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Inclusive Programming

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

Center for Discovery is committed to providing care and services consistent with Health at Every Size® (HAES) principles and to create inclusive environments for all patients and staff. The narrative that only one type of person will suffer from an eating disorder is both antiquated and untrue. The fact is, eating disorders affect people of all identities and backgrounds, across spectrums of gender, weight, race, age, economic status, abilities, sexual orientations and lived experiences of marginalization. We acknowledge that eating disorders, and those who experience them, exist within a society structured by histories and institutions of oppression, power and privilege. We know that if we are not actively pursuing inclusion work, we are failing thousands of individuals who will never be diagnosed or will never feel safe to enter treatment.

Center for Discovery is committed to providing treatment, at all levels of care and for all eating disorder diagnoses, that is inclusive of body size, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and all other intersectional identities/experiences. We work towards these goals by providing training to new and existing staff, reviewing existing and new policies to make sure they embrace inclusion work and align with HAES values, and incorporating feedback from patients and community providers. Patients, families and the eating disorder community has an important role in helping us do this work well. Center for Discovery is open to all and any feedback about your experience with us. Staff is here to listen and repair when we make a mistake. If you have questions or would like to learn more, we encourage you to reach out to the CFD Inclusivity Team.

Meet the Inclusivity Team at Center for Discovery

Vaughn Darst, MS, RD (he/they)

Senior Coordinator, Gender Affirmative Care

Vaughn is a transgender registered dietitian who specializes in treating eating disorders among under-served populations. Vaughn received his MS degree in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity from USC, and his BA degree in critical theory and cultural studies, with a concentration in transgender studies, from Scripps College. Vaughn is Center for Discovery’s senior coordinator of Gender Affirmative Care; in this role he serves as a patient advocate and staff consultant on best practices for the holistic treatment of patients who are transgender, nonbinary or exploring gender identity. He seeks to work collaboratively with patients to establish a nourishing and sustainable relationship to food and their body. Vaughn is also a public speaker and body liberation advocate, and his TEDx Talk, “In a World That is Wrong About Us,” addresses the unique concerns of patients for whom disordered eating manifests at the intersection of gender, fatness, food and identity.

Aaron Flores, RD (he/him)

Senior Coordinator, Weight-Inclusive Care

Aaron is a registered dietitian nutritionist based out of Los Angeles. With over 10 years of experience, Aaron has worked with eating disorders in a variety of settings. A large part of his career was spent working at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System where he helped develop and launch one of the first binge eating disorder programs to help veterans struggling with this disorder. Since leaving the VA, Aaron has continued to work in the eating disorder community, helping run groups and providing individual counseling to adolescents and adults. He currently works part-time at Center for Discovery as Senior Coordinator for Weight-Inclusive Care and part-time in his private practice in Calabasas, California. He is a certified Body Trust® provider, and his main areas of focus are Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size®. In his work, Aaron helps individuals learn how to make peace with food and develop body-positive behaviors. His work has been featured during Weight Stigma Awareness Week, in blogs for the National Eating Disorder Information Centre and National Eating Disorder Association. Aaron is a frequent speaker and has presented at the 2016 and 2017 Binge Eating Disorder Awareness Annual Conference, the 2018 and 2019 International Conference on Eating Disorders and the 2018 Association for Size Diversity and Health Conference. Along with his work with eating disorders, he also is a co-host of the podcast, Dietitians Unplugged.

Kaydeese Washington (she/her)

Executive Director, Eating Disorder Outpatient Program, Temecula

Kaydeese is a San Diego native who graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Kaydeese was fascinated with the study of I/O psychology (industrial and occupational psychology), which focuses on how psychology can be used to create a happier and more productive work environment. She has leveraged her past experiences working in customer service and sales to help create a warm, welcoming space for patients and staff. Kaydeese has been with Center for Discovery since 2019 and enjoys working closely with patients and their families. She strives to make sure that every person who steps through the doors feels safe, welcome and heard. In her free time, Kaydeese enjoys spending time with her husband, three boys and her youngest daughter. Kaydeese is also a movie aficionado and will never pass up an opportunity to cuddle up on the couch and get lost in an amazing plot.

Jennifer Pierce, LMFT, LPCC (she/her)

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Jennifer is a licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed professional clinical counselor. She is also working towards certification as an eating disorder specialist. Jennifer practices from a person-centered and relational-cultural approach, incorporating dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), and started working as a milieu counselor with Center for Discovery in the mental health division in 2014. In 2015, Jennifer returned to CSUF to complete her Master of Science degree in counseling. During her master’s traineeship, she worked in a non-profit mental health agency providing individual, family and group therapy for the LGBTQIA community. She is passionate about working with adolescents and diverse communities and has made a commitment to advocating for mental health and human rights. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family and her cats, reading, watching documentaries and listening to music.

Educational Resources

Things to check out online:

Books we recommend:

Heavy by Kiese Laymon Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison
Binge Eating Disorder: The Journey to Recovery and Beyond | Amy Pershing and Chevese Turner Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia | Sabrina Strings
The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love | Sonya Renee Taylor Fat Girls in Black Bodies: Creating Communities of Our Own | Joy Arlene Renee Cox, PhD
Radical Belonging: How to Survive and Thrive in an Unjust World (While Transforming It for the Better) | Lindo Bacon Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight | Lindo Bacon and Lucy Aphramor
A Clinician’s Guide to Gender-Affirming Care: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients | Sand Chang, PhD, lore m. dickey, PhD, and Anneliese A. Singh, PhD

Want to connect with the Inclusivity Team?

Health At Every Size and HAES are registered trademarks of the Association for Size Diversity and Health and used with permission.
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