Governing Board

Meet our Board of Governors

The Board of Governors is responsible for financial and professional oversight of Desert Regional Medical Center. Its members guide Desert Regional in the delivery of high-quality healthcare to the Coachella Valley.

HETAL BHAKTA, MD  —  CHAIR

Dr. Bhakta is a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology, the treatment of heart-rhythm disorders. He is medical director of electrophysiology at Desert Regional and was a key leader on the team that launched new technology for the treatment of atrial fibrillation and other heart problems.

MITCH BLUMBERG  — VICE CHAIR

Mitch Blumberg is deputy executive director for Desert Arc, a nonprofit organization serving developmentally disabled adults in the Coachella Valley. He also serves on other local boards and committees, including those of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, the La Quinta and Palm Desert chambers of commerce, Palm Springs Women in Film & Television (PSWIFT), the Palm Desert Rotary Club and the Harvard and Harvard Business School clubs of Southern California.

SCOTT L. WHITE — SECRETARY

White has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. Since 2010, he has been president and CEO of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau. He previously was executive director of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau. He also held several positions with the Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, including both director and vice president of sales and executive vice president.  White served on the task force responsible for bringing Super Bowl XLII to Phoenix.

Board Members

CHRISTINE J. ANDERSON, ED.D.

Since 2011, Christine Anderson has been superintendent of the Palm Springs Unified School District.  She previously served as its assistant superintendent of educational services.  Dr. Anderson began her career as a teacher in the Fullerton School District and has been a program specialist, special-education program specialist and school principal.  She served as executive director of human resources for the Santa Ana Unified School District before coming to Palm Springs. In 2011, she was selected as the Riverside County Certificated Administrator of the Year. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communicative disorders and a doctorate in organizational leadership.

MICHAEL BAGHERI, MD

Dr. Bagheri is an interventional cardiologist on the medical staff at Desert Regional Medical Center. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, interventional cardiology and adult echocardiography. Dr. Bagheri also serves as chairman of the cardiovascular services peer review committee at Desert Regional and has been program co-director for the Palm Springs Cardiovascular Symposium. He completed an internal medicine residency and a fellowship in general cardiology at East Tennessee State University, as well as an interventional cardiology fellowship at University of Connecticut.

CAROLYN CALDWELL, FACHE

Carolyn Caldwell has been president and chief executive officer of Desert Regional since 2012. She previously held the same positions at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, Mo.  She also serves on the American Hospital Association’s board of trustees, the governing and policy-making body of the AHA.  Prior to arriving in California, she served on the executive teams of three hospitals in Missouri and Texas. Caldwell earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and chemistry and a master’s degree in healthcare administration. She is also a registered medical technologist through the American Society for Clinical Pathologists and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

ZIAD TANNOUS, MD, FCCP

Dr. Tannous is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine. He is currently Chief of Staff at Desert Regional Medical Center and also serves as Medical Director of Pulmonary Services. He completed a fellowship in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California-Irvine. Dr. Tannous is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American College of Physicians. He is also a fellow at the American College of Chest Pain.

MARIA ELENA GEYER

Ms. Geyer is president and CEO of Gilda’s Desert Cities, an affiliate of Cancer Support Community, the nation’s largest non-profit organization providing no-cost cancer support programs. Prior to her position at Gilda’s, Geyer was CEO of North Eastern Pennsylvania Blood Services for the American Red Cross and for 22 years served in executive positions at the Puget Sound Blood Center in Seattle, Wash., first as director of donor and volunteer resources, then executive vice president of marketing and community affairs. Esteemed for her record of success in growing programs and in community outreach, in her first year of leading Gilda’s, Geyer has already launched a major nutrition program at Gilda’s and forged strong community partnerships in the Coachella Valley. She spearheaded the creation of “Better Together for Community,” a collaborative of five local cancer support organizations serving patients and families locally, and secured a unique mental health grant to support its ambitious outreach plan.

SHUBHA J. KERKAR, MD

Dr. Kerkar has served at Desert Regional since 1991 as director of infectious diseases and chair of infection control. She is board-certified in infectious diseases and internal medicine. She also holds credentials from the American Academy of HIV Medicine and the HIV Medical Association. Dr. Kerkar has a clinical practice and also is an associate professor at the University of Southern California. She received her medical degree in India. She then completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Temple University and a fellowship in infectious diseases at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.

MARLA LANDER, MD

Dr. Lander is a diagnostic radiologist at The Desert Comprehensive Breast Center, which is located in the Comprehensive Cancer Center. A Diplomat of the National Board of Radiology, she has more than 15 years’ experience as a specialist in breast imaging. She has practiced in the desert area since 1997 was named a Top Doctor by her peers in a survey published by Palm Springs Life magazine in July 2013. She teaches physicians of varying specialties and technologists throughout the country and in Canada, about 3-D Ultrasound, its importance, and how to interpret findings. Dr. Lander earned her medical degree at the University of California, Irvine; where she went on to serve her internship in general surgery and residency in radiology. She also completed a prestigious mammography fellowship at Central Hospital, Falun, Sweden under the tutelage of Dr. Tabar, and additional fellowship training at Saddleback Valley Women’s Imaging Center in Laguna Hills, California, and Western Medical Center in Tustin, California.

DAVID H. READY, ESQ. PHD

David Ready is the city manager of Palm Springs. He previously served as city manager in Flint, Mich., and Canton, Ohio.  He holds a doctorate in political science and public administration and has been involved with many professional and community associations during his career.

CAROLE ROGERS, RN MPH

Carole Rogers is a licensed Registered Nurse with over forty years of experience in the healthcare field. She was elected to the Desert Healthcare District in November 2014 and serves as one of two district appointees to the Desert Regional Medical Center Governing Board. Previously, Rogers was an elected member of the Eden Township Healthcare District (Castro Valley CA) where she served as Director and then Chair of the Board for five years. She was educated in San Francisco Bay Area schools including San Francisco State University and U.C. Berkeley with a Master’s Degree in Public Health. She received a post graduate fellowship in HMO Management from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

ELIZABETH F. ROMERO

At the age of 23, Elizabeth Romero was elected to and served for four years on the Coachella Valley Unified School District board of trustees. She is now a member of the Riverside County Board of Education, representing the Coachella Valley, Desert Center, Desert Sands, Palm Springs and Palo Verde Unified School Districts.  In 2013, she was elected treasurer of the California County Boards of Education, a statewide organization that represents the state’s 58 county education boards.  She also serves on the board of directors of the California Latino School Boards Association.  Romero is the director of community and government relations for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, where she works to ensure broad public access to reproductive healthcare. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and public service and a master’s degree in politics, economics and business.

RALPH STEIGER, MD

Dr. Steiger is an obstetrician specializing in high-risk obstetrics. He is a past president of Desert Regional’s medical staff and is the chairman of its administrative affairs, bylaws and obstetrics and gynecology committees.  He came to Desert Regional from Fountain Valley Regional Medical Center, where he was medical director of perinatal services. He has served on the faculty of UC Irvine as an associate adjunct professor and director of clinical clerkships in the third-year obstetrics and gynecology program. Dr. Steiger also has written for peer-reviewed journals and books on obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.

WILLIAM GRIMM, DO

Dr. Grimm has an internal-medicine practice in the Coachella Valley and also serves on the elected board of directors for the Desert Healthcare District. He is past president of the Riverside County Medical Association, California Medical Association, American Medical Association, Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California and the American Association of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Grimm specializes in integrative medicine, including osteopathic and homeopathic practice.