DAP Health levels up well-being in the Coachella Valley

Founded nearly 40 years ago in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, DAP Health is driven by its mission to enhance the health and well-being of a diverse, medically underserved community.


For the Coachella Valley not-for-profit organization, health equity is everything.


“When it comes to health equity, given our history, who better to recognize and remove the barriers and stigma that discrimination and poverty create, which prevents people from getting the care they need?” said CEO David Brinkman. “At DAP Health, we view health care as a human right.”


As a Federally Qualified Health Center, DAP Health’s work focuses on ending epidemics, such as HIV/AIDS, addressing mental health and addiction, and according to Brinkman, providing care “for everyone—period.”

Some of its innovative efforts include:


  • DAP Health’s infectious disease team established one of California’s first outpatient COVID-19 clinics and mpox clinics.
  • Volunteers created a national health education hotline.
  • Mobile teams brought direct care access into the community.


It’s because of these accomplishments that DAP Health has won the Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) 2023 Creativity & Innovation Award.


And the care goes above and beyond the clinical aspect.


Food distribution, for example, is part of DAP Health primary care visits, notes Brinkman.


“If the patient needs food, they receive 48 hours’ worth of meals and meet with a case manager to enroll in benefits before their medical appointment ends,” he said. “At DAP Health, food is health care.”


So is affordable permanent housing, Brinkman added.


“When our patients get restorative sleep, eat nutritious food and are engaged in social activities as a part of their medical, behavioral health and dental care, we can achieve health equity and health outcomes that our founders envisioned,” he said.