Joined Forces

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Plastic Surgery Products, April 2004
Joined Forces

By Ruth Stroud

two smart, talented, young physicians decide to share offices, staff,
and, occasionally, patients, the enterprise has the potential to be a
launching pad for each of their practices-or an albatross that drags them
down. For aesthetic plastic surgeon Steven Teitelbaum, MD, FACS, and dermatologist
Karyn L. Grossman, MD, their professional partnership over the past 5 years has been an important factor in their success, contributing to their booming clientele, professional advancement,
and personal satisfaction- not to mention the growing media attention
both have enjoyed. However, Teitelbaum acknowledges, the waters have not
always been entirely smooth, nor the rules of the partnership entirely

“It’s a lot like marriage,” Teitelbaum muses. “There are
always issues that are coming up.” It helps that the two maintain
entirely separate finances while sharing certain staff and supplies. And
the primary uniting factor is a shared philosophy of patient care and
office design.

“There’s a tremendous diversity among doctors in their style of practice
and their ethics of practice, the way they talk to patients, treat patients,
and you need to have someone who has a similar attitude,” Teitelbaum
says. Some of that attitude comes from their backgrounds. “We’re
both well-trained. We were both at Harvard, both top-of-our-class kinds
of people, both highly aesthetic in our senses, so we just naturally got
along and wanted to develop the same kind of practice.”

Grossman agrees, adding, “We share a philosophy in the sense that
we both want to offer the best possible thing to our patients at a high
level of detailed thinking in an environment that is soothing and very
caring and nurturing.”

This shared philosophy was particularly important when it came to the ambitious
recent interior renovation of their offices. The two doctors turned to
Barbara Barry-best known for her simple yet elegant home and commercial
interiors. Barry applied that same sensibility to her design of the physicians’
third-floor suite in a modem, concrete-and-glass medical building adjacent
to busy St John’s Hospital and Healthcare Center in Santa Monica. The
office is full of dark wood, muted lighting, and specially designed furniture.
Even the framed diplomas were selected to match the surrounding decor.

“This is an office that neither of us would have been able to afford
on our own,” Teitelbaum explains during a late afternoon interview
in his corner office. He was dressed in his blue scrubs after spending
most of the day in. the operating room, just off the curving hall. A pinstriped
suit dangled from a hanger on the back of the door. “It’s very expensive
to buil