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Raya E. Kheirbek, MD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Administrative Title:

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


110 S. Paca Street, PP5-N-166

Phone (Primary):

(410) 328-4615

Education and Training

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


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


Named "Top Doctor" by Baltimore Magazine in 2020, 2021.


Dr. Kheirbek is a Professor of Medicine and the inaugural Division Head of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Dr. Kheirbek's primary focus is on developing and implementing quality improvement programs for older adults with serious and advanced illnesses. Her research portfolio includes numerous large-scale projects with a particular focus on the oldest segment of the global population. Her interest in centenarians originated from caring for a 108-year-old patient and led her to assemble the world's largest cohort of male centenarians. Through conducting interviews with over 100 centenarians, Dr. Kheirbek gained valuable insights into their exceptional longevity.

In addition to her research work, Dr. Kheirbek plays a vital role in training numerous learners on age-appropriate, person-centered care. She currently serves as the Program Director of the Geriatric Fellowship at UMD, where she fosters empathy, reflection, and professionalism in the practice of medicine. Her dedication to educating future healthcare professionals ensures that they are equipped with the necessary skills to provide compassionate care to older adults.

Dr. Kheirbek is an advocate for social justice. She actively writes and provides expert testimonies, addressing the unique needs of marginalized and medically vulnerable individuals, including elders in the criminal justice system, advocating for compassionate and geriatric release of prisoners. Her work has been featured in several publications, including the Baltimore Sun, New York Times, Washington Post, and US World and News Report.

Research/Clinical Keywords

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

Highlighted Publications

Kheirbek, R. and Beamer, B. A. (2022). Incarcerated older adults in the coronavirus disease 2019 era: a call for advancing health and human dignity. Public Policy &Amp; Aging Report, 32(4), 149-152. 

Kheirbek, R., Siaton, B., Beamer, B. A., Blumenthal, J. B., Katzel, L., Sorkin, J. D., … & Hogans, B. B. (2021). The relationship between knee pain and heart failure in older black and latino women. Innovation in Aging, 5(Supplement_1), 167-168. 

Kheirbek, R., Alemi, Y., Wojtusiak, J., Kheirbek, L., Madison, S., Fokar, A., … & Moore, H. (2019). Impact of hospice and palliative care service utilization on all-cause 30-day readmission rate for older adults hospitalized with heart failure. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine®, 36(7), 623-629. 

Kheirbek, R., Fokar, A., Little, J. T., Balish, M., Shara, N., Boustani, M., … & Llorente, M. D. (2019). Association between antipsychotics and all-cause mortality among community-dwelling older adults. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 74(12), 1916-1921. 

Kheirbek, R., Fokar, A., Shara, N., Bell-Wilson, L. K., Moore, H., Olsen, E. J., … & Llorente, M. D. (2017). Characteristics and incidence of chronic illness in community‚Äźdwelling predominantly male u.s. veteran centenarians. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(9), 2100-2106. 

Min, H., Avramovic, S., Wojtusiak, J., Khosla, R., Fletcher, R. D., Alemi, F., … & Kheirbek, R. (2017). A comprehensive multimorbidity index for predicting mortality in intensive care unit patients. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 20(1), 35-41. 

Additional Publication Citations

Awards and Affiliations


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


Named a "Top Doctor" by Baltimore Magazine in 2020, 2021

In the News

Community Service

Chair Elect, SIG Heart Failure AAHPM