Debra Saliba

Photo of Debra Saliba
Senior Natural Scientist
Santa Monica Office


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

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

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Debra Saliba is a senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation. She also is a professor of medicine UCLA where she holds the Anna & Harry Borun Endowed Chair in Geriatrics. At the Los Angeles VA she is associate director for education in the HSR&D Center of Innovation. As a practicing geriatrician and health services researcher, 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, hospitals, homes, post-acute care and nursing homes. 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. National tests showed significant gains in MDS reliability, validity, staff satisfaction, and efficiency. Saliba's current research includes developing measures of physician performance in post-acute and long-term care; inclusion of patient and family priorities in weighting quality measures, and the relationship between nursing home quality and staffing structures. Saliba is deputy editor for the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and past president and board chair of the American Geriatrics Society. She serves on several national expert panels, including the CMS 5-star TEP and National Quality Forum Committees. Saliba received her M.D. from the University of Alabama where she also completed an internal medicine residency. She completed fellowships in health services research and geriatric medicine at UCLA where she received an M.P.H. in epidemiology.

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 GLA GRECC; Associate Director for Education, VA GLA 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

Honors & Awards

  • Robert L Kane Memorial Lectureship, University of Minnesota
  • Kameny and Katz Lectureships, Brown University Department of Medicine and School of Public Health
  • Visiting Faculty Scholar, Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care, University of Toronto