The name DAP Health more clearly conveys our commitment to the greater good and the diversity of over 8,000 people calling DAP Health their healthcare home. It also retains and honors our founding, with the letters DAP.

For the first time in our 36-year history, we are changing how the community identifies us, a move that will amplify our mission and values as the COVID crisis makes health equity more important than ever.

“Our patient-centered model of care promises patients that we are there for them, regardless of economic or HIV status,” said David Brinkman, CEO, DAP Health. “This name change will help the public identify DAP as an advocacy-based health center with the capacity and heart to meet our ongoing public healthcare needs.”

Beginning today the new name will appear on our digital and social channels. Going forward, the new “DAP Health’” logo will also be featured on signage on clinics and buildings at the DAP campus in Palm Springs. The popular DAP mobile testing van will also be re-imagined as we begin a 12-month brand evolution.

The change came after months of internal and external surveys, focus groups, and conversations with thousands of patients, staff, donors, volunteers, and community leaders.

“We heard the community clearly when they told us that it was time for a name change, but the history of DAP should not be forgotten in the process,” explains Brinkman. “This insight was key to keeping ‘DAP’ in our new name, allowing us to step boldly into the future while honoring our past.”

DAP Health has plans to unveil two new spaces inside The Barbara Keller Love Building in 2021 that honor its 36-year history and the community members who built the organization.

A History Worth Remembering

DAP began offering health equity and inclusion in 1984, a time when HIV was a “gay” mystery illness, and doctors were forbidden from treating people with AIDS. A group of off-duty medical professionals would meet AIDS patients secretly at night to administer treatments, and this was the beginning of Desert AIDS Project (now DAP Health).

In responding to health disparities caused by LGBTQ stigma, we have learned over decades how destructive it is when any human cannot access medical or behavioral healthcare in time. We also saw how quickly things can improve when someone gets the care they need.

We started by offering healthcare to the partners of our earliest AIDS patients so that they could maintain their strength while rising to the challenge of caring for their loved one.

We saw the impact this extra care made on our patients and their partners, and the idea grew. Besides HIV and STI care and prevention, we started welcoming adults who don’t have HIV but who need ongoing healthcare with a primary care physician.

Today, DAP Health offers a uniquely sweeping set of services and relationships proven to stabilize lives in times of crisis. Humanitarian, inclusive, courageous, inventive, and conscientious, DAP Health understands that wellness brings hope, and that health equity leads to equality.

Thanks to our history, our team, our status as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), and this community, we have continued to open our doors wider to serve more people.

DAP Health Will Grow in 2021

It’s getting easier for people to find the important care they need in 2021 through DAP Health (DAP). The top barriers people face are sheltering-in-place fatigue and lack of insurance with no idea where to turn.

DAP is accelerating the build-out of a new behavioral health clinic on its campus. Also, access programs will grow like One Call, with DAP Health Navigators assisting newly unemployed and/or uninsured patients access health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California.

“As 2021 unfolds, DAP Health will continue to promote the wellbeing of individuals by creating solutions to reduce or eliminate disparities in underserved populations, including people of color,” says Brinkman.

Hope Begins with Health

“COVID shined a spotlight on inequities in healthcare for everyone in our community,” says Brinkman. “As we face the future head-on, our new name helps show that we embrace our expanding role in addressing growing public health needs in the Coachella Valley.”

Rising numbers of people need medical and mental healthcare during this pandemic, and patient volume has steadily increased at DAP.

We opened one of California’s first COVID Clinics and over 4,000 patients have been seen. These services will continue, and in 2021 DAP is also addressing some of the social determinants of health that are causing negative health outcomes during this pandemic.

Food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and access to healthcare can have a considerable effect on COVID outcomes, compounded by factors like race, ethnicity, and LGBTQ status. (CDC)

DAP Health joins with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to declare that beating COVID will require solutions that promote health equity.

In 2021, we will double access to specialized doctors and therapists whom patients can access from home, and a social services team to link them to programs and resources.

This includes one-on-one therapy and support groups focusing on mental health and substance abuse with emphasis on recovery and relapse prevention. Also offered are general wellness initiatives, socialization programs, and activities to counter isolation.

Mobile testing and linkage to ongoing medical care in communities of color will greatly increase this year, and we are supporting programs to train medical clinicians in cultural competence.

And construction will soon begin on 61 affordable housing units on the DAP campus, with 29 units reserved for residents coming out of homelessness.

Making it Easier for Patients in 2021

DAP Health continues to address practical challenges people face accessing healthcare. We are removing barriers by:

Offering case management (traditionally reserved for our HIV-positive clients) to a broader segment of the community that may currently remain unconnected to care.
Making available a host of in-home services — a necessity since the beginning of the pandemic — to empower and protect the health of the community at large.
Expanding mobile clinic services across the Valley to meet the health needs of the Hispanic/Latino and Black communities, and other high-risk, underserved populations.
Providing smartphones and WiFi access to clients unable to afford them so that telehealth visits can continue and increase.
Widely Distributing HIV/HEPC self-testing kits.
Engaging in training programs to better educate healthcare professionals working in communities of color.
Broadening dedicated women’s healthcare services.
Relaunching our all-volunteer Buddy Program, which will furnish crucial one-on-one connections to the most isolated in our community.

The Gift of Behavioral Health
“Therapy promotes our own well-being and wellness in times of stress,” says Dr. Jill Gover, manager of Behavioral Health at DAP Health. The new year will see us:

Doubling our ability to provide behavioral health services, including one-on-one counseling and support groups focusing on both general mental health and substance abuse recovery/relapse prevention, plus general wellness initiatives and socialization programs and activities (virtual and/or in-person but outdoors, masked, and socially distanced) to counter isolation.
Accelerating the build-out of our new behavioral health clinic.
Embarking on a program that will see psychiatry residents at the University of California Riverside join the existing team of mental health clinicians at DAP Health to provide expanded services.

DAP Health Steadfast in Fight to End HIV

DAP Health has the region’s largest team of HIV-specialized doctors with expertise in aging and thriving with HIV, and although the word “AIDS” no longer appears in the DAP Health logo, providing care to people with HIV (PWH), and ending the HIV epidemic, remain core to DAP Health.

Despite COVID, providing more HIV testing and better treatment for PWH remains essential to ending the HIV pandemic.

We will cut the time between diagnoses of HIV and entry into care for patients in 2021 and will make the medication available quicker, a move to prevent people from falling out of care. DAP Health knows this will also help decrease HIV transmission rates.

DAP Health offers services that PWH need to stay healthy and untransmittable to others. Patients become part of the DAP family beginning with testing, linkage into care, and then being enrolled in medical and mental healthcare, dentistry, social services, and prescription access.

DAP Health Through the Years

1984 Public agencies and the healthcare system ignores the HIV epidemic in Coachella Valley, and a community of grass-roots volunteers founds Desert AIDS Project (DAP). The first office is at 610 S. Belardo Road in Palm Springs.

1985 FDA approves the first test to detect HIV antibodies in blood, and DAP starts its own HIV/AIDS testing program.

1988 DAP moves into new offices at 750 S. Vella Road. The project provides health education and prevention programs on AIDS, HIV testing, social services, and counseling support services to AIDS victims, their families, and friends.

1989 First Annual Desert AIDS Walk, a 10K held in downtown Palm Springs. Actor Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne participated in the walk. Kirk spoke to the crowd before the participants hit the street. Former President Gerald Ford and former First Lady Betty Ford attended the post-walk picnic event.

1991 DAP expands its Vella Road offices and opens a medical clinic, which is staffed full-time, by physician Bruce Lloyd and nurse practitioner Kathy McCauley, both formerly of the Riverside County Health Department’s clinic in Palm Springs. A full-time nurse, receptionist, lab technician, and clinic manager were also hired.

1994: Humanitarian Steve Chase’s death from AIDS inspires the namesake event gala held yearly, inspiring others to join the cause of health equity. DAP opens a satellite office in Indio to provide HIV and Hep C screening, early intervention, and case management services for underserved Hispanic/Latino communities.

1995 The very first Revivals store was opened in a back corner of the DAP office on Vella Road.

1998 DAP purchases a 44,000 square-foot campus in Palm Springs to meet the increasing demand for services and larger medical clinics.

2001 The Morris & Linda Linsky Food Depot opens on the DAP campus to fight food insecurity with healthy food distribution, grocery vouchers, and dietary guidance.

2007 Vista Sunrise Apartments opens, providing permanent supportive housing on the DAP campus.

2008 DAP opens the first adult, HIV-specialty dental clinic in Riverside County, addressing a serious need for PWH needing dental care.

2010  2.7 million people worldwide become newly infected with HIV. DAP begins the decade focused on ending the epidemic.

2012  The Annette Bloch Cancer Center opens to specialize in HIV-related cancer research, screenings, treatment, and prevention.

2014  DAP launches Get Tested Coachella Valley, the nation’s first non-profit-led, region-wide HIV testing, prevention, education, and linkage-to-care initiative. Over 81,000 Coachella Valley residents were tested for HIV.

2015 DAP opens THE DOCK, a walk-in clinic providing HIV and STI testing and treatment with access to PrEP and PEP, and linkage to care.

2016 DAP opens the Hepatitis Center of Excellence to deliver comprehensive, state-of-the-art expertise to manage, support, and cure those afflicted with Hepatitis.

2017  DAP opens Transgender Health Program, offering gender-affirming services and care.

2018  DAP commits to doubling its operating capacity for providing patient-centered primary, HIV specialty, dental and behavioral healthcare to our community.

2019  DAP marks 35 years of caring for our community.

2020 The Blue and Green Clinics grand opening welcomes more new patients needing services. That same month, DAP opens the COVID Clinic to provide screening, treatment, and vaccines, helping to conserve room at area hospitals throughout the pandemic. Timothy Ray Brown, the first person to be cured of HIV, dies from non-HIV related issues.

2021 DAP adopts the name DAP Health, a move to reaffirm its promise to the HIV community and its history while committing to the entire public health of the Coachella Valley in the 21st century.