History of Ensign

Ensign College of Public Health is a result of love. It represents great hopes and a willingness to invest time and resources. It has become an unfolding dream backed by the determination of multiple partners and donors.
Bob and I have been involved with West Africa for more than a decade. We love and respect its people; we want to help them. My work with rural medical clinics and their valiant healthcare workers focused my attention on public health. My heart aches for children who are sick and unhealthy and the mothers who care for them. I am a mother of seven children, I know what mothers feel. I know something about the problems of West Africa.

The flow of medical supplies and technical assistance to West Africa is helping. However this flow of assistance is like providing food for the hungry. It is kind and deeply needed, but the long-term solution can only be to teach the hungry how to grow their own food. Dependency is a stopgap, not a self-sustaining solution.

Bob and I have come to believe that public health education in West Africa is a significant component of the long-term solution. Improved public health practices would result. Ultimately there would be less need for the immediate and critical aid that is so kindly being supplied. Healthy children, healthy families and healthy communities would become the norm rather than the exception.

In 2011, Bob and I began planning how we could bring together different groups and resources to establish a world class school of public health in Ghana. We were fortunate to find a Ghanaian partner and mentor in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

The University of Utah School of Public Health joined the effort and is an invaluable partner. All funds that built Ensign College were donated by those who share our desire to raise the standard of healthcare in West Africa. No one, not one person, will profit from the building of the school. Every penny made will go directly to Ensign College and will be used for scholarship, research and community-engaged development. Our sole aim is to improve the quality of life among West Africans through scholarship that will lead to a more robust healthcare system and improved practices.

Ensign College is situated on a beautiful piece of land adjacent to the Volta River. The College was designed to be not only aesthetically pleasing, but to house learning spaces that blend the highest standards of technology and scholarship. In this setting we hope to instill in our students honesty, integrity and accountability. We want to develop leadership, a deep commitment to public health and the skills to meet that commitment.

Our desire is that our graduates to stay in Africa and raise the level of health and life in their communities. We would hope Ensign College graduates would develop a personal desire to give back to the people of West Africa; to become leaders in their communities.
The future of Ensign College is vast and exciting. There are countless opportunities for research, healthcare development and community engagement. It is our hope that Ensign College will be a gathering place for those committed to public health and the people of West Africa.
I have a dream of a future where the parents and children of West Africa are healthy and strong, where there are hundreds of trained and committed public health professionals and where communities with excellent public health practices are the norm rather than the exception. Sincerely,

Lynette Gay
Chair, Board of Governors.