Contact: Jack Bunting
Palm Springs, CA – (September 18, 2019) — Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is proud to welcome Dr. Jill Gover as Behavioral Health Manager. In this role, she will enrich the department and the agency with her expertise and proven commitment to putting clients first. Affectionately known in the community as “Dr. G”, she brings decades of expertise and compassion in helping people living with HIV / AIDS (PLWHA).
At DAP, she will steer operations of the department and the Behavioral Health clinic, supervise staff, and see clients in a therapeutic capacity.
Most recently, Dr. Gover served as a clinical psychologist and director of the Scott Hines Mental Health Clinic @ The Center in Palm Springs, providing eight years of tireless service to clients.
She has emerged in the Coachella Valley as a steady voice calling for more resources and vigilance around mental health issues facing the LGBTQ community, especially PLWHA.
“We feel immense gratitude to have Dr. Gover join the Behavioral Health staff at DAP,” said David Brinkman, CEO. “Living with HIV is overwhelming for many of our clients, but she has mastered the understanding required to give them the vigilance and support they deserve.”
In particular, Dr. Gover is one of this community’s loudest voices calling for heightened awareness around suicide prevention, and there is a compelling reason.
- In the 2014 Riverside County Public Health LGBT Health and Wellness Profile study, LGBTQ+ adults reported having two-to-four times as many suicidal thoughts as heterosexual peers, with bisexuals at highest risk.
- In the 2015 Inland Empire Transgender Health and Wellness Profile Report, transgender adults were asked, “Have you ever seriously considered committing suicide?” Seventy-five percent of the participants responded, “Yes” compared to six percent of the general population.
These are truly shocking statistics, according to Dr. Gover. But by choosing to join DAP, she plans to continue her lifelong work to help humankind.
“I have been assisting people living with HIV / AIDS, both personally and professionally, since the early days of the epidemic as a gay rights and AIDS activist,” said Dr. Gover. “This is my community and I cannot think of an agency that is a better fit for the work I love to do.”
Experience From Decades Of Treating People Living With HIV / AIDS
Dr. Gover completed schooling and started her psychology practice in the earliest years of the AIDS crisis in California. She has practiced in the Bay Area, Northern California, and the Inland Empire.
By spending decades treating her clients living with HIV / AIDS, she understands their suffering, and offers approaches for them to find hope and wellness.
As she explains, for PLWHA, the AIDS epidemic has been a series of traumatic events. Sustained trauma can present as a myriad of symptoms, such as anger, hypervigilance and anxiety, depression, insomnia and nightmares, survivors’ guilt, substance abuse, sexual risk-taking, low self-esteem, hopelessness, emotional numbness and social withdrawal.
According to Dr. Gover, behavioral health strategies that develop a new, positive “internal narrative” of self-talk are crucial to combating the challenges and fears that overwhelm so many people living with HIV.
“I want to establish a safe environment in therapy where patients can learn and practice the tools and skills needed to make the changes they want to make in their life.”
Her Therapeutic Approach
Dr. Gover believes that the story we tell ourselves can often be distorted, and because of that, we experience unnecessary emotional distress. As a cognitive behavioral therapist, she is interested in exploring the mistaken beliefs, unhelpful schemas (rules we live by), and faulty thinking that causes problems in our lives.
With curiosity and without judgment, she invites the patient into a collaborative approach to investigate the evidence and efficacy of particular thought patterns, and helps patients reconstruct a “new narrative” of self-talk that improves quality of life.
More about Dr. Gover
Jill Gover, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, specializing in addiction, anxiety, depression, aging, chronic pain, HIV, and LGBT+ issues. For 15 years she was the Coordinator of Student Assistance Programs for the Vallejo USD, responsible for developing a large internship program and bringing mental health services into the schools. For the next 13 years, she was the Director of Mental Health Services for an FQHC community health center, responsible for integrating behavioral health into a primary care setting. In 2011 she joined the staff at The LGBT Community Center of the Desert, where she created a clinical internship program for mental health professionals and established The Scott Hines Mental Health Clinic to provide low cost mental health services to the community. Dr. Gover oversaw clinical internship training and several treatment programs for the LGBT community, including a Long-term Survivors (LTS) therapy group for gay men living with HIV. She has been an active member of HARP-PS (HIV and Aging Research Project) for the past five years.
Dr. Gover has published numerous articles and developed psycho-educational curricula on anger management, suicide prevention, adult children of alcoholics, HIV, and healthy aging. She is a well-respected presenter on various issues related to mental health, and has delivered numerous workshops and trainings throughout California.
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.