Debra Saliba

Senior Natural Scientist
Santa Monica Office


M.D., University of Alabama; M.P.H., UCLA School of Public Health

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Debra Saliba is a senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation. She holds the UCLA Anna & Harry Borun Endowed Chair in Geriatrics and directs the UCLA Borun Center. She is also a physician researcher at the Los Angeles VA GRECC and VA HSR&D Center of Innovation. Saliba's research focuses on creating tools and knowledge that can be applied to improving quality of care and quality of life of vulnerable older adults across care settings including clinics, hospital, home, and nursing homes. Her research has addressed transfers from nursing homes to hospitals, disaster response, patient safety, pressure ulcer care, development and application of quality measures, the association between institutional structure and quality, and the development of instruments to predict functional limitation and death. One focus of Saliba's work has been direct inclusion of older adults in assessments of their health and needs. She developed the VES-13, a survey that identifies vulnerable elders living in the community. Saliba was the principal investigator for CMS's MDS 3.0 Revision and Evaluation project and collaborative VA MDS Validation project. Significant gains in MDS reliability, validity, staff satisfaction, and assessment efficiency were seen in national testing. Saliba's current research includes assisting CMS with developing, testing, and implementing standardized data elements across post-acute care settings to meet IMPACT Act objectives; assisting California in developing Home and Community Universal Assessment and processes; and a randomized trial to decrease transfers from nursing homes to hospitals. Saliba received her M.D. from the University of Alabama.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Anna and Harry Borun Chair in Geriatrics and Gerontology, University of California, Los Angeles; Director, UCLA/JH Borun Center for Gerontological Research; Research Physician, VA GLAHS GRECC; Research Physician, VA GLAHS Center for Innovation

Recent Projects

  • Improving quality of life and safety in long-term care
  • Individualizing goals of care
  • Revision and validation of the Minimum Data Set for Nursing Homes (MDS 3.0)
  • Development and validation of the Vulnerable Elders 13 Item Survey (VES-13)
  • Nursing Home culture change