We had the good fortune of connecting with Tammy Baghdassarian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tammy, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
Valuing performance and resume over commitment and drive. Keystone is extremely lucky to have employees and contractors that believe in our mission and goals. When I interview a potential new hire, while I of course take experience into consideration, I put greater weight into considering whether this person will be a good fit for our team, if they are open to learning and pushing back on perceived boundaries, what their long term goals are, and how those align with the company. Staff retention and happiness is vital to not only creates a warm, stable environment conducive to therapy, but also to our business succeeding. I’d much rather hire someone that’s motivated to learn and can grow with us, rather than hiring someone based solely on their resume.
What should our readers know about your business?
Keystone Treatment specializes in eating disorder and mental health treatment for adult women and men. We provide flexible options for our clients so that they can remain in their normal lives as much as possible. We offer Day Treatment, Intensive Outpatient, and traditional outpatient options. We keep our groups small, no more than 6 in a given group so that we can really individualize our care. Keystone is very excited to also expand our offerings to include an adolescent IOP, allowing us to help individuals early on and stop the cycle right away. There are many different ways we can customize our clients care so that it fits into their lives. We’ve found that clients do much better when treatment fits into their lives rather than taking over. Ultimately, not one client has had the exact same program as another. We strive to have really customized care, including individual therapy, family therapy, dietitian, psychiatrist, and your primary care doctor. We also offer phone coaching, so when clients are not on site, they are able to call their therapist for skills coaching. This helps them generalize the skills they are learning in program and actually apply it to their every day life. We focus on intuitive eating and Health At Every Size, which is incredibly unique for eating disorder programs. Instead of telling clients what to eat, we teach them how to connect with their hunger/fullness, become comfortable eating everything in moderation, and eat mindfully. Most importantly, we do not see size as an indicator of health, and that alone is a profound concept for many of our clients. Ultimately, our “brand” is one deeply rooted in offering evidence based, individualized care. While we have certainly experienced growing pains and have had to constantly adapt, I feel incredibly lucky to have a team of dedicated individuals and clinicians that are on this journey with us. There will always be challenges, and luckily I thrive under pressure. The biggest lesson I have learned is to constantly push to myself to adapt, think outside of the box, and to motivate those working with us to do the same. I’m excited that more and more professionals have adopted Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating. The idea that your size determines every aspect of your life including health is incredibly harmful and I am optimistic that the tides are turning, at least in the treatment field. I look forward to more progress in this regard in the medical field. Doctors need to stop making assumptions about an individuals health based on size. The Body Mass Index is increasingly archaic, and I look forward to the day medical providers recognize how detrimental it truly is to not only rapport, but patient outcomes. My cousins have baby girls. I feel driven to help make the world they grow up in better; where they feel safe, secure, and confident in their bodies and food choices regardless of size and appearance.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I’m a firm believer that sitting and looking at the ocean puts everything into perspective. In LA, we are lucky enough to live by some of the best beaches! A trip to Malibu for dinner at Moonshadows right on the water is a must. I think dining out should be an experience; restaurants like Baltaire and Pizzana in Brentwood, Le Petit Paris in Downtown LA, Black Market Liquor Bar and Kiwami in Studio City, and Catch LA in West Hollywood would all make the list. My favorite fast casual place is Tocaya Organica. I could eat there every day (and I have)! Places like Olvera Street and Old Town Pasadena offer not only immersive cultural experiences but also more amazing food!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am where I am now due to countless people that I have been lucky enough to cross paths with. Dr. Patricia Pitts saw something in me fresh out of college. She exposed me to all aspects of the business and I owe most of what I know to her out of the box thinking and impenetrable work ethic. The people I met while working at The Bella Vita are some of the best clinicians in the field, and we are lucky to have a lot of them now working at Keystone! The experience I got working with trailblazers in the field is something I will forever be grateful for. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have the most supportive and close knit support system. My parents raised me to be strong and independent, to never question myself or my capabilities based on gender or societal norms. My siblings constantly push me to be a better person and boss, they are my biggest cheerleaders. My cousins, friends, aunts, and uncles have always been the first to volunteer to help, offer words of support, and check in on me daily. My best friend and her experiences laid the foundation for our program. We wanted to create a program that treats everyone as individuals and caters to their specific needs. She offers not only a unique perspective in treatment, but one that pushes me to constantly think about how we can push the boundaries of “treatment as usual” further. Critically, my business partners believed in me, trusted me, and pushed me to take a leap of faith on a dream that they believed in. They trusted me and my vision completely, and through them I began to trust myself. Without them, Keystone Treatment would not be able to provide the life saving services we do.
Other: Breaking the Chains Foundation Advisory Board: https://breakingthechainsfoundation.org/members/
Photo Credit: Frederick H. Balian