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Proposed Federal Budget Cuts Could Drama …

Congressman Ruiz, M.D. and Community Say No to Slashing Medicare and Medicaid

Local healthcare providers stand up for affordable care

DAP thanks Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) for speaking out against the proposed federal budget for Fiscal Year 2021, which would cut $1.6 trillion from health care programs over the next 10 years. Dr. Ruiz brought attention to the steep cuts the proposed budget would bring to programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. We applaud the Congressman's commitment to ensuring our Coachella Valley community has access to quality and affordable healthcare. 

To learn more, please watch our live stream below or visit

A Masterclass in Human Potential

A Masterclass in Human Potential

Desert AIDS Project hosts deeply personal 2020 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards

By Steven Henke and Jack Bunting

In an evening filled with profoundly personal moments The 26th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards became a masterclass in human potential. This years ‘Chase’, like the organization it benefits, created a space of community and connection while paying homage to some of the staunchest allies of Desert AIDS Project (DAP) and its mission. It also raised over $1 million for its client programs and services.

A powerful tribute to Barbara Keller, both on screen and in speeches, inspired all in attendance to keep her spirit of giving alive. In addition, humanitarian leaders in the fields of journalism, philanthropy, and science were honored for their contributions to end HIV.

This year’s highly anticipated headliner Kristin Chenowith, a longtime friend of DAP, helped everyone in the ballroom of the Palm Springs Convention Center get in touch with their humanity with an unforgettable performance.

It was a night to celebrate as well as build for the future. DAP has provided quality and comprehensive healthcare to residents of the Coachella Valley for 35 years. The evening highlighted the work DAP does to remove roadblocks to human potential every day, whether by providing lifesaving, world-class medical, dental, and behavioral health services, food and transportation, or housing and employment.  

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth wowed the crowd with heartwarming classics.

At an Exciting Crossroads

This year’s Steve Chase gala marks a time of great change for DAP. The recent naming of the Barbara Keller Love Building on its campus was a fitting tribute after the passing in 2019 of one of DAP’s greatest benefactors. 

And with less than a month until the ribbon cutting for its two new clinics, the agency is poised to make good on its promise to offer more clients the Patient Centered Medical Home model of care, in settings that elevate their experience and enable medical teams to serve them much more thoroughly.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

2020 Humanitarian Awards Co-Chairs Kevin Bass, Partick Jordan, and Lauri Kibby applaud DAP. 

PCMH at DAP: the healthcare model of the future

In a deeply personal speech, Desert AIDS Project CEO David Brinkman shared his story of entering humanitarian work 25 years ago. From trying to convince bathhouse patrons to use protection as a “condom fairy,” to running a homeless youth services and advocacy organization, Mr. Brinkman knew all too well about the link between poverty and poor health outcomes.

At the helm of DAP for the last 14 years, he has pushed the organization to prevent those poor health outcomes for members of the community, regardless of their ability to pay. The one silver lining from the AIDS crisis, according to him, is that DAP learned how to help people live by not settling for what was offered in the traditional healthcare system.

“We’ve learned that surviving HIV isn’t just about taking one pill a day,” he said. “Those who survive also have housing, get restorative sleep, eat nutritiously, see a therapist, and have good dental health as well as an excellent physician.”

In a shout-out to his Chief Medical Officer, Mr. Brinkman asked, “Right, Dr. Morris?”

The Patient Centered Medical Home model of delivering healthcare to clients is an apex that eludes many healthcare organizations. But because DAP championed patient centered care as a way to help clients survive HIV before there was antiviral medication, it is uniquely able to offer the PCMH model without a drastic reinvention of itself.

It did require new clinic construction and technology for heightened collaboration practices among clinical teams, which required asking the community to increase its commitment of support, starting in 2018. With the new clinics opening next month, Mr. Brinkman’s gratitude was palpable.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

CEO David Brinkman shared why DAP's work is deeply personal to him.

He reminded the audience “We quite simply could not do the lifesaving work we do without you.” 

Mr. Brinkman also called attention to new client populations in the Coachella Valley who increasingly rely on DAP for their healthcare.

“There are nearly 20,000 of our desert brothers and sisters living in poverty without health insurance,” he said.

“The vast majority of these people, they don't have HIV, but they're disenfranchised in many ways,” he said. “They're people of color; they're trans; they're immigrants; they're women; English isn't their first language; they're homeless.”

One thing is certain: “All of them need help.”

His commitment to serving new client populations was clear.

“We're not going to turn them away,” he said. “Quite the opposite; we just ask, ‘how can we help you’”?

The new clinics that will serve more than 10,000 clients have been built with the technology and layout that make delivering PCMH possible, even if “treating the whole person” is a concept that isn’t new at DAP.

To Dr. Morris, opening DAP’s doors wider to serve clients who might not have considered DAP before is part of what fuels him.

“We're much more inclusive these days by having patients who don't have HIV, by expanding services to our transgender community, and offering more care for women who need services.” he said. “It's a very exciting time to be in leadership and help build this bridge to a new place and new places to grow for DAP.”

Donning their most fashionable finery, almost 1,500 of our valley’s most glamourous and generous humanitarians started the evening outside the Palm Springs Convention Center at the Steve Chase Fashion Experience.  

Guests and media began strolling the 300-foot long red carpet, generously sponsored by Walgreens, greeted on either side by the iconic art pieces of Karen Barone and Tony Barone.

Closer in, a giant step-and-repeat backdrop for photographs was the ideal destination, but not before checking in with our valley’s top media:

  • NBC Palm Springs’ Special Correspondent Sandie Newton and Anchor Joe Smith broadcasted LIVE to capture the excitement.
  • Palm Springs Life Fashion Editor Susan Stein and William Squire uncovered people’s motivations for choosing their looks.
  • Palm Springs Life Fashion Stylist Neil Cohen and local personality Ethylina Canne got attendees to dish on their red carpet attire.
  • DAP staff were interviewing guests for a Facebook Livestream.

Dazzling experience continued inside

The scene outside was projected onto giant screens at the cocktail reception, so that guests could still peruse silent auction items and enjoy libations without missing the excitement of the red carpet.

Dancers atop a two-story catwalk above the bar brought the music to life for guests who mingled below. The structure wowed attendees with cascading fresh flowers, designed by Vaso Bello Celebrations.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

DAP's Event Director Debbie Chapman designed an immersive experince during the cocktail party.

Inside the dinner, event co-chair, Patrick Jordan welcomed attendees by touching upon DAP’s turbulent beginning and echoing how that hardship has set it up to survive tomorrow.  

“At DAP, our past is what ensures our future,” he said. “Every obstacle overcome; all the lessons learned; each scientific advancement made.”

Mr. Jordan expressed unbridled optimism for finding solutions to problems in our community.

“At DAP, every sunrise and sunset shines a light on the stepping stones that will lead our community onward and upward,” he said.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

Annette Bloch and Andrei Muresan attend the 2020 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards. 

The evening got underway with a loving video tribute to Barbara Keller, whose commitment to DAP is the stuff of legends. In ten years, Barbara raised approximately $10 million for DAP client services. According to those closest to her, she led by example, and her sense of justice and fairness were her greatest gifts.

Longtime DAP advocate and former senator Barbara Boxer said of her friend, “For Barbara, it was a question of right and wrong—it was this feeling that we’re all equal,” she said.

“That if people don’t have a voice and you have one, you use it.”

And how should we honor the legacy of Barbara Keller, who over ten years raised millions to remove roadblocks to accessing healthcare here in our valley?

“We’ve all got to step up,” she said. “Step up!”

One attendee described the video as a “master class in how to be a humanitarian.”

Barbara’s husband Jerry and daughter Lindsay were in attendance at the gala.

Co-Chair Lauri Kibby 

Co-chair Lauri Kibby delivered a call-to-action for the evening.

“If you believe as I do, that a community is only as strong as its weakest link, then you must agree that the well-being of our community requires us all to be well,” she said.

“Think bigger—stretch farther—dig deeper,” she said, “Put aside your qualms and trust me.”

Kibby and others from DAP recently attended the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Kigali, Rwanda. CEO David Brinkman presented on DAP’s 35 years of best practices, after being invited by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS.

DAP leadership also toured Kigali health centers fighting for the same result as DAP: patient centered healthcare.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

Steve Chase Humanitarian Award Co-Chair Lauri Kibby enters the after party.

For people not living with HIV, lack of access to primary care is a major driver of new infections, no matter where on the globe they live. 

When it came to sharing success factors in delivering patient centered care, the U.S. visitors and their Rwandan hosts shared the same observation: community commitment is required for anything meaningful to happen.

After the trip, Kibby’s commitment to DAP was even stronger. 

“I was struck with the magnitude of DAP’s achievements,” she said. “The depth of its influence on others who need its wisdom.”

After telling the audience she was so thankful they were still supporting DAP, she shared:

“When I came back from Africa, I doubled my commitment to DAP.”

Deborah L. Birx, MD.

DAP Board Member and local entrepreneur, Athalie Lapamuk accompanied by her mother, Adaline Duverger, a retired critical care nurse, presented the Science and Medicine Award to Ambassador-at-Large and United States Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah L. Birx, MD. 

Ambassador Birx’s considerable achievements span over a three-decade-long career, focused on HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health. Her accomplishments include overseeing the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), leading RV 144, one of the most influential HIV vaccine trials in history.

Dr. Birx is also praised for the following programs:  

  • Her $100 million Key Populations Investment Fund, which helps address critical gaps in HIV programming in underserved LGBTQ communities, 
  • DREAMS, her signature HIV\AIDS prevention program, which stands for Determine, Resilient, Educated, AIDS-Free, Mentored, Safe – targets adolescent girls and young women in the highest-impact countries across Africa, and her latest program, 
  • MenStar whose mission it is to engage men in health care. 

Her speech praised the world of DAP, saying “The amazing work of the Desert AIDS Project – which I had the pleasure to see firsthand yesterday – embodies Steve’s spirit and legacy,” she said. “Through your commitment to excellence in client-centered care, you celebrate and honor the human dignity of everyone that you serve – and give greatly of yourselves for the benefit of others.”

Ambassador-at-Large and United States Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah L. Birx, MD.

“The Desert AIDS Project is a leader in the way it does its work. They support and invest in a vital organization which continues to innovate. There really is no organization doing this particular work better, anywhere in the world.”

Dr. Birx pointed out similarities between DAP and her organization, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

“We believe that the best answers to a crisis are compassion and commitment,” she said. “We never take for granted that a client will walk through our clinic door – or remain connected to care well into the future – unless we design and deliver HIV services and support that truly meet their needs.”

Whether in Palm Springs or Pretoria, South Africa – healthcare organizations must always place the client and the community at the center of everything that they do, she said.

According to Dr. Birx, one of the best ways to do that is simple but too often overlooked: Ask clients and communities what they require not only to survive but thrive – and then build services that meet them where they are with what they need.  

Garry Kief

The Partners for Life Award, generously sponsored by Harold Matzner, was presented to Garry Kief by Co-Chair Kevin Bass. Local non-profits benefitting from Mr. Kief’s benevolence include The McCallum Theatre, The Palm Springs International Film Festival, The Manilow Music Project, and Desert AIDS Project.

Bass praised his friend’s commitment to giving back. “Empathy and compassion aren’t learned skills; they’re inherited traits and either you got ‘em or you don’t,” he said. “And Garry’s got ‘em.”

“Garry has been giving his whole life, and not just giving money, but giving of his time and wisdom as well.” 

Garry Kief accepts the Partners for Life Award.

Alongside his husband, Barry Manilow, Kief oversaw the “Gift of Love” Concert series at the McCallum Theater which has raised for $2.5 million for over 25 local charities. Accepting his Award, Kief turned the spotlight back on the local non-profits. 

“There are more than 1,000 charities in the Coachella Valley, more than 10,000 volunteers – 400 alone at DAP,” he said. “So this is to honor them; this is to honor you.”  

Kief described himself as “the guy who usually stands at the back of the room and watches the things I help make happen.” 

His goal, he shared, was always the same – to give back, to involve the village, and to say thanks. What matters is your heart, he said.  

“And your heart tells you that together our little village can help cure AIDS, prevent AIDS, and make a life better for those living with AIDS,” he said. “That’s not a political issue. That’s a people issue. And our little village takes care of our people.”

Hank Plante

Cliff Morrision presented the Arts & Activism Award to Hank Plante. Morrison and Plante appeared together in the documentary ‘5B’, which was screened locally to a sold-out audience and has been earning awards at film festivals around the world. In 1983, Morrision was working as a nurse at San Francisco General during the AIDS crisis where he successfully petitioned to open Wards 5A and 5B, the first health facility in the U.S. dedicated to providing AIDS treatment. He recalled their meeting 35 years ago when Plante was reporting on a story about Ward 5B. 

“Through his intense and relentless pursuit of the truth, an image of Hank surfaces,” he said. “And for me as well as for many other in our community, he had become our Walter Cronkite.”  

Hank Plante accepts the Arts and Activism Award.

Plante accepted his award and shared that AIDS was always more than just a story to him. 

“Because, as one of the first openly gay TV reporters in the country, it was personal,” he said. “These were my friends who were getting HIV and who were dying.” 

“Reporting on AIDS was a way for me to channel my grief and my anger over the disease.” It was also a mental and emotional challenge for Plante. 

“There were many times when I’d be shooting a story…and I’d have to go out into the hallway to compose myself and try not to cry,” he said. “I was there to be a professional.”

Plante shared about what it was like to interview patients during that time. They let him invade their lives, he said. They knew they didn’t look well; that their families and co-workers would see the story, that they might face repercussion from doing it- but they always said “yes”, because they wanted to help other people.

The Entertainment: Broadway royalty did more than entertain

Kristin Chenoweth

No stranger to ‘The Chase’, Emmy and Tony Award winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth was honored with an Arts & Activism Award in 2009. During her sounds check, the tech team showed her a video of her acceptance speech from that awards show where she honored a her voice teacher who passed because of AIDS. 

Fittingly, she wore a pink sweater on the red carpet emblazoned with the word ‘NO’.

“We will get a place in the fight against HIV where we won’t need fundraising dinners anymore,” she said.

The deeply personal feeling of the night continued when Chenoweth took attendees down memory lane, performing favorites from The Carpenters, Barbra Streisand and Dolly Parton. Her performance was generously sponsored by Living Out.

Acknowledging our challenging times, she honored Leonard Cohen with a rendition of “Hallelujah”, imploring the audience, “We all can agree on this word, can we not? Let’s all sing…”

During her closing of “I Will Always Love You” Chenoweth silenced her band and put down her microphone to finish the serenade, completely a cappella, to guests in the 20,000 square foot ballroom. It lasted almost a minute and the audience erupted in a standing ovation.

The After-Party

Event honoree Garry Kief designed the after-party with his friend Terri Ketover, featuring balloon sculpture walls that had party goers scrambling for the perfect photo opp. Go-Go dancers dressed all in white led the crown in a dance frenzy on a glossy white floor surrounded by a raised VIP lounge and a sweets bar containing cupcakes and cotton candy.

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

The evening continued at an after party produced by Garry Kief.

Bold Face Names Seen at ‘The Chase’

Hank Plante, Harold Matzner, Annette Bloch and Andrei Muresan, Garry Kief and Barry Manilow, Lauri and Charles Kibby, Patrick Jordan and Franck Ford, Kevin Bass and Brent Bloesser, David Brinkman and Dr. Will Grimm, Gayle Hodges & Art Wedmore, Terri and Bart Ketover, Kyle Mudd and Louis Smith, Steve Tobin and Johnny Krupa, Dennis Flaig-Moore and Clint Moore, Karla Kjellin-Elder and Jeff Elder, Marc Walters, Paul Swerdlove and Elgart Aster, Michelle Finney, Edward and Marie Lewis, Trina Turk, Loren Ostrow, LuAnn Boylan, Jerry Keller, David Zippel and Michael Johnston, Jim Burba and Bob Hayes, Steve Kaufer and Young Chu, Mark Hamilton and Juan Francisco, Steve Rose, Glen Pietradoni, Omar Elkabchi, Bryan Garcia, Jason Cunningham, Patrick McDonald, Ethylina Canne, Susan Stein, Neil Cohen, Peter Daut

Sponsors of the 26th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards 

PRODUCING: Harold Matzner, Walgreens

MAJOR: Elgart Aster & Paul Swerdlove, Desert Care Network, Desert Sun, Eisenhower Health, El Paseo Jewelers, Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Living Out

STAR: Mark Adams, Steven Anders/The Elizabeth Firth Wade Endowment, Annette Bloch, Desert Oasis Healthcare, Here Media, Jean-Daniel Kermelly, NBC Palm Springs, Saks Fifth Avenue

SUPPORTING: Blackbook, Jim Burba & Bob Hayes, Diageo, Gilead Sciences, Lynn Hammond, Jerry Keller, Lauri & Charles Kibby, Garry Kief, Gilead Sciences, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs / GRIT Development, Neil Lane Jewelers, Edward & Marie Lewis, LULU California Bistro, Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel, UC Riverside School of Medicine, Marc Walters & Richard Cassar, Wells Fargo

BENEFACTOR: Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal, Carolyn & Daniel Caldwell, Colleen Crowley & Jack Martin, Coachella Valley Health Personnel, Freehold Communities, Image360, Patrick Jordan, Kaiser Permanente Foundation, Koffi, Frank Kurland, Laboratory Corporation of America, Perry McKay, Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, Revive Wellness, Ann Sheffer & Bill Scheffler, Sysco Riverside,  Vaso Bello Celebrations, Union Bank - Don Soucie, White Cross Pharmacy, 111 Wealth Management

PATRON: Carrie & Mark Babij, CASL Interpreting, Desert Insurance Solutions,  Desert  Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy, Jay Harness & Darci Daniels, Higher Ground, Ben Hu, Steve Kaufer & Young Chu, Brad Leathers, Maximum Security, James O’Reilly & Steven Pounders, MD, Robert O’Shaughnessy, Robert Seale & Jim Gilger. Steve Simoni & John Sacchi

MEDIA: CV Independent, Gay Desert Guide, HERE Media, LOCALE Magazine, Palm Springs Life, PromoHomo.TV, Rage Monthly, The Hollywood Times, The Standard Magazine 

Photo Credit: Lani Garfield

Desert AIDS Project's allies and supporters are humanitarians removing roadblocks to human potential. 

Where You Get Your Rx Filled Can Make a …

When your DAP clinician sends your prescription order to a participating pharmacy, DAP receives valuable cost savings that translate into better health outcomes for you and our whole community.

Already picking up your medications from our onsite Walgreens pharmacy at DAP? Great–you’re doing your part!

Please consider getting your prescriptions filled at DAP or at any participating pharmacy throughout the Coachella Valley.

There are almost 50 participating walk-in and mail order pharmacies you can choose from.

In addition to all Coachella Valley Walgreens, here are some other popular 340B pharmacies nearby:

Desert Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy 1180 N Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262

Vons Pharmacy #2384 4733 E Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92264

Albertsons / Sav-On Pharmacy #1569 1751 N Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Walgreens Store #01079 1700 E Vista Chino Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262

CVS #01520 68010 Vista Chino, Cathedral City, CA 92234

CVS #09804 425 S Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, CA, 92262

White Cross Pharmacy 1717 E Vista Chino Road Suite B2, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Liver Support Group Launching at DAP

If you are pre- or post-liver transplant and have questions, you are not alone.

Launching on January 16, 2020, the liver support group at Desert AIDS Project is a place where you can share your experiences and find support from people like you. This support group is free and open to all liver transplant candidates, recipients, and their caregivers.

The liver support group offers an opportunity to get your questions answered about liver health, Hepatitis, NASH, liver disease, and providing care. Monthly featured speakers include Hepatologists, Physicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Caregivers, and more.

The liver support group meets every third Thursday of the month 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., in the DHD Conference room at Desert AIDS Project, 1695 N. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262.

RSVP recommended but not required.

Click here for a printable flyer.

Click here for directions

For questions, please contact Jonathan Wynne at or (760) 992-0428.

Kristin Chenoweth to Headline Steve Chas …


Contact: Steven Henke

(760) 656-8401

‘The Chase’ 2020 Honors Humanitarians Removing Roadblocks to Human Potential

PALM SPRINGS, CA- January 1, 2020 – Desert AIDS Project (DAP) has announced that Kristin Chenoweth will headline its 26th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards on February 8 where Hank Plante, Garry Kief and Ambassador Deborah L Birx, M.D. will be honored for their work in removing roadblocks to human potential.

Emmy and Tony Award winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth’s career spans film, television, voiceover and stage. In 2015, Chenoweth received a coveted star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2009, she received an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in “Pushing Daisies”. In 1999, she won a Tony Award for “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” and she was also nominated for her original role of Glinda the Good Witch in “Wicked” in 2004. Chenoweth has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and for a People’s Choice Award for her role on “Glee.”

Returning as co-chairs are Desert AIDS Project Board Members Kevin Bass, Patrick Jordan, and Lauri Kibby. Kibby recently shared the co-chairs vision. “This year’s Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards will focus on how Desert AIDS Project and the people who support the organization remove blocks to human potential,”she said. “The work we honor is deeply personal and about human well-being.”

Desert AIDS Project CEO, David Brinkman is expected to share DAP’s vision for the future during the event. “Desert AIDS Project’s story includes a long history of identifying and responding to epidemics,” he said. “We intend to pay forward what we’ve learned during our first 35 years by reaching more people and changing more lives. We have and continue to be a humanitarian organization which removes road-blocks to human potential.”

The last decade alone has seen DAP make substantial in-roads in addressing epidemics.

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

2012 Annette Bloch donates $1 million to fund a cancer care center dedicated to specialized HIV-related cancer research, screenings, treatment and prevention.

2014 DAP launches Get Tested Coachella Valley as the nation’s first non-profit-led, region-wide HIV testing, prevention, education and linkage to care initiative.

2015 DAP launches The DOCK, a walk-in clinic that provides HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing, linkage to care and access to HIV preventative medication Pre-Exposure Prohylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

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

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

2018 DAP kicks off Vision 2020, a capital campaign which will result in the agency more than doubling its ability to provide patient-centered primary, HIV Specialty, Dental and Behavioral Health care to our community.

2019 Desert AIDS Project Celebrates 35 Years of Caring for our community.

How Desert AIDS Project Removes Roadblocks to Human Potential:

  • Medical Care- 7,000 clients call DAP their patient centered medical home, and about half do not have HIV. In the earliest days of the AIDS crisis, DAP discovered health outcomes for our HIV positive clients increased when we provided health care to their life partners and family members who were acting as caregivers. Today, DAP offers leading HIV specialty care as well as primary care for our community members not living with HIV. Because there is enough love in this valley to help everyone thrive and also prevent new cases of HIV.
  • Transgender Care- DAP is guiding more and more transgender, intersex, and gender diverse clients on their gender journeys. In a little over a year, DAP has seen its client enrollment quadruple for these services. Too many transgender individuals in the Inland Empire assume they won’t ever access stigma-free and competent care. At DAP they never have to worry.
  • Hepatitis Center of Excellence- 202 clients have been cured of Hepatitis C since 2017. DAP averages 9 weeks to cure clients, and never turns people away if they do not have insurance. HCV is a silent killer, but DAP’s advocacy is a lot louder.
  • Dental Care- Dental access is vital for good health, especially for people living with HIV. DAP’s dental clinic had 5,354 visits last year, and continues to add clients. A healthy mouth helps clients stay ahead of HIV, and everyone smile wider.
  • The DOCK-- $25 STI screening and treatment. Free Confidential HIV and HCV testing. PrEP and PEP navigators to onboard new clients and help access cost assistance. Because we won’t stop the spread of HIV and STIs in the Coachella Valley if we don’t make testing and treatment available to everyone.
  • Behavioral HealthCare—Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Psychotherapists. Coping with HIV and life can be overwhelming. DAP Behavioral Health clinicians help clients find hope. Because with the right support, we can get through almost any storm.
  • Social Services –Case managers make accessing healthcare and support services a reality for DAP clients. Transportation, food, housing, and enrolling for federal, state and local resources to cover care. In a complex healthcare system, DAP takes the worry out of obtaining and keeping care. 
  • Housing - DAP helps clients into permanent residences, and is developing more opportunities. Housing assistance is part of our prescription. Because access to medication is not enough to treat HIV—it also requires a place to live.
  • Back to WorkDAP’s back to work program has assisted over 200 clients re-enter the workforce when they were ready. This includes computer access, resume coaching, and job placement. DAP helps clients determine readiness for employment, and supports them throughout the process. Because having a job can be powerful medicine.
  • Client Wellness—A range of services, classes and support groups make DAP a community hub. Chair massage, yoga, tai chi, acupuncture and reiki. Because the AIDS crisis taught us that holistic health works. Strength training, art, sculpting and sewing classes. Because curiosity is healthy. Aging with HIV, addiction and recovery advocacy, and many other support groups. Because DAP understands that when a few people get together to support each other, an entire humanitarian movement can be born.

2020 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Honorees:

Hank Plante will receive the Arts & Activism Award, Garry Kief will receive the Partners for Life Award and Ambassador Deborah L Birx, M.D. will receive the Science & Medicine Award.  

Henry A. "Hank" Plante is an American television reporter and newspaper columnist. He is on-air at NBC Palm Springs and he is a member of the Editorial Board of Gannett's Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs. Winner of the George Foster Peabody Award and multiple Emmys, he covered California for three decades for TV stations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He now writes occasional columns for newspapers in California, usually focusing on politics or gay and lesbian issues. One of the first openly gay TV reporters in the United States, Plante is the recipient of various honors from LGBTQ rights advocacy organizations and trade groups. In addition, Plante was featured in the documentary "5B" 5B (film), which was honored at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film is about the first AIDS ward in the nation, which Plante covered as a reporter. A native of Detroit, Plante worked in both radio and television journalism, including 25 years at KPIX-TV (CBS 5) in San Francisco, before retiring in April 2010. Before that, he worked in print journalism, including at The Washington Post. At KPIX-TV, he interviewed a range of national and state political figures, including five U.S. Presidents and numerous Governors, legislators and opinion makers from Richard Nixon to Al Gore, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Brown and Hillary Clinton.

His experience includes reporting and anchoring at TV stations in various cities, including KHJ-TV in Los Angeles, KRIV in Houston, KMSP-TV in Minneapolis and WVEC-TV in Norfolk, Virginia. He also served as Assignment Editor at WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., and as News Editor at WRC (NBC) Radio in Washington D.C. He began his career as a journalist in Washington, D.C. at the Sentinel Newspapers, where he was managing editor, and at The Washington Post, where he worked on the city desk.  His awards have included several local and national Emmys, as well as the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, in 1986, as part of CBS 5's "AIDS Lifeline" reporting team. He has also been awarded the Pioneer Award at the GLAAD Media Awards, and the James R. Harrison Award from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. He was also named "Reporter of the Year" by the Associated Press (APTRA'S "Chris Harris Award"). Hank was inducted into the Emmy Silver Circle by the National Television Academy, which honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to broadcasting. In addition, his work has been singled out for praise by The New York.

Garry Kief is a former DAP Board Member and currently serves on the boards of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Palm Springs International Film Festival, McCallum Theatre, and the Annenberg Theatre Counsel. In addition, Kief has served as National President and Chairman of the Trustees of his national fraternity – Sigma Phi Epsilon, raising money for programs and scholarships to support undergraduate men. Kief is President/CEO at Stiletto Entertainment Group and President of Barry Manilow Productions. He has produced ‘A Gift of Love’ for four years raising millions of dollars for local charities. Kief also oversees the Manilow Music Project which empowers underfunded school music programs to provide quality music education. By donating instruments and equipment and providing scholarships nationwide, it gives disadvantaged young people the opportunity to experience community, passion, and creativity through the gift of music.

Ambassador-at-Large, Deborah L. Birx, M.D., is the Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. Ambassador Birx is a world-renowned medical expert and leader in the field of HIV/AIDS. Her three-decade-long career has focused on HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health. As the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Birx oversees the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history, as well as all U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Serving as the U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, she aligns the U.S. Government’s diplomacy with foreign assistance programs that address global health challenges and accelerate progress toward: achieving an AIDS-free generation; ending preventable child and maternal deaths; and preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats.

In 1985, Ambassador Birx began her career with the Department of Defense (DoD) as a military-trained clinician in immunology, focusing on HIV/AIDS vaccine research. From 1985-1989, she served as an Assistant Chief of the Hospital Immunology Service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Through her professionalism and leadership in the field, she progressed to serve as the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1996-2005. Ambassador Birx helped lead one of the most influential HIV vaccine trials in history (known as RV 144 or the Thai trial), which provided the first supporting evidence of any vaccine’s potential effectiveness in preventing HIV infection. During this time, she also rose to the rank of Colonel, bringing together the Navy, Army, and Air Force in a new model of cooperation – increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. Military’s HIV/AIDS efforts through inter- and intra-agency collaboration. Then known as Colonel Birx, she was awarded two prestigious U.S. Meritorious Service Medals and the Legion of Merit Award for her groundbreaking research, leadership, and management skills during her tenure at DOD.

From 2005-2014, Ambassador Birx served successfully as the Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), which is part of the agency’s Center for Global Health. As DGHA Director, she utilized her leadership ability, superior technical skills, and infectious passion to achieve tremendous public health impact. She successfully led the implementation of CDC’s PEPFAR programs around the world and managed an annual budget of more than $1.5 billion. Ambassador Birx was responsible for all of the agency’s global HIV/AIDS activities, including providing oversight to more than 400 staff at headquarters, over 1,500 staff in the field, and more than 45 country and regional offices in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, and Latin America. Recognized for her distinguished and dedicated commitment to building local capacity and strengthening quality laboratory health services and systems in Africa, in 2011, Ambassador Birx received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Society for Laboratory Medicine. In 2014, CDC honored her leadership in advancing the agency’s HIV/AIDS response with the highly prestigious William C. Watson, Jr. Medal of Excellence.

Headline performer, Kristin Chenoweth is a passionate supporter of charities that dedicate their time and efforts to helping those in need. She formed a charity partnership with the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center (BAPAC) Foundation in her home state of Oklahoma. Chenoweth's accomplishments were honored by her hometown with BAPAC naming "The Kristin Chenoweth Theatre" in 2012. Partnering with the BAPAC in a labor of love, Kristin launched an annual Broadway Bootcamp in 2015, providing young Broadway hopefuls with the opportunity to take classes, hold performances and learn from top mentors in the entertainment industry including Kristin herself. In her lifelong mission to cultivate arts education across the globe, Chenoweth has also created “Places! The Kristin Chenoweth Tour Experience," a unique educational program for young singers that puts them right next to her performing on stage. Each concert in Chenoweth’s ongoing tour will feature local participants from higher education conservatories, universities, and colleges for the immersive educational experience.

Chenoweth recently released her latest album “For The Girls,” debuting at #3 on the Current Pop Albums chart and #11 on the Billboard Top Albums chart. The album is a heartfelt tribute to the great female singers throughout history, particularly some of Kristin’s heroes and friends. Guest artists include Ariana Grande, Dolly Parton, Jennifer Hudson and Reba McEntire. The album includes Chenoweth’s personally charged interpretations of classic songs identified with such iconic artists as Barbra Streisand, Lesley Gore, Linda Ronstadt, Dinah Washington, Dolly Parton and more.

2020 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Sponsors

PRODUCING: Harold Matzner, Walgreens

MAJOR: Elgart Aster & Paul Swerdlove, Desert Care Network, Desert Sun, Eisenhower Health, Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Living Out, LULU California Bistro

STAR: Mark Adams, Steven Anders/The Elizabeth Firth Wade Endowment, Annette Bloch, Desert Oasis Healthcare, NBC Palm Springs, Saks Fifth Avenue

SUPPORTING: Blackbook, Jim Burba & Bob Hayes, Diageo, Lynn Hammond, Lauri & Charles Kibby, Neil Lane Jewelers, Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel, UC Riverside School of Medicine, Wells Fargo Foundation

BENEFACTOR: Anthem Blue Cross, Carolyn & Daniel Caldwell, Colleen Crowley & Jack Martin, Coachella Valley Health Personnel, Diageo, Freehold Communities, Gilead Sciences, Annette Guzman, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, Image360, Patrick Jordan, Kaiser Permanente Foundation, Frank Kurland, Laboratory Corporation of America, Perry McKay, Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, Revive Wellness, Ann Sheffer & Bill Scheffler, Sysco Riverside, White Cross Pharmacy

MEDIA: CV Independent, Gay Desert Guide, LOCALE Magazine, Palm Springs Life, PromoHomo.TV, Rage Monthly, The Hollywood Times, The Standard Magazine

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services.  DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and Free HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future.  DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the sixth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency. Visit,, and to learn more.


Dr. Tulika Singh Elected ACP Fellow

Contact: Jack Bunting
(760) 656-8472

Palm Springs, CA  -- Tulika Singh MD, MS, AAHIVS, practicing in Palm Springs, has been elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the society of internists. The distinction recognizes achievements in internal medicine, the specialty of adult medical care.

She was elected upon the recommendation of peers and the review of ACP’s Credentials Subcommittee. She may now use the letters “FACP” after her name in recognition of this honor.

Dr. Singh is Associate Chief Medical Officer at Desert AIDS Project (DAP) in Palm Springs. She also serves as Director of Research at the organization.

Working in HIV care since 2009, Dr. Singh has maintained certification and credentialing by the American Academy of HIV Medicine since 2016. She was also awarded a seat at the faculty of UC Riverside School of Medicine in March.

Prior to joining DAP, she worked as a Primary Care and Infectious Disease Specialist at North Ottawa Community Hospital in Grand Haven, Michigan, and as an HIV Specialist at Mercy Health Partners of Muskegon, Michigan.

Dr. Singh derives great joy from building relationships with her clients and from collaborating with all members of DAP's transdisciplinary team to offer caring, comprehensive, and compassionate care. She enjoys the opportunity to see her clinical ideas become reality and she revels in working with her patients who teach her something new every day.

She received her Medical Degree from Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, India and then served her Internal Medicine Residency and Chief Residency at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Ohio. Dr. Singh also completed an Infectious Disease Fellowship at The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. In addition, she also holds a M.S in Health Care Administration from the University of New Haven.

During her time in Michigan, Dr. Singh worked pro bono at a charity medical clinic for uninsured patients. She is excited to be a part of the HIV Primary Care Guidance panel for the HIV Medicine Association where she is working with others to contribute to and update the organization's HIV Primary Care Guidance.

About ACP

ACP is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 143,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

About Desert AIDS Project
Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the sixth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit, and to learn more.

DAP Transgender Health Program Earns ELE …

Palm Springs, CA (December 5, 2019) — Desert AIDS Project (DAP) has earned certification in ELEVATE gender-affirmation healthcare training by Annenberg Center For Health Sciences at Eisenhower Health. This nationwide initiative sets a high bar for cultural competence in healthcare professionals involved in primary care and HIV care for the transgender, intersex and gender diverse clients. 

Transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people are disproportionately affected by HIV in the U.S. and globally. ELEVATE certification shows that DAP clinicians and personnel have the empathy and expertise to welcome and retain members of our TGNC community in HIV care.

“This designation reflects the commitment we have as an organization to our transgender, intersex and gender diverse clients,” said Anthony Velasco, NP and Co-Chair of DAP’s Transgender Health Program. “Our services and programs are most effective when we address intersectionality issues that contribute to stigma and discrimination unique to their struggle.”

The ultimate goal of ELEVATE is to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care for TGNC patients. In addition to barriers accessing primary healthcare and sexual health check-ups, competent HIV care is commonly elusive for them.

This is especially troubling, as the percentage of transgender people who received a new HIV diagnosis was 3 times the national average in 2017. (CDC)

Not enough health care clinicians receive proper training or are knowledgeable about TGNC health issues. This can lead to limited health care access and negative health care encounters. (CDC) DAP is seeking to reverse this trend, especially in the Coachella Valley.

“By providing services designed to empower and engage our clients in ongoing relationships with their primary care clinician, we address the full spectrum of health and wellness needs,” Velasco said. “We also seek opportunities to equip all of our staff with the knowledge and skills to achieve cultural competency and cultural humility.”


The Annenberg Center has established a special designation certificate program to recognize individuals and healthcare practices for environments that ensure optimal, culturally sensitive, and culturally competent care for TGNC patients. ELEVATE is a nationwide initiative to create welcoming, gender-affirming healthcare environments for transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) patients. By improving the cultural competencies of healthcare professionals and personnel involved in primary care and in HIV care, the ultimate goal of ELEVATE is to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care for transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) patients. To learn more, visit

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment for only $25 per visit, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the sixth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.