exclude anyone.” A January 2022 article in Kitchen & Bath Business observes that, “Universal design expands beyond basic structural access to include design strategies that support mental health and offer collaborative spaces to foster social cohesion and wellness spaces to promote physical and emotional well-being.” It also noted that, “Design choices can affect our well-being, and therefore the urgent need to think about the future begins now. It makes sense then that more residential designers incorporate wellness into their scope of work.”
Another great gathering spot will be a park that’s being created in what’s currently a large retention basin adjacent to the Vista Sunrise II site. “People can bring their pets and it will have built-in seating so they can watch the sun set behind the San Jacinto Mountains,” says Brinkman. “We also know that dog parks are a fantastic place for people to meet and to build community, so it ties in well with our community wing and the values behind it.” The apartments themselves will be composed with two important views. One takes in the courtyard, which will encourage community and social interaction among residents. “The other view looks to the mountains, providing residents with a sense of hope, healing, and spaciousness,” says Song. “The site design is a well-integrated plan that encourages and supports pedestrian circulation, outdoor activities with recreational areas, and social interaction. We always create affordable housing with design flairs, such as playful color palettes and non-rectilinear building masses. We A rendering of Vista Sunrise II
The progressive spirit that’s at the core of wellness philosophy has been central to DAP Health’s mission since its founding almost 40 years ago. Its campus expansion is building upon that legacy and Steve Chase’s heartfelt desire to make their original facility’s interior feel more intimate. “His goal was to make DAP welcoming,” says Brinkman. “And reflect our belief that all people who entrust us with their health, regardless of their financial situation, should receive excellent care in surroundings that are clean, safe, and modern and reflect our values of inclusivity, inventiveness, and conscientiousness.” To get involved and learn more about Vision Forward, DAP’s Health campaign to care for 25,000 people, contact James Lindquist, JLindquist@daphealth.org.
More Healing with Chiropractic DAP Health has added a new doctor to its Chiropractic team, a move to make it easier for patients to get care. Alyssa Romero, DC, brings clinical expertise with a background in sports medicine, and a passion to help people heal in a community setting. “We’re confident that Dr. Romero coming on board will alleviate some of the scheduling pressure and shorten wait times,” says Dr. Jim Cox, head of DAP Health Chiropractic Clinic. Dr. Romero’s work first impressed Dr. Cox when they worked together in the mobile Chiropractic Clinic during AIDS/LifeCycle. Both were part of the medical team monitoring more than 2,500 cyclists and an additional 600 roadies as they completed the 545-mile journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Set up at various checkpoints along the way, they needed to be ready for anything.
“He is one of the most caring people I have met, and he genuinely loves to help patients get better,” she says. “He brings a smile and laughter to work, and that energy is what made me want to work alongside him at DAP Health.” The level of help DAP Health gives its patients and clients also was a motivator for Dr. Romero. A surprise to many, DAP Health helps with food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and ongoing health care. “I was like, I want to be a part of that too!”
Dr. Romero handled a lot of patient intake.
A Coachella Valley native, Dr. Romero is putting her sports medicine expertise to good use to help non-athletes make their bodies function better.
“It’s a daunting task that she handled with professionalism and grace,” says Dr. Cox. “Always a smile on her face, expressing genuine concern for anyone’s needs.”
“I might not be doing sportsrelated things here in this office, but I still have to teach patients how to properly sit, to stand and have form,” she says.
The experience at AIDS/LifeCycle showed that Dr. Romero is suited for the patient focused care that DAP Health provides.
And as more people take up hiking to get back in shape, Dr. Romero shares the same advice she’d give an athlete.
“I noticed her immediate grasp of any job at hand and the ability to connect with people,“ says Dr. Cox. “She’ll do just fine in the busy setting that DAP Health can often be.”
“Let me tell you how to use your glutes properly,” she says. “So that way it takes pressure off of your knees.”
Dr. Romero described how her experience with Dr. Cox during AIDS/ LifeCycle made her want to work with him full time. A cyclist hobbled over to our treatment tent in quite a bit of distress and needed treatment immediately, she says. “We rushed him back and Dr. Cox actually worked on his lower back in order to get him out of the acute pain so he could ride that day,” says Dr. Romero.
For her patients who are piecing together how to embrace living without masks and getting more exercise, she has sound advice. “It is important to remember to listen to your body, gradually increase your activity level, find an exercise activity you love and simply do it more.” DAP Health patients can request chiropractic appointments on MyChart or by calling 760.323.2118.
we llness [ ]
as a way of
Words by Lawrence Karol
THE WELLNESS CENTER AT DAP HEALTH OFFERS MORE THAN TWO DOZEN OPTIONS. DAP Health’s mission is to enhance and promote the health and well-being of the community. But there’s a lot more behind that effort than just providing primary and specialty medical care. From acupuncture to urban yoga, DAP Health has a whole host of wellness programs that address every aspect of its patients’ lives — whether it’s physical, spiritual, emotional, or intellectual — and help patient health outcomes. “Our wellness services offer a spectrum of complementary and alternative wellness programming,” says Cory Lujan, DAP Health’s client wellness manager. “Our goal is to support conventional and routine medical care. Services such as yoga, chair massage, and acupuncture specifically help with pain management and stress, anxiety, and a host of other ailments.” Harvard Health Publishing, which is the consumer health education division of Harvard Medical School, notes that yoga, in particular, “promotes physical health in multiple different ways. Some of them derive from better stress management. Others come more directly from the physical movements and postures in yoga, which help promote flexibility and reduce joint pain.” At DAP Health, Kristin Olson’s Urban Yoga Studio is located in the main building. (Olson has owned her yoga studio for 12
decades and employs many yoga instructors.) There are three weekly classes that are ideal for beginners or those with decreased mobility. The classes are free for DAP patients, while there is a fee for the general public. Despite being less well-known than yoga, DAP Health’s sound bath classes have also developed a devoted following. Like yoga, sound bath sessions can help reduce anxiety and stress — and, despite their name, they do not involve water or a bathtub. Lujan explains that sound bath is a music meditation where the attendees are immersed in the sound of various frequencies of singing bowls. “Our Reiki specialist, Sarah Stern, leads the sound bath and uses multiple instruments, including gongs, rain drums, and chimes.” Speaking of Reiki, this Japanese energy-healing technique is another patient wellness program that helps with stress reduction, relaxation, and also promotes healing. “It’s very popular among those who are into spirituality,” says Lujan. “The Reiki practitioner does not touch her patient. She uses energy healing to realign the body’s energy. Patients usually report the same feelings as that of meditation and they come out feeling spiritually moved and some are in tears.” If all these wellness programs leave you primed to take on more activities, be sure to check out the wide variety of other events offered at DAP Health — everything from a knitting group to a book club to the Soles on Sunrise walking group. For questions about DAP Health wellness services, contact the Wellness Center Administrative Assistant at 760.323.2118.
That’s the Point If you’re experiencing bodily aches and pains — or other troubling conditions such as headaches, insomnia, anxiety, or depression — you may want to consider acupuncture treatments. This traditional Eastern art is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body by inserting thin needles through the skin. As part of DAP Health’s holistic approach to health care, acupuncture is employed as a complementary and alternative form of medicine that can be used in conjunction with conventional medical care. DAP Health’s acupuncturist, Askat Ruzyev, explains that acupuncture works in concert with the endorphins in our bodies. It’s thought that acupuncture increases the blood flow to areas that are stimulated by the needles and may trigger the release of those endorphins, which in turn act as a sort of natural painkiller. “It’s, so to speak, your natural Walgreens,” says Ruzyev.
Serenity Zone If you’ve ever seen an actual dog in the downward-facing dog position, you’d have to admit they seem to take great pleasure from the movement. Yet many of us shake our heads and say, “Oh, I couldn’t do that” when it comes to practicing the same stretch in a yoga class. “They think everyone is like a pretzel, or cooked spaghetti, all wound up and tangled up and their legs are in the air and their hands are on the ground,” says Kristin Olson, the owner of Urban Yoga Center. To help counter that notion, Olson and her instructors offer hatha yoga classes three times a week at DAP Health that are ideal for beginners and people of all ages and physical fitness levels. “Hatha yoga is about the integration of the body, mind, and spirit, stretching, and based on breath and movement,” says Olson. “Once you step into a class, all [of our] teachers are going to be considerate of the limitations of the students and the familiarity with the structure. So you’re never going to be made to feel bad and out of whack.”
In a situation where a clinician at DAP Health has prescribed pain medication for a patient experiencing a condition like lower back pain, they may also refer them to Ruzyev for acupuncture. During a 30-minute treatment, he will insert between four and 15 needles into various points on the body — the specific areas vary based on the patient and their symptoms. “Obviously I watch how people react to the needles,” says Ruzyev. “Some people are very sensitive, so I wouldn’t do more than two [needles]. I do my best, considering the situation, in order to provide treatment so they get some relief. But then there are people who fall asleep because they feel so relaxed.” The needles themselves are inserted at different depths depending on the muscle. For example, the gluteus maximus muscle is large and thick so the needle can go deeper. But when the needle is inserted near a bony area, such as the ankle or wrist, it doesn’t go in as far. Above all else, Ruzyev tries to create a relaxed environment for patients and takes a gentle approach, especially during their first treatment. “I don’t do anything crazy, just a couple of needles to kind of let them experience it so they build up [their comfort level] little by little.”
While each of the classes offered at DAP Health involves the same stretches and routines, the sequence will vary from one session to the next depending on the instructor. And Olson notes that one of the ways yoga is different than, for example, going to the gym and doing 10 repetitions of an exercise is that yoga is more encompassing of breathing and working through the entire body so that you stretch, strengthen, and aerate the body. “Being healthy, learning to have a little quiet time, a guided meditation, or guided breath work takes you out of that analytical mind,” says Olson. “You begin to quiet the questioning, regretful mind and you begin to get into kind of a soft and open space. And that’s really where the nectar is — the relaxation, the empowerment, [and] the spiritual consciousness. You find your grace in those moments.” So while you may never touch your toes, or do the perfect downward-facing dog pose, Olson’s yoga classes will help you to begin to get a sense of your body and understand where your own flexibility and strength lie.
Have a Seat The chair massage treatments administered at DAP are nothing like the ones you’ve seen people receive in malls, salons, and other public spaces. The practice is a specialty of Phil Hinds, who has been a licensed massage therapist at DAP Health for nine years. Most patients arrive at their appointments with pain in their neck, shoulders, back, or lower back. “I’ve taken it to a much different level in that I do deep tissue work,” says Hinds. “I do a lot of stretching, which you would generally not find in a salon-type situation.” In addition, because of DAP Health’s integrated team approach, patient referrals often occur between Hinds and those who practice acupuncture, chiropractic, and reiki. “I can stretch you out so that when you go to see the chiropractor, his work then becomes a lot more effective and easier because your muscles are relaxed [and] much more receptive to the adjustment.” Similarly, a patient may book a visit with Hinds to soften upper body muscle tissue and hopefully make it easier for the acupuncturist to work problem areas more effectively. “I’m looking at it much more therapeutically than as something just to get the knots out, or just to relax you,” says Hinds. He will often have the patient sit up and away from the face cradle in order to do stretching techniques with them — twisting their bodies and doing very extensive stretching, like neck stretching exercises, which he can’t do with their face in the cradle. “So I give them a lot of mobility in the work that they’re doing, because I’ll twist them and grab their arms and twist them around [and] do side stretches.” Hinds’s approach is particularly useful for the diverse population of DAP Health patients. “We have people coming with a lot of health issues and many of the patients have said in terms of our wellness group that they have been able to stop using certain medications and things like that because the work has been so effective for them,” he says. “So, I like to think the benefits are emotional, spiritual, and physical and they walk out feeling better.”
Balance for Your Mind & Body
Classes available at no cost to DAP Health patients.
Words by Ellen Bluestein
As part of its ethos to treat the whole person — mind, body, and spirit — DAP Health is now offering free Transcendental Meditation (TM), courses. TM, a simple mental technique, has been shown to improve awareness, memory, and creativity while reducing tension and anxiety. By reducing deep-rooted stress and fatigue, it increases energy and resiliency, and improves overall health. The free course, which will be offered monthly, consists of four one-hour lessons held over four consecutive days. The first session is a one-to-one meeting with the teacher followed by three subsequent group classes. All classes must be attended. No prior experience, equipment, or specific clothing is required. It’s a simple, natural, effortless technique. It’s very practical,” said Thomas Roth, director of the David Lynch Foundation HIV Wellness Initiative, who is leading the program at DAP Health. “We work it into our daily routine: 20 minutes in the morning before breakfast, 20 minutes in the evening before dinner, and go about your day.” Roth, who has been meditating since he was 13 years old, added, “Forget that you meditated. It’s not like we need to remember, ‘Oh, I should be kinder because I’m a meditator.’ It’s not like that at all. We just do it, and we forget about it and the results come naturally.”
Scientific research backs up TM’s claims of reducing tension and increasing resiliency. “There’s been 350 peer-reviewed, published scientific studies on transcendental meditation. It’s by far the most thoroughly researched process of personal development on the planet,” said Roth. “We give the body deep rest and naturally, anxiety is reduced. Tension is reduced. All the symptoms of stress are reduced,” Roth said. “At the same time, what it creates is an anchor in that quietness inside. We don’t feel like we’re a football being thrown around in life. It’s a deep anchor in our own consciousness and that gives us more perspective. It gives us stability and little time to ourselves to re-energize.” If you’re a patient or employee of DAP Health and want to sign up or learn more about DAP Health’s Transcendental Mediation program, contact Thomas Roth at Troth@TM.org, or call or text 415.547.0486.
edit atio n
While many forms of meditation focus on mindfulness, TM goes beyond that to take the brain to a very quiet place, which expands consciousness. “Everybody knows that we’re using 10% of our potential,” said Roth. “So, this takes us to those quieter states of our mind, where we can tap into that creativity and intelligence and bring that out into our daily life.”
Roth continued: “The other thing that’s fantastic is the side effects; what goes on in the body. When the mind becomes quieter and quieter, correspondingly, because of that mindbody connection, the body attains a very deep state of rest.” According to Roth, the level of relaxation that is achieved can be twice as deep as the deepest sleep during the night. “The result of that is release of stress. Rest is the antidote to stress. None of us are getting enough rest. I can say that as a rule. So, this adds a very powerful, yet simple and effortless technique to attain a deep state of rest and eliminate stress.”
AIDS Memorial Planned for Palm Springs downtown park Words by Jeff Hocker Illustration courtesy of Phillip K. Smith lll
The Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force is excited to announce that the AIDS Memorial Sculpture is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Palm Springs City Council recently unanimously approved the acceptance of the sculpture to be placed in the new Downtown City Park. “December 1, World AIDS Day, was chosen as the launch, as it signifies the remembrance of those we’ve lost to HIV/AIDS and gives renewed hope that one day, the virus will be eradicated. It is our responsibility to remember their lives and to continue to tell their stories, so that they are never forgotten,” said Mike Richey, co-chair National AIDS Memorial. “AIDS has affected every community across the world, and it is for this reason that AIDS memorials should be established to honor and remember those lost.” The task force’s vision is to provide the AIDS Memorial Sculpture as a gift to the city of Palm Springs and people of the Valley. Internationally acclaimed artist based in the Coachella Valley, Phillip K. Smith, III, has been commissioned to design the memorial, which will provide an opportunity for reflection, remembrance, and hope once its placed in the new park. “The AIDS Memorial Sculpture will be a touchstone for unity, hope, grief, and healing in the Coachella Valley,” says Smith. “As a monolithic, singularstone sculpture, the carved surfaces will dance with light, shadow, and reflection. Through rotating grooves cut into the gloss surface as matte marks signifying unity through struggle or the soft curve of undulating forms evoking healing over grief, this is a memorial to be touched, to be felt. It is a timeless, enduring landmark delicately placed on the land. It is heavy, but light — lifting hope, lifting struggle, and lifting up what is important,” described Smith. The task force’s mission is to ensure the lives of those lost are never forgotten, and that their stories and lives are remembered into the future. We also envision an opportunity to use this memorial as a means to educate the public about HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options available to everyone who seeks information, and to help direct individuals to resources available to them throughout the city, and the country. The goal of the task force is to raise the necessary funds to support the creation, installation, and ongoing resources to maintain this sculpture for generations to come. Given the impact that HIV/AIDS has had on our community, we believe there will be great support for securing the necessary funds to make this AIDS Memorial Sculpture a reality. To help facilitate that fundraising goal, the task force has enlisted the efforts of The Development Department Inc., Paul Clowers and Ellen Wolf, to lead the project. The task force has also partnered with DAP Health to act as the fiscal processing agent where community members can donate. Donations to the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Fund can be made by visiting daphealth.org/aids-memorial-fund/. For addition information or donation assistance please contact The Development Department Inc. at PSAMS@DevDeptInc.com.
Leading the Way Toward a Healthier Tomorrow DAP HEALTH’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS IS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE Words by Ellen Bluestein
DAP Health’s board of directors includes a powerhouse group of accomplished women committed to making health equity a strategic priority. With an unparalleled level of expertise, the talented board is shaping the future of the organization and setting the standard of care for the rest of the country. Vice Chair Lauri Kibby, a 35-year veteran of the construction and development industries, has led projects from inception to completion. With expertise in business development, Kibby works with startups and small companies to help them achieve their goals. She serves on several Coachella Valley non-profit boards and is co-founder and chief financial officer of Kings Garden, a local agricultural company. Board member Carolyn Caldwell has been president and chief executive officer of St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach since June 2017. Prior to joining St. Mary Medical Center, Caldwell was Desert Regional Medical Center’s executive officer. With over 20 years’ experience in executive hospital leadership, Caldwell brings to the board an exceptional depth of understanding and a wealth of knowledge. We asked both women to share their thoughts on the importance of serving on the board of DAP Health, their goals for the organization, the challenges of being women in executive leadership positions, and the state of health care. Below is an excerpt of the discussion. Some answers have been edited for clarity. Why did you choose to sit on the DAP Health board? Carolyn: My decision to sit on the DAP Health board was an easy one. I’ve been in health care my entire career and unfortunately lost a very dear friend to AIDS. I loved the mission of DAP Health and the work it does to improve the lives of our patients while providing health care to them with dignity and respect. What does a healthier tomorrow look like to you? Carolyn: A healthier tomorrow would be a tomorrow where all individuals — regardless of race, sex, gender identity, religion, or sexual orientation — are able to receive health care in a non-judgmental environment. With so many overwhelming health care challenges today, how do you determine what will be DAP Health’s top priority? Carolyn: DAP Health’s top priority is our patients, however, as things change, DAP Health must be flexible and nimble to meet the needs of our patients and our community. A perfect example of this is COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, DAP Health quickly realized it had to change the way it delivered care — in a very uncertain time — to better serve our patients as well as our community. Lauri: I believe that DAP Health is driven by the clientele it serves. Its foundation is delivery of not only Lauri Kibby
outstanding but equitable health care. But truly, its mission is to serve those who generally don’t have care. I think that DAP Health’s efforts to reach this demographic is its priority as it has mastered the quality and breadth of care. As a leader in the health care community, how does being a woman impact your decision making? Or does it? Lauri: My observations, supported by reports in the media, are that women are not provided with the same comprehensive care and often not even competent care; so, I am always observing the conversations we engage in as an organization to make sure that we are not biased in our approach. Additionally, it has influenced how I have contributed to ensure DAP Health has the funding resources to address specific needs in women’s health care. Are leadership styles gender-specific or are we PAST that? Carolyn: I hope we are getting past that. I’ve had the opportunity to work for some amazing male and female leaders and I’ve learned a lot from each one of them. I’ve also learned the type of leader I don’t want to be from some leaders I’ve worked with in the past as well. Lauri: I am not as optimistic, as I still observe differences in both leadership styles but also recognition of contributions by the various genders. I have observed that women still struggle to be seen as an authority or even to be heard or given credence for their contributions. The last number of years with COVID has not helped the situation improve. How does the DAP Health board ensure a healthy, equitable community? Carolyn: As a board we must make sure we continue to offer suggestions and support to the leadership of DAP Health about the role we play in the overall health of the community. We must continue to ask the question: What can we do differently to reach those diverse communities in the Coachella Valley to improve their health and provide education whenever possible? How can the community help support the future vision of DAP Health? Lauri: I think our community needs to be better informed as to what we, as an organization, do. We were once only aligned with HIV and that has changed. Our current community can assist with this. What makes an effective board member? Carolyn: An effective board member is someone who realizes that their role is to support the organization as well as the leaders in achieving the strategic goals. Board members should also serve as ambassadors for the organization in the community. Do you have a personal motto? Carolyn: My personal motto is to always try and treat others with kindness and respect regardless of who they are. You never know what a person is going through and a smile or a kind word could make such a difference to them at that moment. Lauri: Be kind, be generous, and always bring your best self. In addition to Caldwell and Kibby, DAP Health’s board includes Patrick Jordan, chair; Fred Drewette, treasurer, Mark Hamilton, secretary, and board members Kevin Bass, Ginny Ehrlich, D. Ed, MPH, MS, Jerry Fogelson, Eve E. Fromberg-Edelstein, Esq., Athalie LaPamuk, Bertil Lindblad, Kyle Mudd, and Scott Nevins. To learn more about the thought leaders driving the direction of DAP Health, visit daphealth.org/ourteam/leadership.
ANTHONY VELASCO TALKS ABOUT WHY REPRESENTATION MATTERS Anthony Velasco was reluctant to accept when the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) approached him about joining its board of directors. Even though he is a founder and current president of the Palm Springs chapter, he wondered if he had impostor syndrome. His colleagues knew better, as they elected Anthony director-at-large with ANAC.
to reach into leadership, research, and academia. (U.S. Census Bureau)
ANAC is made up of more than 40 chapters located around the world, with over 2,200 members from 60 countries. Members include social workers, pharmacists, physician assistants, lawyers, and doctors from around the world committed to HIV/ AIDS nursing.
“Representation is one of the motivations I have,” Anthony says. “If a young Filipino nurse entering the field sees someone who looks like them in a leadership position, they will know that they can be in that position someday.”
“ANAC is such a great venue to really connect with other people and see what they’re doing and compare what we’re doing,” Velasco says. “It’s so awesome to hear about the research being done on the national level and to see how it could potentially be applied at DAP Health.”
He remembers noticing that there were never Filipino professors teaching his nursing classes as he completed his undergraduate and graduate school degrees in California.
He provides compassionate care to people living with and without HIV. Caring about people who need special care does not stop there for Anthony.
Representation is one of the motivations I have.
Anthony, who chairs DAP Health’s Transgender Health Program, says the synergy helps both organizations. “I’ve told ANAC about the work we do at DAP Health and the great interdisciplinary culture we have here, including social work, community health, medical, and mental health,” he says. DAP Health provides holistic, compassionate, and comprehensive care. Anthony believes that DAP Health’s approach to care should be the model everywhere. This includes culturally competent care for transgender patients he serves, and more opportunities for nurses of color. While Filipinos make up about 20 percent of the nursing population in California, Anthony wants them
He provides comprehensive gender-affirming care and works to create more access to safe and genderaffirming spaces for all. At DAP Health and elsewhere, he has improved the health care experiences of many transgender patients in the Inland Empire.
He belongs to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Anthony is passionate about global health equity and has served on medical missions in Haiti and Honduras. Annually, he gives his time and talent in the Philippines with Global Health Force, a non-profit organization providing access to free health care in underserved communities around the world. A nurse practitioner and credentialed HIV specialist at DAP Health, Anthony has been working in HIV care since 2010. He is pursuing his doctorate in nursing at the University of Colorado.
SEXUAL WELLNESS Wellness
Clinic coming to indio
On November 29, DAP Health signed a lease for a building in Indio to open a sexual wellness clinic. The organization hopes to open the new space by June 2022. Free services will include STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing and treatment (gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis), HIV prevention (pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP; post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP), and HIV and hepatitis C testing. If anyone tests positive for HIV, DAP Health’s sexual wellness clinic will provide that person with rapid start medication and linkage to care, an essential step in reducing new HIV infections and improving the health outcomes of the person living with HIV. While the cost of ongoing HIV treatment is not part of the free services, DAP Health offers financial assistance. In 2019, 25% of all HIV-positive test results at DAP Health were in Hispanic men. “Many folks were driving from the East Valley to Palm Springs to utilize DAP Health’s sexual wellness services,” says C.J. Tobe, the director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health. “We noticed not only a high volume of patients but most of those patients were already having symptoms of an STI or testing positive for HIV.” Tobe believes free testing and treatment, with the convenience of not having to drive a great distance, will encourage more people to get tested. DAP Health is Changing the System to Meet the Person “We are proactively protecting the community’s health,” Tobe said. “Eliminating the cost barrier has proven to increase access to folks in our community for PrEP and STI services. “One of those barriers is cost. DAP Health learned many people testing positive for STIs and HIV had limited incomes. For them, the prior $25 fee for STI testing and PrEP was an impediment to care. DAP Health decided to remove that cost barrier to improve health equity.” DAP Health looks to make its services available to more people. DAP Health continues to make sexual wellness a priority by providing more people with more access to health services. It also continues to expand its ability to treat more people.
“We welcome all people, period. And now we are eliminating more barriers to access sexual wellness services,” Tobe said. “We are changing the system to meet the person. We continue to do this, first by eliminating the cost barrier, and now by opening a free sexual wellness clinic for people most impacted by HIV/STIs. That is health equity.”
Free STI Testing & Treatment Free PrEP & PEP Services
Sexual Health Free From Judgment PA L M S S P R I N G S : 1695 N . S U N R I S E WAY I N D I O : 8 1719 D O C TO R C A R R E O N B O U L E VA R D ( O P E N I N G S U M M E R 2022)
CULTURAL HUMILITY HOW STAYING CURIOUS HELPS THOSE WE SERVE
Words by Jack Bunting Photo by Donato Di Natale
To Tobe, the CAB is extremely important for maintaining quality within DAP Health.
It takes more than good intentions to offer medical care that changes a person’s life. With an emphasis on listening, doctors and nurses can assess what their patients truly need. DAP Health is known for this, but the listening does not stop there. With a thriving Client Advisory Board (CAB), management at the health center is actively involved in a dialogue about what is going well, and what can be improved.
“What seems like a great idea could actually have ripple effects on a select set of patients or clients,” he says. “For example, the CAB helped us determine our after-diagnosis packet for HIV felt too clinical, and so we improved it to make it feel more personal.”
“There are more than 10,000 other people getting care right now at DAP Health, and on the CAB, we are just like each of them,” says Michael O’Neill, CAB cochair and DAP Health patient. “We speak through the experiences we’ve had.” Accessing everything that DAP Health offers can be a challenge. Few are accustomed to the number of services and health care options offered under one roof. “I did not know the breadth and scope of services available to me when I got to DAP Health,” O’Neill says.
The CAB also influences marketing and patient information programs by sharing its viewpoint with management. In agreement with DAP clinicians, the CAB loudly supports U=U messaging for helping destigmatize HIV. With many long-term survivors from the worst years of the AIDS crisis, the DAP CAB knows HIV stigma can have deadly effects. They consult closely with management on new opportunities to spread this important message. Service Motivated by Gratitude
But members of the CAB are determined to make it easier for other patients and clients to have it all. They say their gratitude motivates them to help others fully take advantage of DAP Health.
O’Neil is well suited to his co-chair position on the CAB, he says, because he has benefited so much from an array of important services at DAP. He knows first-hand how much better life can be with DAP.
“After the journey we’ve all been on for years at DAP Health, we’d like to offer shortcuts to other patients seeking better health.” O’Neill says.
“I wanted to give back to DAP,” O’Neill says. “And I’m grateful to be involved.”
Management says the relationship is a vital part of understanding the community it serves. “The CAB brings opportunities to the table in the patient experience that we do not always see,” says C.J. Tobe, community health director. “We take their advice seriously as we keep patient care and experience at the forefront.” Besides the complexity of the health care system, Tobe says he and his team consider any social determinants of health that a patient or client may be facing. Understanding a patient’s life circumstances is important for offering the best care and services, and the CAB offers a telling sample of all DAP patients. Each person is on a unique health care journey, and every voice offers valuable insight about patients and clients at DAP Health. 26
Thanks to CAB input, the guide is even better suited to offer support for anyone with HIV, including their family and friends. It includes education on HIV, resources, and the enduring message that with DAP, it is not necessary to be alone with HIV.
Surviving with pancreatic cancer was not enough to make O’Neill want to stop working, and neither was having HIV. “Everyone at DAP opened their arms for everything I needed, and also for my husband, who did not have HIV.” But when his beloved husband passed away unexpectedly, O’Neill needed the support of a community that understood him and could help him continue thriving with HIV. He says he benefited greatly with bereavement counseling through DAP’s mental health services. O’Neill wanted to do more, and the CAB offered him an opportunity. “I could tell the skills I’d learned throughout my life and career could benefit this organization,” O’Neill says.
“When you’ve lost your sense of self, giving back can be the best medicine.”
With his work on the CAB, “Now, DAP’s given me goals and some sense of self again.”
Making sure that DAP is keeping its patients informed is one of O’Neill’s favorite things, but it is all part of the DAP paradigm for him.
If you would like to find out more about the Client Advisory Board at DAP Health, visit our website or contact Curtis Howard at email@example.com.
“DAP has worked on my teeth, my body, my mind,” he says.
Wellness Center Manager Corina Lujan; Kimmi Miller, LVN; Michael O’Neill, CAB co-chair; and Mike Hartley, Client Advisory Board member
FRIENDSHIPS FOUND IN A PARK G-FORCE WORKOUT CREW CREATES COMMUNITY. Words by Steven Henke
Anyone trying to understand how a fitness class in Ruth Hardy Park can blossom to more than 100 participants per day and almost 600 members on Facebook first needs to understand it is not just a fitness class. It is a community that continues to grow because it doesn’t only help people physically, it helps them emotionally. It gives them a place to feel connected and affirmed. G-Force Workout Crew meets weekdays at Ruth Hardy Park. The class is led by the charismatic Ted Guice. G-Force in the park was born during the pandemic when gyms were forced to close, leaving people without a place to work out. “We were at a loss for what to do with ourselves,” said Guice, who has described his class as a cross between CrossFit and Jane Fonda’s Workout. He began holding classes outdoors, adapting the gym class he had taught for ten years. At first, there were ten people at a friend’s house, working out by the pool. Then Guice moved it to Ruth Hardy Park, where Crew members wore masks and practiced social distancing. In those early days, it was hard to see the growth potential. “It was hot and humid, and there was smoke from the fires that were raging,” Guice said. “They were real troopers to get out there with me.”
The energy of the class was hard to ignore. People walking or biking through the park took notice. “I heard music and people laughing and saw people working out and having the best time,” said Tracey Engleking. “I just bee-lined towards them. I was like, ‘this is it.’ This is what I was looking for. These are my people. I found them.” Engleking had been coming to Palm Springs with her husband for years, but she never embraced the city like her husband. Through G-Force, she says, “I finally found what would make Palm Springs home for me, fun people getting their health on and having a daily mini party doing it. And that bulldoglooking instructor — the biggest heart of gold I’ve encountered in a long time. He could not be more encouraging that this class is for everyone of all levels, and he sets a tone every morning to come, have fun, do your best and support each other! Engleking’s experience is not unique. We asked members of the G-Force Crew about their experience in class. What Guice found was that G-Force was providing people with what they needed during the pandemic. Forced to shelter alone, people suffered from isolation that sometimes turned to depression. G-Force helped feed the soul. New Yorker Rose Berger and her husband spent the pandemic in Palm Springs. “Being able to continue my workouts in the park and getting to know more about the G-Force Crew was very important and definitely helped me get through the pandemic,” she said. “I was away from my home, friends, and family
but I had something to look forward to each day. Even though we had to stay six feet apart and wear masks, we all became a close-knit group.” John Gordon explained how connection changed how he feels. “G-Force workouts in the park have been a lifesaver during the pandemic with gyms being closed,” he said. “The exercise is secondary to the friendships that have been created. My muscles are the same as the day I started, but my heart is way bigger now.” Jeff Brand agreed: “I’ve never had a real circle of friends in San Francisco,” he said. “I knew a lot of people but not many that I connected with on a regular basis on a more personal level. I heard about G-Force from a local friend and found out very quickly that it’s a great way to start the weekday, getting to see people that I can now call friends.” When Judy Hurwitz found G-Force workout, it was at her lowest point during the pandemic. “It was summer, hot, and the gyms were closed,” she said. “I felt like I couldn’t get off the couch. I tried Ted’s workout and loved it.”
“The most common thing I hear is that when people were in their darkest place, Ted gave them a space where there was light,” said Jim Weigert, who taught a similar class in Phoenix before moving to Palm
Springs. “There’s comradery, there’s a sense of community. There’s a sense of just overall goodness and positive (vibes) and an outlet for everyone to experience something that is not offered anywhere else.”
Weigert describes what happens when Ted invites new members to the front of the class to lead a segment. “It might be intimidating for someone who has never been in front of a class, but the environment is affirming, and everybody feels empowered. Everyone claps and cheers them on because they’ve all been pulled up there at some point and they get it.”
John Lewis believes the group is so much more than a workout. “While the focus of the class is fitness, it has also become a social experience,” he said. “Friendships have formed, we’ve had theme days, birthdays have been celebrated, and social outings have been planned. I don’t think any of this would be possible without Ted... his energy, his sense of humor, and yes, even his jibber-jabber — all make this much more than a workout class.” See for yourself how Ted Guice and the G-Force Crew can help start your day with energy, friendship, and fun — oh, and a workout, too. Join the Crew on weekdays at 7:30 a.m. in Ruth Hardy Park.
EAT. DRINK. GIVE. END HIV. T H U R S DAY A P R I L 28 DININGOUTFORLIFE.COM/PALMSPRINGS
NAVIGATING NEW WATERS BLACK GAY MEN GATHER IN PALM SPRINGS TO TALK ABOUT THEIR HEALTH AND THE FUTURE. Words by Lorenzo Taylor
Over the years, Black gay men have gotten together to celebrate, to party, to mourn, to produce art, and to share wisdom. For the past three years, a local group called Brothers of the Desert has held an annual one-day meeting to discuss the health and wellness of their community. The latest was a gathering in the fall of 2021 of 140 Black men and a few allies to listen to medical practitioners and wellness experts serving this community and to share their own stories of survival and resurgence. Twelve speakers presented interactive workshops and led discussions throughout the day. Although predominantly local men attended, it drew men from many parts of the region. According to BOD President Tim Vincent, “Our group was determined to move beyond the limitations of the COVID pandemic and envision ‘new waters’ of futures that are as rich and diverse as we are. The Summit was a chance to talk among ourselves about hard things that other folks don’t get or care about that are based on our shared history.” Dr. Leo Moore, a Black, openly-gay physician was the keynote speaker and he spoke on the epidemic of premature death among Black men with startling statistics showing a significantly shorter life expectancy for Black men than any other population group. Heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injury were the leading causes. He linked this disparity to the residual trauma of racism while urging attendees to counter this trend through healthy practices like physical exercise, age-appropriate health screenings, timely immunizations, routine mental health care, and social support. He also stressed the importance of open communication with a health care practitioner who understands Black culture and who invites discussion of the medical aspects of sexual practices. Local activist Wes Rankin led a candid workshop on sexual practices that acknowledged the historical trauma of “buck breaking,” a horrific practice where rebellious enslaved men were raped by white masters in front of the slave community
as a form of discipline. He connected it with modernday fetishism of the Black male body. Another workshop by motivational speaker Jared Simpson highlighted the negative impact of hypermasculinity on the ability of Black gay men to express a broad spectrum of feminine and masculine traits. It focused on how competitive sports, the media, and Black families suppressed or ridiculed images of Black men that show their sensitive side. Other topics included healthy aging, financial planning, spirituality, interracial dating, intersectionality, HIV/AIDS, and healing historical trauma. The closing speaker was renown Black gay filmmaker Nathan Hale Williams, who discussed the positive impact of meditation and journaling in a presentation called “My Wellness Practice Saved My Life.” He discussed his personal journey of coming out and dealing with homophobia and racism and how it informed and expanded his creative endeavors. With help from the audience, he generated a list of survival tips for Black gay men, including: • Leave shame behind • Focus on self-care • Don’t shrink away from being seen • Grow through participation with community • Remember that “I am enough” • Remember that the “village” is strong and can support you Brothers of the Desert will host its fourth annual Wellness Summit in November of 2022 and invites Black gay men and advocates to participate through attendance or sponsorship. Resources that Black gay men might find useful: Brothersofthedesert.org — A support network for Black gay men and allies in the Coachella Valley. BEAM Community — Black emotional and mental health collective with resources and meetings for Black queer men. Yourblackdoctor.com — A metasearch engine that locates Black medical practitioners throughout the country. 31
vision forward Building for a Healthier Tomorrow
In 2018, DAP Health launched our ambitious Vision 2020 Capital Campaign to raise $20 million to embark upon a much-needed, major campus expansion that would enable us to grow our programs and services, thereby increasing the number of patients we provide for annually. By the time COVID-19 blindsided all of us in early 2020, we’d already raised $13.5 million and built two of our four new clinics. To come to the immediate aid of our newly challenged community, the campaign was paused. Vision 2020 has morphed into a new 10-year plan titled VISION FORWARD > Building for a Healthier Tomorrow. By enlarging our physical footprint, we will be in a better programmatic position to fulfill our mission, which remains to ensure the health and well-being of every member of our community — so that each may
When completed, the DAP Health campus will have the capacity to serve 25,000 patients. 32
experience their most fulfilled life. When VISION FORWARD is actualized, DAP Health will have the capacity to grow from 10,000 people served today to 25,000 people. Now, we again turn to the Coachella Valley’s most generous philanthropists to help raise the remaining $6.5 million needed to finish this effort. Many view and experience the Coachella Valley as a sublime oasis. But for others, that pristine picture is far from reality. Many neighbors — people of color, people living with HIV/ AIDS, people living in poverty, and trans individuals, many of whom have yet to find their way to DAP Health — wrestle daily here with pain, sadness, and desperation. Because a community can only be as strong as its weakest member — as healthy as its sickest — it’s crucial that we join forces so that barriers to health and wellness are abolished. After all, is it not the duty of those standing tall to lift up those who have fallen?
The expertise, infrastructure, reputation, and donor base atop which DAP Health’s considerable success stands was bolstered by our more recent involvement providing for all those devastated in countless ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to 38 years of caring for people both directly and indirectly affected not only by the HIV/AIDS epidemic but by the proliferation of other public health emergencies, we have the physical and intellectual resources, the desire, and — most importantly — the imagination to effect even greater positive change in our beloved Coachella Valley community and beyond. HOW YOU CAN HELP
HOW DAP HEALTH IS POISED TO HELP
DAP Health would never have been able to achieve all it has on behalf of our community were it not for the continued, generous support of people like you — compassionate humanitarians. Please trust that you have DAP Health’s endless gratitude.
Founded in 1984 by a group of community volunteers in the face of the AIDS crisis, DAP Health is an internationally renowned humanitarian health care organization. In 2013, the non-profit expanded its scope to care for all marginalized people, regardless of HIV status.
If you would like to help us reach the culmination of VISION FORWARD >, you may make a named gift to fund a particular need, or a general contribution to uplift the entire campaign. Your gift will be doubled by a special matching fund established by fellow DAP Health donors.
Our goal is to improve the overall health of our entire community — especially the disenfranchised — by providing culturally competent, quality primary and preventative health care and social services on one campus. These include medical care, dentistry, and programs related to mental health, substance use recovery, and sexual wellness.
Please be as generous as your means allow, and contact DAP Health’s Director of Development James Lindquist with any questions. He can be reached at 760.656.8413 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. On behalf of DAP Health’s board of directors, staff, volunteers, and patients, thank you in advance for your time and consideration. daphealth.org/visionforward
Dr. Romero is wearing an outfit thrifted at Revivals. Suit: St. John Knit Vintage red from the 80s Tee: Hard Rock Hotel Shoes: Only Madden Necklace: Resale faux pearls Necklace: Drop pearl by Carol G (exclusive to Revivals) Hat: Gucci (Palm Desert) 34
And Substance HOW YOUNG FASHIONISTAS ARE LEADING THE WAY TO A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE — AND LOOKING GOOD WHILE DOING IT. Words by Ellen Bluestein Photography by Kevin McDermott Resale Fashion modeled by DAP Health employees Styled by Neil Cohen Makeup by Miki Straus
In this new era of sustainability, younger shoppers, in an effort to not only express their unique selves but live by their beliefs, have turned to resale shopping as a means of accomplishing both. Alarmed by the rapid increase in climate change and informed on the role the fashion industry plays in contributing to it, millennials and Zoomers (members of Gen Z) have opted to shop more responsibly. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, it takes close to 1,000 gallons of water to make a single pair of jeans. This includes the entire production cycle, from growing the cotton to delivering it to the store. But it’s not just the creation of clothing that impacts the environment; UNEP also reports that out of the total fiber input used for clothing, 87% is incinerated or disposed of in a landfill. Young fashionistas, acutely aware of the condition of the planet they are inheriting, are making conscious decisions on how they live, including how they dress, in an effort to lessen their impact on the environment. Merging substance and style and combined with the current gender-fluid fashion movement — 56 % of Gen Z consumers shopped “outside their assigned gendered area,” according to Rob Smith, founder of the gender-free fashion brand Phluid Project in a June 2021 article on Select, the NBC News commerce website — makes shopping thrift, second-hand, and consignment, more popular than ever. “There’s always been a play with gender in regard to fashion,” said Neil Cohen, the fashion stylist responsible for the looks on the accompanying pages. “But there’s a sense of fluidity that didn’t exist in the past. “Freedom to be yourself has continued to evolve in the last five years. Young people are, in general, more politically and socially aware. There is a sense of hope and optimism when you look at young people today. They’re making it a better, more equal world.” Shopping resale has other advantages. By including resale in their repertoire, shoppers are no longer constrained by what is currently on the racks in major department stores. They have more choices and a wider range of styles by which to express themselves. Once thought of as the domain for those who couldn’t afford to pay full price, thrift stores have seen a surge in consumers from across the socio-economic strata.
“People started to gravitate towards second-hand because the fashion trends found there have stood the test of time. Shopping resale carries more weight not only emotionally but also because the clothing is just made better,” said Mia Casey, a New Yorkbased womenswear designer and patternmaker. Cohen concurred, adding, “There’s been an evolution in thrift shops. For those who love fashion, they’ve always been a source of inspiration, but now there’s more meaning behind them.” Revivals, the popular Coachella Valley resale store chain is well positioned to meet this growing trend. Opened in1994, the thrift store that supports DAP Health — 100 % of sales goes to funding programs and services at the health center — now boasts four well-stocked locations, and a loyal following. “Most of our apparel is coming in from customer drop-off at any one of our four locations,” said Director of Retail Dane Koch. “We have volunteers in the warehouse who are processing the product every day. Then we have specific volunteers who focus mostly on the designer finds because they have a better knowledge of brand names and value. The big thing for us is we want to make sure that we’re giving everybody a fair value. We have a really great group of volunteers who have a real understanding of everything that comes in.” John Bingle Thompson is one of those volunteers. A seven-year warehouse veteran with over 5,000 volunteer hours to his credit, he focuses on special acquisitions and high-end designer finds. “We’ve been getting a number of really nice things,” he said. “We’ve gotten huge donations from Bob Mackie, Wil Stiles, and Cache. We’ve got resort wear — I think it was like 80,000 pieces — and it’s all really good. Tommy Bahama, stuff like that.”
Outfits thrifted at Revivals. Left Alexis is wearing Jacket: Silk bomber with appliqué Tee: Model’s Favorite Tee Skirt Pant: Loyd / Ford Shoes: Suzanne Somers (personal collection) Right Karen is wearing Jacket: Model’s Own Pants: Insight Mod Tee: Model’s Own Shoes: Only Madden
Thompson has witnessed the retail/resale blending trend first-hand. “I brought my [22-year-old] granddaughter in [to Revivals] about four months ago,” he said. “I had taken her to Wil Stiles and Trina Turk and got her a couple outfits. One was a skirt, but she didn’t want to wear it as a skirt. She wanted to wear it as a top with a shawl and pants. “We bought her pants and a shawl at Revivals. She loved them. And that’s typical of what I found when I’m on the floor. A lot of [the shoppers] are younger and I’ve sort of been able to try to understand what it is they want. I have to think outside of the box with a lot of them, as far as what they’re mixing. It’s bizarre,” he laughs. “It’s bizarre what they’re doing, and I love it!” Designer Casey explains. “Since resale includes a lot of vintage and older silhouettes, there’s a lot more to choose from,” she said. “Things that you wouldn’t traditionally put together can be combined.” Added Cohen: “You might find a cute dress and earrings at a resale shop, but you’re still going to wear your own shoes from Saks. It’s all in the mix.” No outfit is complete without jewelry, and thanks to the talent and ingenuity of volunteer Carol G., who repurposes old jewelry to create modern masterpieces, Revivals has many one-of-a-kind pieces. “I would see broken or unsellable jewelry, and I was able to either take bits and pieces and work them into a new piece or repair them,” she said. “It’s a fun thing to do to be able to take something that was destined for trash and turn it into something that somebody would enjoy.” 38
Outfits thrifted at Revivals. Left Alexis is wearing Jacket: Silk bomber with appliqué Shell: Gracia gold sequin Boots: Madden thigh-high heel Right Jennifer is wearing Dress: Vintage gold and black sequin Headdress: Custom-made 39
Outfits thrifted at Revivals. Left Christopher is wearing Shirt: Langino Pants: Mr. Turk Tee: Model’s own favorite tee Right Jennifer is wearing Dress: Insight Shoes: Only Madden Clutch: Vintage gold 40
From broken clasps and missing pearls to a knot of twisted gold chains, Carol, who has been volunteering for Revivals for over five years, envisions trendy new pieces making, recycling even more fashionable. “When I see someone [wearing] a necklace that has been crafted from things that normally would’ve just probably been thrown out, it’s rewarding,” she said. Conscientious shopping extends far beyond fashion to include housewares, furniture, electronics, art, and accessories, “Once I became more conscientious about the clothes I was consuming, I became more conscientious about the furniture and other products I was buying,” Casey, a millennial herself, said. “Buying resale can snowball into affecting other things.” And fortunately, at Revivals there’s a lot of other things to choose from. Laid out like a traditional department store — clothing is displayed according to size, not just thrown together by category — and with easily identifiable specialty areas, Revivals resembles the feel of a conventional shopping experience. “I’ve always said resale doesn’t need to be messy. It doesn’t need to be ugly. It doesn’t need to be dirty,” said Koch, who worked most of his career in mainstream retail. “There’s no reason that you can’t walk into a store and have a nicely laid out, well-presented store and still get a bargain.” Looking for a lamp? Revivals has them. Some just need to be dusted. Others need to be rewired. Every lamp is tested to make sure it works before it goes out on the floor. “We get stuff all the way from people’s trash to beautiful brand-new lamps,” said warehouse volunteer (and lamp specialist) Mark Musin, who has logged over 2,000 hours in three-and-a-half years. “We try and fix them and if we can’t fix them, we harvest the parts. We try not to put anything to waste.” Need a flat-screen television for the guest bedroom? Revivals has plenty of those, too.
“If you’re looking for used electronics, you come into Revivals. The stuff is clean. It’s been checked. It works,” said Bob Hardt, a 14,000-hour volunteer whose job it is to process and fix all the electronics for all four Revivals stores. “You walk into our store and what do you see? You see a nice display of all the televisions on, you can see what the pictures look like, and everything out there has been tested.” With people constantly upgrading to new sets, Bob, along with the other volunteers in the electronics department, is constantly busy. Instead of throwing a television out, “they give it to us, and we give it a chance for a second life,” said Hardt. “Nice without going into a landfill, right?” Now, more than ever, it is a badge of honor to wear vintage and second-hand clothing. Conformity is out. Creating one’s own unique style, from fashion to furniture, is in. Being a responsible consumer plays an important role in shopping behavior. “The stigma of resale is gone,” said Director of Brand Marketing for DAP Heath Steven Henke. “By shopping resale, you’re showing the world your unique self, that you’re an empowered shopper committed to saving the planet, and that you care about where your money goes; 100% of the sales at Revivals goes directly to health care for those who otherwise can’t afford it.” Added Koch: “People in the community have been so wonderful to donate to us. They have a place to go. They have an agency that they want to support. So rather than their stuff ending up in their garbage or going to a landfill, it comes to Revivals and we’re able to either resell it or recycle it.” Musin agreed. “People here in the valley have wonderful hearts and they donate some really beautiful things. And I know that it goes to a good cause, and I know that it didn’t go into the dumpster.” 41
for who you are Our models in this issue’s cover story share their thoughts on personal style and the importance of expressing yourself through fashion. At DAP Health, professionalism is paramount. For some of our models, this requires wearing medical scrubs for their jobs. For others, it’s about dressing to represent the organization or for comfort to better serve patients. “I feel like when you’re fashionable and you look good and you’re professional, people respect you,” said Karen Zelaya, an endoscopic nurse, who has worked at DAP Health for five years. Housing Case Manager Alexis Gonzalez Ramos expressed a similar sentiment. “Every work environment is guided by a specific mission and values,” he said. “I have always valued decency, professionalism, and fashions that significantly match my current work environment.” As Gonzalez Ramos often interacts with community partners outside of DAP Health, it is important for him to represent the organization in the best possible light. “The first impression always determines the business’s success, which starts with the dress code,” he said. “So, I tend to keep my fashion simple yet trendy.” While some may think wearing scrubs is anything but trendy, that’s not true for Zelaya. “I’m one of those people who dresses up her scrubs,” she said. “I like colors. I feel like they make people happy. They make me happy. I’ll wear hot pink Nikes with lime green scrubs. It doesn’t have to match. It’s the mood.” Mood is exactly what plays into six-year DAP Health Clinical Site Specialist Chris Bates’s fashion choices when he gets dressed for work in the morning. “I use fashion as an extension of emotion,” he said. “When I’m feeling bright and cheery, I’ll wear something that’s more colorful, like yellow or orange. If I’m kind of feeling a little gloomy, maybe it’d be like a neutral color, like a navy blue or gray, but it’s just an extension of my emotions and how I’m feeling that particular day.” Newly hired DAP Health Chiropractor Alyssa Romero concurs. “I believe that what we wear is a direct reflection of how we feel,” she said. “So oftentimes, you’ll see me wearing cute, casual, comfy clothes because I can move in them. I can perform my job duties in them, and it makes me feel good.” Romero added: “I like to switch it up with different colors and different patterns. The thing about being a
chiropractor, we’re always moving, always kind of down in a squat position or doing something to try and adjust people and get them moving. So, my style is definitely a mixture of professional and practical in the workplace.” But in their free time, it’s so long to scrubs and hello to hiking boots and heels. “I’m in scrubs most of the time,” said Jennifer Mata Alanis, a medical assistant in the primary transgender care and HIV clinic who has been with DAP Health for three years. “As a transgender, Latino female, I’m really proud of who I am. And while it all depends on where she’s going, fashion, she said, “helps you express yourself, especially being transgender.” Expressing his identity through fashion is also important to Gonzalez Ramos. “I tend to mix a bit of feminine and masculine aspects in my fashion,” he said, “This is an expression of the appreciation of both genders and to confuse the audience about my gender. “It will not be a surprise to find me in a pink-colored outfit because I have quite a lot of them. But I know how to play around with the feminine and masculine colors to create a perfectly blended outfit.” Romero also doesn’t like her fashion choices to solely define her. “If you had to choose a Spice Girl, I would definitely say that I’m more Sporty Spice,” said Romero. “But I’m also not afraid to wear a super cute pair of heels and jeans, or a cute bodysuit… It kind of depends on if I’m being active or if I’m going out on a Friday night.” When Zelaya goes out, she opts for fitted clothes and body-conscious fashion that accentuates her curves and shows her figure, along with sandals with kitten heels and the occasional wig. “I’m very girly,” she said. “I’ll wear wigs sometimes — braids or big Diana Ross hair — it depends on the mood I’m in. There are no rules.” “Fashion is fun, it’s creative,” added Mata Alanis. “It makes me feel good that I got up and took care of myself,” Zelaya said. “I tried.” “To me, fashion is an art, a way of life, and a peace promotion tool,” said Gonzalez Ramos. “It is the only way to reconcile individual differences and appreciate those around us regardless of their race, culture, or gender.”
Outfits thrifted at Revivals. Chris is wearing Top: Zara Jeans: Scotch & Soda Shoes: Chris’ favorite Vans Bracelet: Leather bracelet with glass bead weaving Sunglasses: Round metal Ray-bans Karen is wearing Shawl: THML Pants: Insight Tee: Karen’s own Everyday Tee Shoes: Madden Jennifer is wearing Jacket: CQ by CQ Pants: Jennifer’s own Dr. Romero is wearing Top: Vintage butterfly sequined Pants: Dr. Romero’s own Shoes: Only Madden Alexis is wearing Jacket: Silk bomber with appliqué Shell: Gracia gold sequin Shorts: Alexis’ favorite biker shorts Boots: Madden 43
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ONE CONSONANT MADE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE, AS EXPLAINS DAP HEALTH DIRECTOR OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DR. JILL GOVER, WHO TAUGHT LGBTQ+ HISTORY AT CAL STATE SAN BERNARDINO.
Words by Dr. Jill Gover
Take the well-known abbreviation LGBT and longer variants, like LGBTQQIAAP. Those letters represent our entire community, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, and those identifying as queer, intersex, asexual, and more. Did you notice the letter with which all those abbreviations start? That L represents a long history and a lot of controversy in the gay rights movement. About 70 years ago, people sexually attracted to the same gender used to be called homosexuals. That word didn’t age well. Then in the 1950s and 1960s, people began referring to homosexuals as homophiles. That didn’t age well either. In the 1970s, the word gay became embraced by the men formerly known as homosexuals. As the gay rights movement grew, lesbians wanted to create their own identities. Unfortunately, during this turbulent time, animosity began to grow between gay men and lesbians. The genders simply were in different camps. The women felt gay men were sexist and behaved the way all men did at the time, which was to marginalize them. There was even a subgroup of lesbians who wanted to separate and have nothing to do with gay men. They were more aligned with straight women around feminist issues. As the gay rights movement expanded during the late 1970s, the abbreviation gays and lesbians
began to use for their large, varied community was GLBT. It started with a G, which only underscored how many lesbians felt about their place in the community. Many women active in gay rights felt it was time to address that issue. And people started to become more aware of the role lesbians played within the gay rights movement. Moving an L in front of a G may seem trivial to many, but symbols don’t have to be grand gestures. That change was meant to honor the women who also were part of the gay rights movement. The AIDS crisis in the 1980s changed everything. Many of the sick and dying men didn’t have children or were estranged from their biological families. Too many had no one. Lesbians stepped up and started to take care of those dying of AIDS, becoming primary caregivers to the sick and dying. That was a huge shift in terms of the community coming together and healing around the riffs between the men and the women. Because of the compassion and humanity lesbians showed gay men, much of the separatism of the 1970s disappeared in the 1980s. The LGBTQ+ community began to see their future linked as they worked together to survive the HIV and AIDS pandemic. The placement of that L is far from trivial. It’s a recognition that lesbians are not second-class members of their community. In reality, they kept the community together during its darkest days. 45
Linda Lyon, Executive Director of the Richard and Annette Bloch Family Foundation 46
A Starry Night BENEFITING a Humanitarian Giant Community members gather outside on DAP Health’s campus to honor late megadonor Annette Bloch and to pave the way toward health care and housing for all. Words by Daniel Vaillancourt Photos by Lani Garfield and Gregg Felsen
On the crisp, clear evening of Thursday, February 24, some 300 invited guests gathered under heaters in the courtyard of DAP Health’s campus for a very special event. The occasion was threefold. First, it was a memorial in honor of major donor Annette Bloch, widow of H&R Block co-founder Richard Bloch and an instrumental DAP donor who contributed more than $5 million to the internationally known nonprofit over the last decade. Bloch passed away from cancer at the age of 94 in her hometown of Kansas City last year. The soirée also served to officially dedicate DAP’s newest structure, which neighbors chief headquarters the Barbara Keller LOVE Building, as the Annette Bloch Care Building. Finally, it marked the ceremonial groundbreaking of Vista Sunrise II, DAP’s future on-campus affordable housing complex, its second such development of single-dwelling units, to number 60 in all. With cocktails and hors d’oeuvres generously provided by Jerry Keller’s award-winning Lulu Catering & Events — Keller is a longtime benefactor of DAP; his late wife Barbara was the organization’s first female board of directors’ president — attendees were regaled by an enviable roster of speakers. Longtime, universally respected DAP CEO David Brinkman opened the night, speaking of how good it felt to be assembled, and of how Bloch valued togetherness. He also mentioned how important the expansion of DAP’s campus was to the late humanitarian. “I can see this community housing the homeless, providing medical care to those who cannot afford the cost of today’s health care system,” he said. “We are decreasing mortality and morbidity, improving the health of our community members, and decreasing health care costs. When Annette and I dreamt of achieving this in the Coachella Valley, she’d always say, ‘David, you’re going to replicate this model throughout our country.’ And I could just imagine what a driving force she was in her own family’s attainment of their dreams.” Bloch’s youngest daughter, Linda Lyon, then took to the podium, making the audience laugh with memories of her mother’s youth and young adulthood. She’d also brought along priceless images to accompany her speech. Lyon admitted she wasn’t sure how her mother would fare following her father’s 2004 death. “But she really came into her own,” she continued. “She loved life, she loved people, she lived large, but she always remembered something [my 47
David Brinkman, DAP Health CEO; Coachella Valley Housing Coalition Executive Director, Pedro S.G. Rodriguez; and Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.
grandmother] said… ‘to those who have plenty, there’s a responsibility to give back.’” Lyon closed by saying she was channeling her mother, announcing the family foundation’s surprise gift of $1 million to fund DAP’s further campus amplification, which will culminate in a more than 50 percent increase in the number of patients it can serve annually, from some 10,000 to more than 25,000. Close friends of Annette, past DAP board member Terri Ketover and Mark Adams, spoke briefly about
their personal connection to Bloch — Ketover referring to herself the late doyenne’s “faux sister” while Adams confessed his cherished memories of Bloch will “reside safely with me forever.” The pair then acknowledged the role former Desert Regional Medical Center CEO and DAP board member Carolyn Caldwell, alongside Supervisor V. Manuel Perez of Riverside County’s Fourth District, had in making the Annette Bloch Care Building a reality. They then urged the crowd to raise their glass in recognition of the new building’s naming.
Perez was next, speaking not only of his own pride in facilitating DAP’s purchase of the edifice formerly owned by the county, but of his admiration of community members who rose to the occasion to enable the funding and construction of Vista Sunrise II. “Together, you have done something quite profound through your support of DAP Health,” said Perez. “You’ve made it clear you understand that lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest factors that keeps people out of care, that prevents them from getting well and living their best life. And you removed those barriers.” Perez yielded the spotlight to longtime DAP patient, Vista Sunrise I resident, and PromoHomoTV host and Executive Producer Nicholas Snow, who put a charming, human face on the importance a roof over one’s head has in the overall health of someone living with HIV/AIDS. He spoke of being in dire need of DAP’s assistance more than 10 years ago. “On the edge of homelessness, with no health care, very little money, no car, and very few possessions, I stepped into that building looking for help, a way to survive, a way to rediscover my reasons for living,” Snow said, noting he was speaking on the 21st anniversary of his sobriety. “Thank you for my home, thank you for my life.” Pedro S.G. Rodriguez, the executive director of DAP’s Vista Sunrise II building partner, the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition appeared next. “All of us at CVHC are supremely dedicated to our mission because access to affordable housing is one of California’s — and particularly one of the Coachella Valley’s — greatest needs,” he stressed. “When the opportunity to partner with DAP Health on Vista Sunrise II arose, and we came to truly understand the organization’s campus model, we knew future residents were going to enjoy a quality of life that very few people in disenfranchised communities in America are fortunate enough to experience.” After acknowledging not only a few of his board members in attendance but invaluable partners such as the city of Palm Springs, the Riverside County Behavioral Health and the state of California No Place Like Home Funds, and Wells-Fargo Bank, Rodriguez said, “I think all that’s left for us to do is raise a glass in honor of the 60 future residents of Vista Sunrise II.”
Annette Bloch at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards.
One of the Coachella Valley’s own, Oscar- and Grammy-nominated — and Tony Award-winning — lyricist, director, and producer David Zippel closed out the night, joking that participation order must have been determined alphabetically. He spoke of Bloch’s unquenchable joie de vivre and generosity, vowing, “She is sorely missed tonight, of course, and will be until each of our respective flames has been extinguished. But she will live on forever through her massive contributions to DAP, and for that I know we are all eternally grateful.” Zippel then led a moment of silence before the evening formally concluded, leaving guests to visit with one another and reminisce about Bloch and the importance of her legacy. “We could not have asked for a more perfect night,” says Brinkman. “From the weather and the stunning backdrop of our majestic mountains to the spirit of kinship and quality of the speeches, it was a remembrance worthy of Annette that catapulted all of us at DAP and in this community on the next step toward making her dreams a reality.”
EMOTIONAL WELLNESS BEGINS WITH WORDS
ntr ans m
= UU U U u = ble a t c undete
NO MY PRONOUNS STIGMA WORK ARE THEY, THEM, THEIRS
Words by Jack Bunting
Resolutions do not have to expire shortly after the new year. For yours, we hope you will make personfirst language your pledge throughout 2022.
Introducing yourself with your pronouns means you are starting the conversation with respect.
Person-first language helps someone know that you see them as much more than their condition or diagnosis. As 2022 brings more uncertainty, keeping each other close and cared for may become more challenging. DAP Health has been doing this since 1984 with unending curiosity, and by consulting with the people we serve. Choosing different words might seem trivial to you. But you have the power to help someone who has suffered from stigma feel welcome for the first time. We take person-first language seriously because we have witnessed our patients and clients experiencing dramatically better health outcomes, after facing fear and shame in other medical and behavioral health settings. After trying to survive in a world of stigma, a person can heal from fear once they enter culturally competent care. They feel less like an outsider. Suddenly, they start dreaming about their own future. And with care and resources from DAP Health, living a fuller life often becomes a reality. Change can start with you. Below are the areas of health care urgently needing people-first language. We also added links for you to find out more. Addiction Instead of addict or user, consider saying they have a substance use disorder (SUD). Using person-first language shows that SUD is an illness.
If you say, “Hi, I’m David. My pronouns are he, him, his,” this shows that you are comfortable with your own identity and that you understand that gender identity is up to each person to name themselves. It also makes the other person feel safe to share theirs if they choose to. A substantial number of transgender and genderdiverse people avoid health care because of stigma. When someone does not acknowledge their gender identity, it is a form of discrimination. Mental Health Instead of saying someone has a mental or emotional health challenge, consider just referring to them by their name. Always ask how they want to identify. Sexual Wellness Instead of promiscuous, consider saying multiple partners. Instead of unprotected sex, consider using condomless sex or condomless sex with (or without) PrEP, or condomless sex with treatmentas-prevention. Instead of prostitution, consider sex worker or transactional sex.
For DAP Health’s Outpatient Drug-Free (ODF) program, contact our Behavioral Health Patient Services representative at 760.323.2118.
Sexual expression is a normal part of the human experience, but it is one of the most stigmatized areas of health care. Fear, anger, and shame keep many from STI and HIV testing but modifying how we talk about it can help us bring down California’s rising epidemics.
Instead of saying HIV patient, consider saying “person living with HIV” or PLWHIV.
Instead of homeless person, consider saying person experiencing homelessness.
The Undetectable Equals Untransmittable (U=U) movement is undoing decades of stigma that was built on a mistruth. With proper antiretroviral therapy (ART), PLWHIV cannot sexually transmit the virus to others. Find out more at preventionaccess.org.
DAP Health understands that people experience being unhoused, but that it does not define them. Our Community Health team goes to where people need services, wherever that is. Find out more about our mobile services and outreach by calling 760.323.2118 or visiting daphealth.org.
BROADWAY ALIGHTS IN THE DESERT FOR ONE NIGHT TO ENTHRALL “THE CHASE” AUDIENCE AND HELP DAP HEALTH RAISE FUNDS FOR THOSE MOST IN NEED Words by Daniel Vaillancourt Photos by David A Lee and Gregg Felsen
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. 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. 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.” 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.
take it home today.
C A T H E D R A L C I T Y, I N D I O , P A L M D E S E R T, P A L M S P R I N G S
Whittier High School Cardinal Ensemble circa 1972–73. Carol is front right.
Minutes with Carol Wood Carol Wood is the chief of clinical operations at DAP Health. A registered nurse, Wood had a long career in health care leadership before joining DAP Health in 2017.
Her favorite book:
Born in Canada, Wood moved with her family to California when she was three years old. She grew up in Whittier and moved to Hemet in 1989. While raising her two children, Wood held executive leadership positions in acute care, skilled nursing, home health, hospice, and graduate medical education.
Her personal philosophy:
What she likes most about working at DAP Health: To me, there’s so many opportunities for us to help our patients. I learn something every day. There is some amazing work being done, things I didn’t even know about until I started working here. I still have some empty file cards in my head so until they are all filled up, I’ll just keep working. If I wasn’t working at DAP, I’d be retired, but I love what I’m doing here. When she’s not at DAP Health: I’m basically a homebody. I love to read, listen to music, and be with my family. My daughter is going to have our first grandchild in March so I’m looking forward to meeting my granddaughter, but I like to read. I read a lot. I remember my son saying to me, “You know why I like to read books? It’s like watching a movie in your head.” And I said, “Yeah!”
I’ve probably read every book James Mitchner ever wrote but Hawaii is my all-time favorite. I’ve read it three times. I’ve had a theory for many, many years: If my worrying cannot effect change, then I’m not going to worry about it. Then all I’ll get is a headache. What’s the point of fussing and worrying and fretting over something you cannot change? So, figure out how you can deal with it. Is it that important? If I can make a difference and it’s worth me fretting, then I will fret and I will make a difference.
from DAP Health] so I just keep the music going all the way there and all the way home. Her ideal escape: I love the mountains. I don’t like hot weather at all. I love cold weather. My bucket list trip is an Alaskan cruise. I’d also love to take the train ride across Canada. I really want to do that.
Her dream career: I would’ve been a singer. I did some semi-professional singing with the Chorale Bel Canto, which still performs around Southern California. I also sang in the Whittier High School Cardinal Ensemble. I won Outstanding Female Vocalist and earned the Bank of America Achievement Award in music in my senior year. The thing with music for me is that almost every song reminds me of something. It takes me back to either a moment or a place or an experience or a time. Music can be very meaningful. It can make you laugh. It can make you cry. I have an hour drive [to and
HARM REDUCTION PROGRAM TO PROVIDE CARE FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH
DAP Health will unveil its harm reduction program that will have two components. First, Overdose Protection, and secondly, a Syringe Services Program (SSP) that will include health services and behavioral health support to combat the rise in preventable overdoses and the increase in new HIV cases. The multi-layered program will focus on education for the community, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, distribution and collection of syringes, and referrals to support folks through their addiction journey. Additional services to be provided: Naloxone/Narcan to reverse overdose and prevent death, and fentanyl test strips for testing drugs before use to decrease likelihood of overdose. In the latest preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100,000 people in the U.S. died from overdoses during the 12-month period from April 2020 through April 2021.
In Riverside County, there has been an 800 percent increase in fentanyl-related deaths since 2016, according to rivco.org. Palm Springs has an overdose death rate 300 percent higher than the state average. Palm Springs Police Department Chief Andy Mills was able to review the harm reduction program and was impressed with how complete it is. “It’s important to remember the dynamics that go into a program like this,” Mills says. “That’s what excites me. Not only is DAP Health looking at helping people, but genuinely helping people so they are not destructive to themselves or our community.” DAP Health is only the second state-certified SSP in Riverside County, which is the 10th most populated county in the United States. Because of the rising numbers, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra says the federal government supports harm reduction, which includes direct support and care to people who actively struggle with substance misuse. “DAP Health will begin deepening our relationship with people living with addiction by adding a harm reduction approach to our first aid kit of solutions,” says Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness C.J. Tobe. “We will
do this without stigma or judgment because you cannot treat someone who does not trust you. Harm reduction is an important tactic in DAP Health’s ongoing work to end the HIV epidemic. Work that begins with meeting folks where they are.” Education • Overdose prevention • Safer injecting • Risk-reduction counseling • Education to community partners
Testing • Free HIV/HCV testing • Fentanyl strips for testing drugs before use to decrease likelihood of overdose Equipment • Naloxone/Narcan to reverse overdose and prevent death • The community can report used syringes that need to be picked up for disposal. They can also request education related to harm reduction strategies at HarmReduction@daphealth.org or 760.992.0453. • New syringes and intake/disposal of used syringes • New injecting supplies • Safer sex kits • Safer smoking kits Referrals To • Substance use counselors • Outpatient Drug Free Program DAP Health • Local recovery and treatment centers • DAP Health’s peer support specialist • Early Intervention Specialist (EIS) for anyone with HIV and/or Hepatitis C for treatment • Insurance enrollment and connection to health care and other social support services • DAP Health’s Sexual Wellness Clinic (Orange Clinic) for STI testing and/or Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) • Food and housing
ADULT ENTERTAINER TRENTON DUCATI, ALONG WITH SEVERAL OTHER ACTORS, IS HELPING RAISE AWARENESS OF DAP HEALTH’S FREE, AT-HOME HIV TEST. Words by Lawrence Karol
A new media campaign promoting DAP Health’s free, at-home HIV test is receiving a boost from the well-known adult entertainer Trenton Ducati, whose given name is Zach Ivey. Three other popular adult actors — Boomer Banks, Reign, and Masyn Thorne — appear alongside Ivey in videos that were launched in February on DAP Health’s website, as well as gay dating apps and social media channels such as TikTok and Snapchat. Almost immediately after the videos were released, influencers shared them with over one million of their followers and DAP Health experienced a significant increase in requests for the tests. The videos were directed by Bob Koherr, who has directed episodes of The Conners, Anger Management, Raven’s Home, and Dads, among many other television programs, and were shot at Snap Studios, a Palm Springs production facility owned by Ivey. “We wanted to shoot a variety of ideas to kind of tell the story,” says Ivey. Those scenarios include a guy who checks his test results before having sex, another where someone gets a text message from a hookup but isn’t concerned about his own status because he’s done an at-home test, and a third one featuring Ducati getting ready for a date and going through the steps of his normal routine such as taking a shower, doing his hair, etc., and also checking his at-home test result before heading out the door. This isn’t the first time Ivey has collaborated with DAP Health. “Originally we were trying to figure out ways to make it safer for actors in the adult community to access health care,” he says. “I went and spoke with them and had the best meeting ever because they were the most pro, open, thoughtful group of people and were so sex-positive. I was really inspired to try to figure out ways that we could work together because they totally get it about sex work is work and let’s just try to make it a safer place for our group of people.” One initiative that sprang from those meetings was the Next Step Program, in which Ivey worked with DAP Health to connect adult performers to health
Zach Ivey Photo by John Paschal
care, STI testing, and PrEP. He also helped their mental health clinic develop a questionnaire that adult models fill out on set before a shoot. For example, they answer queries about their current mental health and their living situation. “It’s an overall checkup of their lives in general and I feel like that’s a good [way to find out] if there are any issues that could be addressed,” says Ivey. “The plan was to have sex-positive people [at DAP Health] answer the phone so [the actors] feel encouraged to call, they don’t feel excluded, and they feel it’s okay.” Another successful effort between Ivey and DAP Health debuted on the organization’s website in March 2020 during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. It explored new methods of sexual expression that people could enjoy while adhering to social distancing guidelines. A personal video message from Trenton Ducati was embedded in the post which garnered more than 23,500 views. “I have a little bit of a following so I could really speak directly to the community that we are trying to get to,” says Ivey. “And I do feel that a blunt statement like that coming from me makes more sense. I could pull that off because I’m a producer in the adult industry and I’ve been doing porn for 10 years. So I was happy to do it and I felt like it was a really smart thing to do.”
On the personal front, Ivey, who lives in Cathedral City, is busy with Snap Studios. “It’s a full-stop production company,” he says. “We can handle productions from photo and film, from small to large, we have an equipment rental company in-house, and we have a partnership with Palm Springs Grip and Lighting.” A few of Snap Studios’ clients have included Adidas, Nike, Nordstrom’s, and eBay — as well as various fashion shoots. “The idea is that we want to attract more movie-making out here to the desert and there isn’t really a facility that has shooting space, gear rental, and then access to verify talent and editors and camera operators. So we are trying to cover all bases and then be the destination place in the desert for all of these services.” In the meantime, both Zach Ivey and his alter ego Trenton Ducati have enjoyed their partnership with DAP Health and seem ready to help out with future endeavors. “[They’ve] been a close ally of mine and I just wanted to do anything where I was involved with them.” To receive your free, at-home HIV test, visit daphealth.org; or call 760.567.2431, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The self-tests are saliva-based and take about 20 minutes to process at home. Free HIV testing is also available at DAP Heath’s Sexual Wellness Orange Clinic from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Call 760.992.0492 to make an appointment.
Adult film actor, Reign Photo by Zach Ivey
OUTPATIENT DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAMS OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE FOR INDIVIDUALS STRUGGLING WITH SUBSTANCE ABUSE The concept of going to stay at a rehab facility to treat a drug or alcohol addiction is something that we’ve all heard about. But another option is outpatient rehab, where you visit a facility for recovery help, but don’t stay overnight. Outpatient treatment is actually a very common option that allows individuals struggling with substance abuse to receive structured care while continuing to work and maintain their social connections. At DAP Health, we aim to improve the quality of life for our patients by providing effective outpatient drugfree (ODF) substance use disorder treatment services integrated into our mental health clinic. The goal is to help you reduce or eliminate alcohol and/or other drug use, address associated physical and/or mental health problems, and restore participants to maximum functional ability. “Our services are designed to treat
the individual who meets the diagnostic criteria for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and presents with the ability to participate in low intensity, outpatient treatment,” says DAP Health’s Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Jill Gover. The average participant in the ODF program, which last for 16 weeks, has six and a half hours of treatment weekly. That includes one hour of individual therapy; one and a half hours, twice weekly, of ODF group therapy; one and a half hours in a support group; and one hour at a 12-step meeting. The ODF program includes evidence-based curricula, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) screening tools, measured progress of treatment outcomes, and referral resources.
All participants in the ODF program receive a patient handbook with handouts that will help them get the most out of their treatment. Some handouts ask questions and have spaces for answers, while others ask you to read and think about a subject or an idea, and contain advice or reminders about recovery.
other patients’ personal information outside the group so that everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences, and complete the homework assignments.
The more participation you
But all of these specifics aside, remember that taking that first step and joining our ODF program is the most important one. As the introduction to our handbook says, “Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards your recovery. You should be very proud of your decision to enter treatment and your commitment to recovery.”
During each group treatment have in group therapy, the more session, the counselor gives benefit you will receive from it. patients time to think about their responses and then the group discusses the handout. Everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. “The more participation you have in group To sign up for the ODF program, contact our therapy, the more benefit you will receive from Behavioral Health Patient Services representative, it,” says Dr. Gover. “Part of the work is reading, who will make an appointment for you with our intake completing, and reflecting on the handouts.” coordinator, at 760.323.2118. Once a comprehensive To fully benefit from group therapy, Dr. Gover also assessment intake has been completed, if advises that, among other things, participants attend appropriate, you will referred to the ODF group as every group session, listen carefully and respectfully part of their treatment plan. to the facilitator and the other participants and be supportive, maintain confidentiality and don’t share 69
Photos by Donato Di Natale 70
WHERE EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN When Desert AIDS Project changed its name in January 2021, it did so in a way that honored its history by expanding the role it plays in public health and health equity. The advocacy-based health care organization has evolved to be so much more than what its founders envisioned during its beginnings during the AIDS crisis. DAP Health is a name that more accurately reflects the host of comprehensive health services currently offered to the community. Today, DAP Health works to improve the overall health of the entire community, providing medical, mental, and dental health services regardless of income, with a focus on expanding health equity by reaching medically underserved community members. The group’s mission is to enable access for everyone to primary and preventative health care services such as HIV and hepatitis specialty care, dentistry, behavioral health, and social services With 10,000 patients currently in care, half of them impacted by HIV/ AIDS, DAP Health sees more than 100 new patients each month, and the need continues to grow. That is why DAP Health also offers HIV testing, education, and early intervention services to help thousands more in the community.
who did not have access to the type of comprehensive care available at DAP Health. I saw how that lack of care impacted their health outcomes. I am enormously proud to work for an organization that is committed to health equity and expanding access to care for more of our neighbors here in the Coachella Valley.” Koch stresses that his leadership is only a part of the big picture at Revivals stores. Comprised of a unique blend of staff and volunteers, the welcoming community feeling at Revivals would not be possible without the generosity of those who volunteer. Over 180 volunteers donate over 13,000 hours each year, reselling gently used furniture, home goods, and fashion that have been donated by the generous local community at their four-store locations. The magic really happens behind the scenes where the team of volunteers sorts, prices, and touches every donated item before it comes to the sales floor. Together, the team has created a unique shopping experience — an exciting treasure hunt that delivers on their promise of affordability, discoverability, and community connection. They even have a department that fixes broken items and a separate department that tests every electronic item put on the floor. This keeps countless items out of the landfill and promotes a more environmentally friendly way of life.
Dane Koch’s home features an assortment of brand new Mode To help fund costly furniture alongside vintage and resale pieces. services, DAP Health opened its own thrift store called Revivals, which offers the valley’s best collection of resale items alongside brand new Revivals’ newest store location is in Indio at the corner furniture at bargain prices under its own brand — of Monroe and Highway 111. The store was designed Mode. Revivals raises over $1 million annually for to embrace the brand evolution of DAP Health and the non-profit, turning over 100% of profits to DAP reflect the organization’s commitment to community Health each year since it first opened in 1994. As the throughout. More than 29,000 shoppers come through advocacy-based health care organization opened the four stores each month, giving Revivals a unique its doors wider to welcome more neighbors into opportunity to introduce DAP Health to people care, Revivals opened more stores to help fund the needing health care access or who want to join in work. “For me, coming to work every day… I get so becoming a donor. much personal satisfaction from making a positive You can support this great cause by volunteering, difference. It is rewarding,” says Director of Retail for shopping, or donating to Revivals or directly to DAP Revivals Dane Koch. Health. All donations provide comprehensive care for A resident of Sun City, Koch recognized that Revivals the 10,000 individuals who call DAP Health their health matched his mission and enthusiastically joined their care home. Learn more at revivalsstores.com. team over 10 years ago. “I have known many people
RYAN WHITE ON HIS 50TH BIRTHDAY Words by Jack Bunting
Ryan White is not alive to celebrate his 50th birthday, which was December 6. But thousands of people living with HIV crossed the half-century mark recently. They might not realize it, but most of them have been helped in some way by Ryan. It could be from the anti-stigma movement sparked by his short life and untimely passing in 1990. Or maybe it is just the luxury of complaining about middle age. Thanks to the HIV Continuum of Care, people with HIV can go from diagnosis to achieving and maintaining viral suppression quickly, regardless of their insurance or income. 72
Serving more than half a million people today, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program honors this teen’s courage and toughness in the face of life-shattering discrimination after his HIV diagnosis. Along with mom Jeanne White-Ginder and HIV activists from across the country, Ryan White achieved the unthinkable. He put a human face on HIV, and it changed the world, starting with the U.S. Ryan has missed a lot of milestones, in addition to his last birthday. He missed his high school graduation, and he missed seeing the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program named after him signed into law by Congress. He would marvel that people now can live long and fulfilling lives because of effective treatment and that more than half of people with HIV in the U.S. today are over fifty. “I’m acutely aware of how much better my life is today because of Ryan White,” says Sven, a DAP Health patient who just turned 50 and has lived with HIV since 2001. Getting
care and services early in his diagnosis laid a foundation for his own thriving with HIV, he says. Accessing Health Through Ryan White Today People with HIV have more opportunities than ever to stay in control of their health, thanks to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and DAP Health. The uninsured are never turned away, and lowincome or underinsured patients who qualify can access the program for high-quality, comprehensive care. It is easy for anyone to find out if they qualify for Ryan White programs for ongoing care and a variety of other needs with a short online form or by calling 760.323.2118. To learn more, visit daphealth.org. DAP Health has been providing care and services to people living with HIV since 1984, the same year Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS. At a time before HIV was even acknowledged as an epidemic, DAP Health medical staff, psychologists, and social workers created their own road map for helping patients live with HIV, and they kept improving it. Living with HIV requires ongoing, complex, and intensive management, but many patients do not have the financial resources required for adequate care. DAP Health offers patients and clients access to the following, thanks to Ryan White Program grants: • Early Intervention Services • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) • HIV and primary medical care • Medications • Help for youth transitioning into adult HIV care • Rapid-start Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) • Outpatient medical care • Food vouchers
• • • •
Career development assistance Medical transportation Psychosocial support groups Temporary housing assistance
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is the third-largest source of federal funding for HIV-related care, after Medicare and Medicaid. About half of DAP Health clients living with HIV use the program as they stay engaged in medical care and services for viral suppression and a much better quality of life. “Everyone wants to protect the Ryan White Program because it works so well at helping people live with HIV,” says DAP Health Director of Legal and Legislative Affairs Carl Baker. “Its efficiency has always made it a financial and administrative success.” More than half of people with HIV in the U.S. received services through Ryan White programs in 2019, and more of them (88.1%) reached viral suppression compared to the national average (64.7%). (HRSA) High rates of viral suppression mean that more people with HIV are taking their medication as prescribed and reaching and maintaining an undetectable viral load. This means they have no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIVnegative partner. Living With HIV Isn’t Always Easy Sven says he was trying to make sense of being a young gay man in Hollywood when he found out about his HIV. In 2001, his hard-partying ways had made adulting a real challenge and he needed special support. “I had this instinct to survive,” he says, “and I took advantage of the help that was offered to me through Ryan Whitefunded programs.” These included housing, food, HIV specialty care, medical transportation, and help dealing with addiction. Today, Sven is married to the love of his life George and living a sober and full life. Those difficult days in Hollywood have been in his rearview mirror for years now, and he is grateful for that. “How do you look at HIV as a disease when it’s given you so much life?” says Sven. “I’ve had access to a lot of help, all because of HIV advocates who decided to honor Ryan White’s legacy.” Why Is the Ryan White Program Still Important? Not all states have expanded access for people living with HIV. Especially in states without Medicaid expansion, people living with HIV/AIDS frequently are poor with unstable living conditions, and they are likely to be uninsured or underinsured. It is also common for them to suffer from numerous comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hepatitis C. Treatment for these is also covered. Designed to fill gaps in the existing HIV care system, the Ryan White Program provides uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS with access to HIVrelated care and delivers high-quality, comprehensive care.
VACCINES PROTECT MILLIONS FROM DISEASE, SUFFERING, DEATH Smallpox is almost always mentioned when people talk about the benefits humanity has achieved from vaccines. There is a good reason for that. The smallpox vaccine, developed by Britain’s Dr. Edward Jenner in 1798, was the first one created to inoculate people against an infectious disease. Smallpox was awful. It was a scourge that stalked humanity across the globe for at least 3,000 years, spreading from India or Africa to Europe and then to the Americas.
Up to 30% of those who contracted smallpox died of the disease, according to the World Health Organization. Many of those who survived suffered from lifelong complications. And no cure or treatments existed. In the 1950s, about 50 million people across the globe contracted smallpox. By 1967, it threatened 60% of the world’s population, killed every fourth victim, scarred or blinded most survivors, and eluded any form of treatment, according to the WHO. In the 1970s, the WHO redoubled its efforts to eradicate the disease. By the end of the decade, a disease that at one time killed
every 10th child in France was wiped out, according to the WHO. Since 1980, no one has contracted smallpox.
“Vaccination prepares the human immune system to combat specific infections,” Kerkar says.
“Many people consider smallpox eradication to be the biggest achievement in international public health,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Once the body has created antibodies to a specific disease, it’s ready to fight a real infection, says Singh.
Successful vaccine strategies have largely eradicated some of Earth’s other deadly infections, including polio and measles, says Director of Infectious Diseases at DAP Health Dr. Shubha Kerkar. Today we have vaccines against many diseases, as every school-age child knows. They protect against polio, chickenpox, shingles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis, COVID-19, and many more diseases. Thanks to the incredible advances in health science since Jenner gave “lymph fluid” obtained from a milkmaid who had cowpox to James Phipps, doctors across the planet can protect scores of people against untold suffering and death. Many vaccines contain small parts of the germ. Those bits of the germ are weakened or killed during the manufacture of the vaccine and don’t make people sick, says Dr. Tulika Singh, Director of Research and AssociateChief Medical Officer at DAP Health. When the vaccine is administered, the small bits of germ stimulate our immune system to create antibodies, Singh says. The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are a little different. They use a novel platform using “messenger” RNA to create vaccines (mRNA), Kerkar says. They do not use the live virus or even any particle of a virus. They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept, Kerkar says. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.
“Vaccines prevent disease; they don’t treat disease or cure disease,” Singh says. “They prevent your body from experiencing a real infection.” Contrary to what some people may say on social media or whisper at dinner parties, vaccines are not dangerous, Singh says. An old myth about vaccines is that they cause autism. That false belief started when people read articles by a bad researcher, says Singh. Multiple studies have been done that clearly show that vaccines do not cause autism. Sometimes people may develop a reaction shortly after getting a vaccination, Singh says. That happens when their bodies react to the vaccine and begin creating antibodies. “That is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing,” Singh says. A myth about the COVID-19 vaccine is that it was rushed and therefore unsafe. That’s not true, Singh says. It can take nearly a decade for a vaccine to get approved by the FDA, Singh says. But the COVID-19 vaccine took less than a year to develop. Singh says the vaccine was fasttracked because the planet was in the grip of a pandemic, but it did go through rigorous study. When a vaccine gets an emergency use authorization, the FDA still requires and studies its safety data, Singh says. Once they realized the COVID-19 vaccines in use today were safe, they okayed them. The only reason many people are alive now is because the FDA approved the vaccine so quickly after looking at safety data.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give our cells instructions to make a harmless piece of “spike protein,” which is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19, she says.
this way Kristin Olson of Urban Yoga (located on the DAP Health campus) recommends these five poses to ease stress and promote relaxation.
Emptying Breath This pose can be done in a chair or on the floor. Gently place your hands on your knees or stomach. (You can also place your forefinger on your belly button.) Maintain a long spine and soft shoulders. Sit tall. Exhale quickly and sharply through your nose. Focus on forcefully pushing out your breath while pulling in your stomach for one minute. (You may get a little dizzy.) To finish, inhale, raise your arms out to the side and then overhead. Look up, touch your thumbs together, look up a little more, hold your breath, swallow, and sip in a little extra breath. Contract the lower torso and stretch the side body. Sit quietly then complete a second round.
Chest Opener Lie on your back on the floor. If needed, fold a blanket or a rolled-up towel and place it under your shoulders. Your arms can be straight out, by your sides, or resting on your stomach. Place the soles of the feet together, let your knees splay open, and curl your tailbone under so you can lie with your shoulders, back, and arms resting. Relax and breath normally.
Seated Spinal Twist This pose can be done in a chair or on the floor. Inhale for three breaths. Extend your arms out to the side and lift overhead. Inhale. Turning to the right, place your right hand behind your tailbone close to your body and your left hand on the outside of your right thigh. Roll your shoulders back, lengthen your neck and spine, and twist looking over your right shoulder. Unwind and inhale, lifting the arms overhead. Exhale and bring your arms down. Switch sides.
Mountain Pose Stand tall with your feet rooted into the earth and your weight evenly distributed. Make sure your hips are over your knees, your shoulders are over your hips, and your ears are over your shoulders. With your arms by your sides and palms forward, lower your shoulders away from your ears. Soften your eyes. Keep your chin parallel to the floor. Make sure your brow is unfurled, your lips are soft, and your face is smooth. Tilt your pelvis, pull in your stomach, and lift from the base of your torso. Exhale.
Neck Stretch This pose can be done in a chair or on the floor. Raise your arms out to the side and then overhead. Bring your arms down and drop your right ear towards your right shoulder, making sure there is space between them. Keep your heart raised and your spine straight. Gently move your jaw, slowly extend your right arm to the side, and reach long. Lower your arm down. Roll your shoulders forward and back a few times, then return to a neutral position. Turn your head toward the right, and then back to center. Repeat on the left.
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