Lynette and Bob Gay

“We think things are intractable only to the extent that we’re not willing to put forth our money, our entrepreneurship and our hearts.” - Social entrepreneurs, Lynette and Robert Gay


Bob: When you look at West Africa, in general, these are societies that have suffered untold years of slavery, tropical disease, and civil war. And they're all interrelated, and they all end in disease.

Lynette: You can dump all the community programs and all the government programs you want into a village or community, but if you can't get into the home where it's taught and modeled and practiced every day, it's not going to be ingrained.

Bob: Prevention will save untold lives here, untold lives. And so these workers have a chance to not be the curers, but the preventers. And save many more lives than just the one person walking into the hospital already sick. We'll prevent the people from every becoming sick by teaching the proper habits, disciplines, and routines. And that's why a public school of health was so needed here.

We've lived here in Ghana as missionaries. And every day we've had to deal with sickness and preventable sickness from cholera and malaria. And literally we've had young people, you know, 26 years old die of heart attacks. And this is all preventable by diet, by basic . . . taking basic medications to prevent . . .

Lynette: Prevention.

Bob: And it's just incomprehensible to us having lived and seen it when it doesn't need to be. So hopefully, we can help things that don't need to be any longer not be.

I couldn't even tell you how ingrained it is into the culture when people get sick and they die. That it's always God's will. Because that is the only way they have to justify what's happening in their life. And that the culture we would become is that it's not God's will. And that we can prevent this, and that there is an educated younger generation that is beginning to move forward and teach people how to live and not how to die.

Lynette: And the local healthcare workers really are the key, because they can teach the basics that any family should know about the pathology of the disease. It's not a death sentence.

Bob: We think things are intractable only to the extent that we're not willing to put forth our money and our entrepreneurship as well as our hearts in the humanitarian efforts which we believe. In that case, there's no limit to the solutions.

The name Ensign is to be a standard bearer, a light. And our fondest dream is this will be a light to all the world. And that not only do we bring educational programs, but we bring the connectivity worldwide.

I'm an alumnus of University of Utah, and it was the president of the University of Utah that wrote my recommendation letter, that got me into my graduate school. And I have a deep love for the University of Utah. We have served on the National Advisory Board, served on the Business School Board, served in different areas. And we want to also, through this, not only want a partnership with the University of Utah, but we want to give back to the University of Utah and help it even have a broader name. Not be thought of in any way as some regional school in Utah, but a global force.

Lynette: I really do see it as a proving ground, if you will, a staging center. An area where many different partnerships can come together. You can't come to Africa without your heart being changed.