South Carolina Doctor Named 2015 Family Physician of the Year

Oscar F. Lovelace, Jr., MD, earns prestigious national award for dedication to patients and community

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Janelle Davis
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 6253

WASHINGTON—The American Academy of Family Physicians has named Oscar F. Lovelace, Jr., MD, the national 2015 Family Physician of the Year at its annual Assembly. The award honors one outstanding American 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.

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, a small, rural farming community in Newberry County.

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. Practice services include comprehensive wellness and preventive care, prenatal care, acute care, chronic disease management, weight management counseling, a full service laboratory and corporate wellness programs.

Lovelace and his colleagues have hosted more than 200 students and residents from all areas of the country for a four-week elective during which they encounter the challenges and rewards of practicing rural family medicine. The goal of this program is to increase interest in practicing in an underserved area. Many of Lovelace’s former students and physician colleagues have served on medical missions, both at home and abroad.

Lovelace is committed to ensuring that all people, especially the underserved, have access to high quality primary care in a patient-centered medical home. During Lovelace’s second year of solo practice, Newberry County’s only OB-GYN died. This left Lovelace as the only physician in three contiguous rural counties practicing obstetrics, and he delivered more than 220 babies.

In 1992, Lovelace and his colleagues completed training in operative obstetrics to meet this critical unmet need. During the ensuing five years, minority infant mortality dropped by 68 percent during a period when only Lovelace’s team of family physicians were delivering infants at Newberry County Hospital.

In 1993, Lovelace established the Living Water Foundation, a non-profit community development organization. Funded solely by donations and grant money, the Foundation has developed services and educational health programs to honor its mission to improve the quality of life of all people by providing medication assistance to the uninsured, health promotion classes to primary and secondary students, and promoting public health policy. 

Lovelace has advocated for health care reform in South Carolina. From 1993 to 2006, he was instrumental in the development of the state’s Medicaid Physician’s Enhanced Program to help lower costs while improving the quality of care through a patient-centered medical home. Lovelace Family Medicine, one of three initial pilot sites, enrolled 1,100 patients, and the program resulted in an annual savings of more than $1 million - largely because Medicaid patients were given 24/7 access to their usual physician instead of seeking care in costly emergency rooms.

In 2003, Lovelace was appointed by then Governor Mark Sanford to serve as statewide co-chairman of the Health Care Task Force. In 2004, he served on the Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on Aging. Lovelace has served as president of the South Carolina Tobacco Collaborative, which, in 2010, helped coordinate the override of Governor Sanford’s veto in South Carolina’s General Assembly and raised the state’s lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax by 50 cents. Lovelace currently serves on the state’s Obesity Advisory Council.

Lovelace’s role as a family physician extends beyond community service and caring for patients. He currently serves as a clinical assistant professor in the departments of family medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the Medical University of South Carolina. He also serves as associate professor at the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Carolinas Campus.

Lovelace earned his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and completed his family medicine residency at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville. In addition, he completed a fellowship in operative obstetrics at the Medical University of South Carolina. Lovelace is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.  

Editor’s Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Lovelace, please contact Janelle Davis at (800) 274-2237, ext. 5222, or (913) 912-0377. A downloadable photo is available here.(124 KB JPG)


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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 120,900 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 For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website,