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Raya E. Kheirbek, MD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Administrative Title:

Chief, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine - Department of Medicine


110 S. Paca Street, PP5-N-166

Phone (Primary):

(410) 328-4615

Education and Training

  • Damascus University Medical School, Syria, MD, Public Health
  • Damascus University Medical School, Syria, MA, Public Health
  • Washington Hospital Center, Residency, Internal Medicine
  • George Washington University, Fellowship, Geriatric Medicine


Board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Hospice and Palliative Medicine


Dr. Kheirbek was named "Top Doctor" by Baltimore Magazine in 2021.


Dr. Kheirbek is a physician educator with over 20 years of experience in quality improvement projects development and implementation in older adults. In January 1999 she started her tenure in George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and the Veteran Affairs medical Center as the Medical Director, Geriatrics and Extended Care, with a focus on improving the health and wellbeing of patients living with chronic illness and building the foundation for hospice and palliative care services.  Dr. Kheirbek 's national work focused on transforming the culture of nursing home care from healthcare institution to a person centered home.

Dr. Kheirbek has served in several roles within the Department of Veteran Affairs and assumed positions with added responsibilities including Associate Chief of Staff for Quality and Performance, Acting Network 5 Chief Medical Officer and led the VA's national program in Art and Humanities.  Her most recent focus prior to joining UMSOM was building the program in Narrative Medicine through interprofessional training for more empathetic and holistic healthcare while proposing practical methods to achieve such care. She is credited to assembling the world's largesrt cohort of male dominated centenarians available in VA Corporate Data Warehouse.

Dr. Kheirbek is a collaborator and founding member of a spectrum of VA funded, innovative clinical programs. These programs most notably included funding by the VA Capitol Health Care Network to establish the Center for Health and Aging at the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center aiming to provide pioneering team based leadership concerning optimal care of the fastest growing segment of our population, older adults.

She is a distinguished graduate of the Executives Career Field and Leadership VA and has served on a number of national committees.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Chronic Illness, Aging, Oldest Old, End of Life, Narrative Medicine.

Highlighted Publications

Kheirbek RE, Alemi Y, Wojtusiak J, Kheirbek L, Madison S, Fokar A, Doukky R, Moore HJ. Impact of Hospice and Palliative Care Service Utilization on All-Cause 30-Day Readmission Rate for Older Adults Hospitalized with Heart Failure. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2019 Jul;36(7):623-629. doi: 10.1177/1049909119828712. Epub 2019 Feb 17.

Kheirbek RE, Fokar A, Little JT, Balish M, Shara NM, Boustani MA, Llorente M. Association Between Antipsychotics and All-Cause Mortality Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults.J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Feb 11. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz045. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 30753301

Kheirbek RE, Fokar A, Shara N, Bell-Wilson LK, Moore HJ, Olsen E, Blackman MR, Llorente MD.Characteristics and Incidence of Chronic Illness in Community-Dwelling Predominantly Male U.S. Veteran Centenarians. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Sep;65(9):2100-2106. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14900. Epub 2017 Apr 19. PMID: 28422270

Farrokh Alem and Raya Elfadel KheirbeK Comprehensive Multimorbidity Index for Predicting Mortality in Intensive Care Unit Journal of Palliative Medicine

Additional Publication Citations

Awards and Affiliations


  • American College of Physicians 
  • Gerontotogical Society of America 
  • American Academy of Hopsice and Palliative Medicine 


Named a "Top Doctor" by Baltimore Magazine in 2021

In the News

Community Service

Chair Elect, SIG Heart Failure AAHPM