Debra Saliba

Debra Saliba
Physician Policy Researcher


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

Media Resources

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Debra Saliba (she/her) is a physician policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, and a professor of medicine and the Anna & Harry Borun Endowed Chair in Geriatrics at UCLA. 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 improve quality of care and quality of life of older adults across care settings, including hospitals, home, 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 project and collaborative VA MDS Validation project. National tests showed significant gains in MDS reliability, validity, staff satisfaction, and efficiency. Saliba's recent research includes developing measures of provider 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 executive editor for the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and past president and board chair of the American Geriatrics Society. In addition to serving on the NASEM Committee on Nursing Quality, Saliba serves on several national expert panels, including the CMS 5-star TEP. Saliba received her M.D. from the University of Alabama where she also completed 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

Selected Publications

Saliba D, Orlando M, Wenger NS, Hays RD, Rubenstein LZ, "Identifying a Short Functional Disability Screen for Older Persons," J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2000

Saliba D, Elliott M, Rubenstein LZ, Solomon DH, Young RT, Kamberg CJ, Roth C, MacLean CH, Shekelle PG, Sloss EM, Wenger NS, "The Vulnerable Elders Survey (VES-13): A Tool for Identifying Vulnerable Older People in the Community.," J Am Geriatr Soc, 2001

Saliba D, Buchanan J, Kington RS, "Function and Response of Nursing Facilities during Community Disaster," Am J Public Health, 2004

Edelen MO, Saliba D, "Correspondence of Verbal Descriptor and Numeric Rating Scales for Pain Intensity: An Item Response Theory Calibration," J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2010

Kramer J, Jouldjian S, Wang M, Dang J, Mitchell M, Finke B, Saliba D, "Do Correlates of Dual Use by American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans Operate Uniformly Across the Veterans Health Administration and the Indian Health Service?" J Gen Intern Med, 2011

Saliba D, Buchanan J, "Making the Investment Count: Revision of the Minimum Data Set for Nursing Homes, MDS 3.0," J Am Med Dir Assoc, 2012

Saliba D, Weimer D, Shi Y, Mukamel D, "Examination of the new short-stay nursing home quality measures: Rehospitalizations, emergency department visits, and successful returns to the community," Inquiry, 2018

Farrell TW, Francis L, Brown T, Ferrante LE, Widera E, Rhodes R, Rosen T, Hwang U, Witt LJ, Thothala N, Liu SW, Vitale CA, Braun UK, Stephens C, Saliba D, "Rationing Limited Health Care Resources in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond: Ethical Considerations Regarding Older Adults," J Am Geriatr Soc, 2020