North Carolina AHEC Program
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Webb Honored for Vision, Values | Futrell Named New Area L AHEC Leader

By Janet Conner - Knox Times Staff Writer

October 25, 2012 - Hundreds of people met under a huge tent, spilling onto the lawn of the Rocky Mount Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Tuesday evening in a celebration to honor the retirement of David M. Webb.

Webb, a Wilson native, is the CEO of The Health Education Foundation of Eastern NC (Area L AHEC).

The program was filled with memories from those who call Webb their friend.

As part of the celebration, the board of trustees of the Health Education Foundation announced they would recognize Webb by naming the Learning Institute building after him in recognition of his service.

Dr. Lindsey E. de Guehery told the group the leadership and patience Webb has shown throughout the decades is an example for others to follow.

“Dr. Webb’s contributions have been greater than we can ever measure,” de Guehery said. “In the future we wish you the best.”

Dr. Thomas J. Bacon, director, NC AHEC Program, also told the group and Webb that his contributions and work will continue to inspire.

“His vision and values, his collaborative style of leadership, and his commitment to quality education have all been key to the success of Area L and to the entire state AHEC system,” said Bacon. “It has been a true pleasure having him as a friend and colleague.”

Elizabeth Leonard, Webb’s secretary, said Webb always insisted on each employee being professional at all times.

She said he also cared about each employee and their families.

Through tears, Debby Futrell, director of Health Education Foundation for Area L AHEC, let the group know how much she will miss Webb.

Futrell said 20 years ago she was apprehensive about working for Webb because she had heard he was a perfectionist.

“But it didn’t take long to realize, all he really expects from his staff and people in general is for them to do their best,” Futrell said. “He has taught anyone who has ever worked with him to set high standards, produce quality work that you can be proud of and do your best work all of the time.”

Futrell thanked Webb and credited him for making her a better pharmacist and person all around.

Webb said he pleaded with the staff not to have the big reception. He said he wanted to leave very quietly. But they insisted, and he gave in and said he was thankful for all the work they put in.

“I say from a very grateful heart that I value your thinking of me and this institution,” Webb said softly.

Webb said the reason for AHEC is so they will have better training for when they see patients in their different practices, in hospitals and clinics in North Carolina.

“North Carolina has the most effective, most well-organized AHEC system in the country,” Webb told the group. “This year we are celebrating 40 years of service to all health professionals in this state.”

Webb said this AHEC was one of the first in the country.

They serve Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Northhampton and Wilson counties.

The mission of the North Carolina AHEC Program is to meet the state’s health and health workforce needs by providing educational programs in partnership with academic institutions, health care agencies, and other organizations committed to improving the health of the people of North Carolina.

Before he ended, a humble Webb, voice cracking to hold back tears, said, “I apologize for what I did not do, I hope you will forgive me.”

Futrell said she can’t imagine how he could have worked any harder.


On January 1, 2013, Debby P. Futrell, PharmD, was named as the president & CEO for the Area L Area Health Education Center (AHEC) located in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Area L AHEC is an affiliate of the School of Medicine at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is an associate of the School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Duke University Medical School, and other health science schools in the state. 

The mission of Area L AHEC is to meet the needs of the health care workforce serving Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Northampton, and Wilson counties by providing educational programs and services in partnerships with academic institutions, health care agencies, and other organizations committed to improving the health of the people of North Carolina.

Futrell has been working with the North Carolina AHEC Program for 20 years as a preceptor, clinical pharmacist, director of ORPCE (student training), director of pharmacy education, and most recently as the director of Area L AHEC. She received her doctor of pharmacy degree from Campbell University and completed a residency in ambulatory care at the Medical College of Virginia. She has been working in the Area L AHEC region since completing her residency. Futrell has a strong interest and love for rural health and feels it is very important to prepare all health care professionals to provide quality, cost-effective care to people in our communities. She looks forward to her new leadership role with Area L AHEC. 

Futrell resides in Wilson, North Carolina, with her husband, Jeff, and two daughters, Pearson and Emilee.