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Gwinnett Dermatology Celebrates 40 Years

In the late 1970s, 80s, and into the 90s, Gwinnett County went through incredible growth. Businesses of all kinds flooded into the area. There have been many who have not made it for various reasons, especially with the ebb and flow of economic factors. A few, however, have flourished through the decades since the initial boom. Gwinnett Dermatology is one of those long-standing pillars in the fabric of Gwinnett County. This year, they celebrate a significant 40th anniversary!

Standing L-R: Dr. Keith Wright, Dr. Kirk Saddler, Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Dr. Joel Shavin;  Seated L-R: Dr. Alia Brown, Dr. Jessica Mercer.

Dr. Shavin, the senior physician at Gwinnett Dermatology, graduated from Emory University School of Medicine in 1969 and completed a 3-year residency in pediatrics. He achieved board certification and started Northlake Pediatrics in Tucker. After practicing there for 3 1/2 years, in 1976 with the unwavering support of his wife, Brenda, he decided to change his specialty to dermatology. With two small children and a new home, this was no small undertaking. Shavin completed a dermatology residency at the Medical College of Georgia in 1978. At that time, a group of doctors just starting their careers had the vision to build a robust medical community. They asked Dr. Shavin to join them. He accepted, excited about their concept. Now, 40 years later, it feels as though that excitement and community vision is still alive in the ever-growing practice.

Gwinnett Dermatology has migrated a few times over its 40 years. In July of 1978, they shared a tiny office space in the old Snellville Plaza. There were only five waiting chairs and two exam rooms at the time. Then in 1981, they moved the office to Fountain Drive. In 1988, growth mandated a move to a larger office on Lenora Church Rd. In 1991, significant expansion prompted Dr. Shavin to add a partner, Dr. Jonathan Weiss. Continued growth in 1998 led to the addition of Dr. Keith Wright, a Mohs Micrographic Surgeon, specializing in the advanced treatment of skin cancers. This growth necessitated the move to the current building on Pate Street in the heart of downtown Snellville in 1999.

With a growing patient population, the practice needed additional providers. Dr. Kirk Saddler joined the group in 2003 and helped the medical practice expand first to Loganville then to Braselton. Gwinnett Dermatology welcomed Dr. Alia Brown in 2010 bringing her cosmetic fellowship expertise. The Physician group grew in 2014 with the addition of Dr. Jessica Mercer, a board-certified dermatopathologist, and clinical dermatologist. Gwinnett Dermatology continues to meet an expanding patient base with a group of highly trained mid-level providers: Physician Assistants Jennifer Sissom, Courtney Renner Davis, Devon Pattillo, and Amy Goodman as well as Nurse Practitioner Brittany Dupree.

Often it is difficult to pinpoint what sets apart a great office environment from those who struggle. Sometimes it boils down to un-quantifiable, unpredictable chemistry within a group. Undoubtedly Gwinnett Dermatology has a work environment that employees enjoy and that filters down to the patient experience as well. There is another more quantifiable aspect that gives this group of physicians an advantage. As Dr. Shavin reflects, “I think what sets us apart from other dermatology groups is the caliber of well-trained physicians we have. Every single doctor in our group was chief resident during their training.” That means they were each picked as the best in their respective class to over-see their peers during their medical training. They were not only the top of their class but also accumulated real-life experience leading a team. This school experience led to continuing a team-focused dermatology practice. “We stimulate each other, share information, and call on each other when we have a tough case. We call on the collective experience of the entire team to make sure we suggest the best treatment,” Shavin explains.

Gwinnett Dermatology received a Proclamation from the City of Snellville which was presented by Snellville Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender. Picture (L-R) Dr. Keith Wright, Snellville Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender, Dr. Joel ShavinGwinnett Dermatology received a Proclamation from the City of Snellville which was presented by Snellville Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender. Picture (L-R) Dr. Keith Wright, Snellville Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender, Dr. Joel ShavinWith these impeccable physicians, you also get full-service dermatology: cosmetic, medical, surgical, and pathology. Aesthetics at Gwinnett Dermatology, done to the highest standards under medical supervision, started before the move to the current space. Aesthetics at Gwinnett Dermatology began exponential growth about 18 years ago with the addition of Valorie English, the coordinator for this segment of the practice. Cosmetic, in turn, took flight when Dr. Brown joined the team of physicians.

Dr. Shavin also spearheaded the Gwinnett Clinical Research Center in 1981. Dr. Weiss joined the Research center in 1991; together they have conducted hundreds of clinical trials on a multitude of medical and aesthetic dermatological therapies.

Gwinnett Dermatology is the premier place to go for all of your dermatological needs in our county and even beyond. While they are are a powerhouse in what they can offer, including multiple locations, each patient still gets personal care, just as when Dr. Shavin started his solo practice. In fact, Dr. Shavin’s wife, Brenda, served as the office book-keeper for 30 years. Gwinnett Dermatology cannot overlook her role in the practice’s growth. She retired ten years ago to focus on playing bridge (with the proud achievement of Life Master status under her belt), and the more critical role of spoiling her two granddaughters. Dr. Shavin not only pours praises of his wife for when she selflessly supported his path back to med school to pursue dermatology all those years ago. He also credits her with all success—professionally and personally. Arguably, over the tenure of Gwinnett Dermatology, that supportive relationship between Brenda and Dr. Shavin acts as an example and standard for kind interaction throughout the practice. It keeps a personal feel even as the medical practice continues to grow and expand after 40 beautiful years.

For more information, a list of services, or to make an appointment, please visit or call (770) 972-4845.