Donor Story: Bob and Joan Huntley

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Dr. Joan Huntley supports an annual visiting professorship in memory of her husband, Dr. Robert Huntley. “The Huntley Lecture and visiting professorship represent everything Bob believed in – continuous learning and innovation in primary care. I am thrilled to honor his memory this way.”

"It has been a joy to work with Joan over the years. Her contribution in honor of Bob has helped medical learners, who are now all over the country, impact how they practice and often teach family medicine. We are grateful for her counsel and commitment to Family Medicine."

Dr. Warren Newton

Every time Joan talks about her husband, Bob, you can hear the love, affection and respect she has for him. Their marriage was special, full of shared moments and meaningful conversations. It is that mutual commitment to lifelong learning that inspired Joan and will forever impact UNC Family Medicine.

Through his personal experiences and his work, Dr. Robert R. Huntley developed a passion for promoting primary care. He was ahead of his time and worked tirelessly to ensure people of all communities – large and small - had access to high quality primary care. He knew first-hand the impact robust family medicine could have on people’s lives. When Bob and Joan retired in Chapel Hill in 1990, they talked a lot about how they wanted to support the local community and the UNC School of Medicine, in particular, the Department of Family Medicine, which had a growing national reputation.

Huntleys2Bob died in 2002, but Joan remembered their conversations. She wanted to honor Bob’s passion and approached UNC with her desire to make a gift to support Family Medicine in his memory using a combination of an annual gift and a gift through her will. “I loved the idea of establishing a 3-day visiting professorship. Over the years, it has grown into something far more beneficial to the department and to the primary care community than just a lecture. I am pleased about that,” Joan remarked.

Joan, who has her doctorate in epidemiology, understood that a visiting professorship would allow UNC Family Medicine to host an expert or innovator in an area of primary care for several days. The expert would help advance the mission of the department, encourage collaboration, enhance the learning experience of faculty, students, fellows and residents and spark new ideas. Since its inception the intense four days of the visiting professorship has allowed the sharing of innovative lessons and catalyzed ideas. The visiting professor also gives a keynote lecture for the public, often incorporating what he or she has learned at UNC.

Joan works side by side with Dr. Warren Newton, Chair of UNC’s Department of Family Medicine, to design a lecture every year that is appealing, provocative and timely.