Debra Saliba

Photo of 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.

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Debra Saliba is a senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation. She is also associate director for Education for the VA Los Angeles HSR&D Center of Innovation and a professor of medicine at UCLA, as well 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. Significant gains in MDS reliability, validity, staff satisfaction, and assessment efficiency were seen in national testing. Saliba's current research includes developing measures of physician performance in post-acute and long-term care; including patient and family priorities in weighting quality measures, and a randomized trial to decrease transfers from VA nursing homes to hospitals. Saliba is past president and board chair of the American Geriatrics Society and serves on several national expert panels, including the CMS 5-star TEP and National Quality Forum Committees. She serves as deputy editor for the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 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 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