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Chris Christensen appointed new CEO of Desert Healthcare District


The Desert Healthcare District and Foundation announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive Officer, Chris Christensen.

The District named Christensen CEO at its Board meeting on Tuesday. He'll officially take over the position on June 1.

Christensen has been working as its Interim CEO and Chief Administration Officer since the sudden ouster of then-CEO Dr. Conrado Bárzaga in September.

According to DCHD, 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.

“I am delighted to take on the CEO role at the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation,” Christensen said. “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.”

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.

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.

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