AAFP Names Top Family Physician Advocates

Six family physicians honored for outstanding contributions to Family Medicine

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 6052

WASHINGTON — The American Academy of Family Physicians announced the recipients of its most prestigious awards this week at its annual meeting. Six family physicians from across the nation were recognized for their outstanding contributions to family medicine and the health of the public.

Each of these awards recognize family physicians who have made exceptional advances in furthering the health of their communities through service and education.

• Oscar F. Lovelace, Jr., MD, of Columbia, South Carolina, was named the national 2015 Family Physician of the Year. The award honors one outstanding family physician who provides patients with compassionate, comprehensive care, and serves as a role model in his or her community, to other health professionals, and to residents and medical students.

Lovelace was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. Lovelace has been a practicing family physician for more than 26 years. In 1988, he founded Lovelace Family Medicine in his grandparents’ hometown of Prosperity, South Carolina.

Currently the practice employs 38 staff, including three board certified family physicians, 11 nurses and three nurse practitioners. Lovelace Family Medicine provides 8,000 patients with the full scope of family medicine services for patients of all ages, from obstetrics to geriatrics, as well as office-based and hospital care.

• Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA, a family physician from Arlington, Virginia, was awarded the Public Health Award. The honor recognizes individuals who have made or are making extraordinary contributions to the health of the American public.

Jarris is the executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. He is a former leader of a statewide primary care medical group and a former Vermont Commissioner of Health. Over the course of his career, Jarris has established himself as a powerful advocate for Family Medicine.

As a family physician and a public health leader, Jarris understands the vital role that environment and policy play in the health and wellness of patients. Every day, Jarris couples his experience as a family physician with his understanding of the local, state, federal and business sectors to help shape health policies that protect and improve America’s health.

• Linda A. Walsh, MD, a family physician from Jarrettsville, Maryland, was awarded the AAFP’s Humanitarian Award. The Humanitarian Award honors extraordinary and enduring humanitarian efforts by AAFP members, both within and beyond the borders of the United States.

Walsh is a family physician at Jarrettsville Family Care in Jarrettsville, Maryland. She is the medical director and chair of the Steering Committee for the Dominican Republic Medical Mission. She has been leading annual medical missions to the Dominican Republic since 2003, when local Girl Scouts and members of her church joined forces to do service work in the Dominican Republic. Walsh was one of a group of 20 volunteers and was immediately struck by the immense medical needs of the community and the lack of access to basic health care. She returned the next year with basic medical supplies and a small team to help run medical clinics in churches and schools in the area. They treated 150 patients.

During the years, the team increased in size and scope. In 2014, Walsh’s team held 13 clinics and treated more than 700 patients. They also initiated and oversaw the installation of a water purification system in Esperanza, a Haitian refugee village. Her hope is to reduce ongoing medial issues that stem from contaminated water.

• William Coleman, MD, PhD, a family physician from Huntsville, Alabama, received the John G. Walsh Award. The award honors individuals whose dedication and leadership has furthered the development of family medicine. It recognizes long-term dedication, rather than any single significant contribution.

Coleman is the director of the Office for Family Health, Education and Research at the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus at the University of Alabama. He oversees the Rural Medicine Program, the Project to Recruit Rural Medical Students and the Huntsville Rural Pre-Medical Internship. Coleman serves as president-elect of the Alabama Rural Health Association and is currently chair of the Alabama Academic Family Medicine Council. In 2012, he was inducted into the Alabama Health Care Hall of Fame.

At the AAFP, Coleman has served as a board member, president and board chair. He has also served as the president of the AAFP Foundation.

• David Filipi, MD, MBA, a family physician from Omaha, Nebraska, received the Robert Graham Physician Executive Award. This award is reserved for AAFP members whose executive skills in health care organizations have contributed to excellence in the provision of high quality health care, and demonstrated that family physicians can have an impact on improving the overall health of the nation.

Filipi is vice president and medical director of quality and health care oversight at Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Nebraska in Omaha. During his career as a physician executive, Filipi has been recognized as a clinician, educator, role model and innovative change agent. Filipi has been a champion of the patient-centered medical home model of care and greatly expanded the PCMH program at Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Nebraska.

• Perry Pugno, MD, MPH, a family physician from Prairie Village, Kansas, received the Thomas W. Johnson Award. The award recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions to family medicine education in undergraduate, graduate and continuing education spheres.

Pugno recently retired from the AAFP after 15 years of service. He most recently served as vice president for education, and was responsible for all organizational activities related to medical education and continuing medical education.

Pugno served in the National Health Service Corps in Barstow, California, before he entered the sphere of graduate medical education as a residency program director. In more than 20 years of experience in that role, he worked in programs from California to Connecticut, including public, private and university-sponsored settings.

Editor’s Note: To arrange an interview with any of the award winners, please contact Kristin Pitts at (800) 274-2237, ext. 5221 or kpitts@aafp.org.



# # #

Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Approximately one in five of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is nearly 192 million office visits each year — nearly 66 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org)(www.familydoctor.org).