. It is possible to quantify the damage to reinforced concrete members under cyclic loading through a nondimensional parameter known as a “damage index”. The damage index can be either a global damage index for the total structure, or a local damage index for the element level. In this paper, a new damage model termed “equivalent ductility damage model” has been suggested for evaluation of the damage index, which is consistent with accepted definitions of ductility. Substructure method was applied to verify the suggested new damage model. A total of 3 identical half-scale reinforced concrete columns were tested under variable amplitude cyclic loading up to the ultimate failure of the specimens. The imposed displacement histories were obtained from analytical simulations of the model column subjected to a series of earthquakes. Test observations indicate that the proposed model predicts 100 percent damage at the ultimate failure state of the element. The proposed damage index model can be extended to other structural elements, such as shear walls, beams, beam-column junctions, etc.