Amar A. Desai, MD, MPH

President and CEO, Optum California


For over a decade as a practicing physician, public health leader and health care executive, Dr. Amar Desai has worked at the intersection of direct patient care and health care systems to help patients lead healthier, more fulfilled lives.

At the heart of his work, Dr. Desai has developed innovative and scalable delivery models that improve clinical outcomes, increase affordability and transform the experience of being a health care consumer. While translating clinical excellence into economic value, these models drive more consistent patient engagement and compassionate care. Dr. Desai has thus improved care delivery in a range of settings, including early-stage start-ups, organizational turnaround, Fortune 200 companies and academic health systems.

Currently, Dr. Desai serves as president and CEO of Optum California, one of the largest integrated care delivery networks in the country. In this role, he has oversight over all Optum care delivery organizations in the state, including Apple Care Medical Group, HealthCare Partners, Monarch HealthCare and North American Medical Management (NAMM) California. 

Prior to his current role, Dr. Desai served as the president of DaVita HealthCare Partners, a leading medical group and integrated delivery network that delivered population-based health care to over 700,000 patients. 

Previously, Dr. Desai served as CEO of USC Care where he led transformative growth and helped position the university's medical center as a regional leader for complex care. From 2010 to 2014, Dr. Desai was a senior executive at DaVita, a global leader in dialysis care, where he advanced integrated kidney care models and led corporate strategy for the enterprise. Early in his career, Dr. Desai served as an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company.

Dr. Desai received his Bachelor’s and Medical Degrees from Brown University and his Masters in Public Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He completed internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Desai remains active clinically as a practicing nephrologist. He is currently an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Keck School of Medicine at USC and has previously held faculty appointments at Stanford School of Medicine and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.