Debra Saliba

Associate Program Director


VA GLAHS GRECC Physician, VA GLAHS HSR&D Center of Innovation Associate Director for Education, Director, UCLA/JH Borun Center for Gerontological Research, Senior Natural Scientist, RAND Health

Debra Saliba, MD, MPH

Dr. Debra Saliba is a physician with the VA GRECC and serves as the Associate Director for Education for the VA HSR&D Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation and Policy. Dr. Saliba also holds the Anna & Harry Borun Endowed Chair in Geriatrics at UCLA and directs the UCLA Borun Center for Applied Gerontological Research. She is also a senior natural scientist at RAND. Dr. Saliba’s research has focused on creating tools and knowledge that can be applied to improving quality of care and quality of life for vulnerable older adults and others with long-term care based services, disaster response, quality measurement, fall prevention, the association between institutional structure and quality and the development of instruments to predict functional limitation and death. One focus of Dr. 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. The VES-13 has gained widespread acceptance in clinical, program and research settings internationally. Recently, Dr. Saliba was the principal investigator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ MDS 3.0 Revision and Evaluation project and collaborative VA MDS Validation project. Through this work, items that relied on resident voice were introduced, providing a direct link between MDS and resident-centered care in nursing homes throughout the US. Significant gains in MDS reliability, validity, staff satisfaction and assessment efficiency were seen. Dr. Saliba’s current research includes work to assist the state of California in developing coordinated assessment of needs and eligibility for MediCal enrollees (funded by SCAN), an evaluation of the impact of the transition of seniors and persons with disabilities to managed care (funded by CHCF), a randomized trial of an intervention to reduce nursing home to hospital transfers (funded by VA HSR&D) and an evaluation of a collaboration between VA and the Indian Health Service (funded by VA HSR&D).

Dr. Saliba directs the Los Angeles VA’s HSR&D and Clinical Scholars Fellowships and is associate director for the UCLA Clinical Scholars Program. Dr. Saliba is also a Co-director of the UCLA Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. Her research in quality of care and vulnerable populations has received awards from the Journal of American Medical Directors Association, VA Health Services Research & Development, and the American Geriatrics Society. A recognized leader in geriatrics research and quality, Dr. Saliba has served as an expert on multiple national advisory panels addressing quality of care for older adults across care settings. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the California Association for Long Term Care Medicine, Dr. Saliba serves on the Board of Directors for the American Geriatrics Society.

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