Scholars, mentors and partners in good health

Kennestone GME faculty and house staff share a passion for the practice of community medicine. Committed educators skilled in adult learning theory pursue specialties in areas like public health, healthcare administration, epidemiology and healthcare disparities.

“I’ve always loved teaching and it is a humbling honor to be involved in the development of graduate education at WellStar, especially since I was born in Kennestone Hospital.”

~ G. Waldon Garriss III


Val Akopov
Senior Vice President, WellStar Medical Group
As senior vice president of WellStar Medical Group, Dr. Akopov helps oversee one of the largest multi-specialty medical groups in the nation. He earned his M.D. from the Tbilisi State Medical University, USSR. After completing residency training in internal medicine at Emory Affiliated Hospitals, he joined the Emory School of Medicine: Department of Medicine at Grady Memorial hospital. In 1998, he co-founded the Section of Hospital Medicine at Grady, the first academic Hospital Medicine program in a public hospital. Dr. Akopov practiced and taught at Grady from 1997-2003. In 2003, he started Hospital Medicine Service at Emory Crawford Long Hospital (now Emory University Hospital Midtown). In addition to his leadership of WMG, Dr. Akopov serves as Chair of the Board of Managers of WellStar Health Network, WellStar’s Accountable Care Organization. He also serves on the Board of the WellStar Clinical Partners, WellStar’s clinically integrated network. In 2014, Dr. Akopov earned an MBA/MHA from the Robinson School of Business at Georgia State University.
Louis Lovett
Designated Institutional Official
As Dr. Lovett oversees care coordination, patient relations and utilization management. Board certified in Pulmonary Medicine and Internal Medicine, Dr. Lovett is a Fellow the American College of Physicians and the American College of chest Physicians.
Brandi Allen
Executive Director
Brandi Allen is a fellowship trained healthcare administrator, with a passion for community health and health education. Her healthcare experience includes hospital operations, medical education, long term care, primary care and school based healthcare. Brandi joined WellStar in 2016.
Jim Shehy
Institutional Program Manger
Jim Shehy has been formative in the development of the WellStar Graduate Medical Education program. After graduating from law school Jim launched a career in the non-profit sector and served the Boy Scouts of America and Southeast Georgia Health System before joining WellStar in 2012.