Healthcare District Appoints Administration Veteran Chris Christensen as New CEO

PALM SPRINGS — In the end, the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation didn’t have to look any farther than its own back yard for a new CEO.. It announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive Officer, Chris Christensen. on Tuesday, May 28, promoting him from his roles as Interim CEO and Chief Administration Officer. He assumes his position on June 1.

Christensen fills the void created when former Dr. Conrado Bárzaga’s abruptly departed in September.

Christensen has provided a decade of service to the District, which owns the Desert Regional Medical Center campus in Palm Springs. His prior roles include Controller, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administration Officer, and Interim CEO. Christensen has contributed to improving access to healthcare for more than 400,000 residents across the entire Coachella Valley through his critical administrative work. His efforts enable the District to carry out its mission to achieve optimal health at all stages of life for all District residents.

Christensen joined the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation in 2014 as Controller, where he was responsible for the accounting and financial department. In addition to general ledger maintenance and monthly financial statement preparation for both organizations, he prepared annual budgets and facilitated yearly audits. He served as Chief Financial Officer for five years, managing payroll, accounts payable and human resources. During his tenure, he oversaw the maintenance of a 33-suite medical plaza, along with tenant leasing and tenant relations.

“Through Christensen’s guidance, the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation has met and will continue to meet its goals to assist Coachella Valley residents — especially the underserved and vulnerable — in accessing essential resources, such as primary healthcare and behavioral healthcare,” Evett PerezGil, the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation Board president, said in a statement.

As Chief Administration Officer, Christensen supervised the daily operations of the District and delivered a strategic vision for the District’s performance. In this role, he set goals for departments and individual managers, collaborated across departments to implement and improve policies, and oversaw resource allocation and budgeting.

Christensen served as Interim CEO three times during his career at the District. He has extensive experience in leadership and strong partnerships with the Board of Directors that enable the District to achieve its mission, strategy, and annual goals and objectives.


“I am delighted to take on the CEO role at the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation,” Christensen said in a statement. “In my decade of experience, I have seen the District flourish thanks to our elected Board and devoted staff. I am excited to work hand-in-hand with our team and community partners to ensure we continue improving access to healthcare services in the Coachella Valley.”


About the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation

The Desert Healthcare District is a local government agency formed in 1948. Its mission is to achieve optimal health at all stages of life for all District residents. The District includes more than 400,000 residents and encompasses the entire Coachella Valley. The District and Desert Healthcare Foundation, together, are one of the largest funders in the valley. These funds are used to assist residents — especially the underserved — in accessing vitally needed resources, such as primary and behavioral healthcare. Learn more.



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  • Chris Christensen: Desert Healthcare District