Erika Z. Byrd
To borrow a phrase from the ‘70s, Contour Dermatology’s Day of Beauty on May 14 was “far out, man!” The disco ball was shining the light on beauty treatments and a local nonprofit organization. The event benefited Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine (CVVIM), which provides about 4,000 health care visits annually to more than 1,000 low-income residents.
Contour Dermatology made a $5,000 donation to benefit this community resource.
Guests enjoyed “Boogie Wonderland” and other retro music while receiving rejuvenating treatments like facial fillers, lasers, CoolSculpting, microdermabrasion and physician-grade skincare products. Among the live procedures attendees had the opportunity to watch were an upper blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) and Voluma filler injections performed by Timothy Jochen, MD, and Dermapen with PRP infusion and a Fraxel laser treatment performed by Alejandro Nuñez, RN.
Doug Morin, executive director of Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine, shared an update on his organization. The big news is the nonprofit will expand its services in July by opening a Palm Springs satellite office at the Las Palmas Medical Plaza to serve the West Valley better.
“We have some good reserves that we’ve put away for a number of years. So, the board is taking a chance to say that if this is our mission to provide services to uninsured and low-income people, we need to make sure we are doing that,” Morin said. “We have an opportunity right now, and we’re taking a bit of a risk by doing this, but we are also very confident the community will step up with ongoing donations.
“We’re really excited to provide closer access to people who live and work in Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs and Cathedral City who may not be able to travel to our main office in Indio after work, and some may not even have transportation,” he said. “This office will provide a more convenient location for people to see a medical provider on a lunch break or be able to obtain care closer to home.”
Incorporated in 2008 and seeing patients since 2010, CVVIM has helped more than 30,000 people through some 40,000 medical visits over the past 12 years. The two highest diagnoses are hypertension and diabetes. Because of this, CVVIM also has a classroom-style education program, Morin said. “We also see a lot of well-women visits and women who are 40 and 50 who’ve never been to the doctor along with men who’ve never had a prostate exam.”
CVVIM has also been doing homeless street outreach for the past five years. Every Tuesday night, a team goes out looking for people who may need medical care, such as wound care, tetanus or hepatitis C vaccines, and organizing clinic referrals. Sometimes they go out with other organizations that deliver food or clothing. Contour Dermatology’s Nuñez has helped with the street outreach program.
CVVIM’s greatest needs are money, volunteers and awareness. About one-third of CVVIM’s funding comes from grants. About 25% comes from organizations and special events like Contour’s Day of Beauty, and the balance is from individuals through major gifts.
CVVIM has a small paid administrative staff of five full-time and four part-time employees. The service for medical care is provided by volunteers. Last year, the organization had 221 volunteers who provided more than $400,000 in direct service value.
CVVIM pays for any lab work, X-rays, MRIs and other diagnostics patients may need as part of their care. Volunteers include physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants and even students who are part of nearby colleges and high school health academies who may be eligible to volunteer in certain roles. In addition to hosting the Day of Beauty benefit, Contour Dermatology medical providers volunteer to see CVVIM patients who need dermatological care at no charge throughout the year.
“We are glad to participate and supportive of the work that Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine does,” Jochen said. “We are grateful to have them organize primary care for valley residents in need.”
“This is a human thing. It’s not a political thing,” Morin said. “This is about people getting care, the primary care they need. And we should all want that for our neighbors, to be healthy, because they make better workers, make more involved community members and we have a better thriving community when we’re all healthy and able to enjoy everything the community has to offer.”
Erika Z. Byrd, APR is a Coachella Valley-based freelance writer and public relations specialist. She can be reached at erikabyrd.com.