Global Ministries Names Director of Global
By Linda Unger*
January 20, 2015—Olusimbo Ige, a public health physician, has
been named by the General Board of Global
Ministries to head its Global Health unit and lead The United Methodist Church’s worldwide health focus.
Dr. Ige is a public health physician with broad experience in Nigeria and working with international health and development organizations.
Photo: Christopher Tricomi
Dr. Ige hails from Nigeria, where she worked with government
health programs at the local, state and national levels. She also served there as
a consultant on infectious diseases with the World
Health Organization, USAID and others,
and as a lecturer in epidemiology at the University
While working with USAID’s malaria-control program in the
southwestern state of Oyo, Dr. Ige helped design, implement and evaluate
programs that proved so effective in the fight against malaria that Oyo was
named the most improved state in malaria-control performance in 2013.
Focus on health
“We are so pleased to have Dr. Ige as our director of Global
Health,” said Thomas
Kemper, general secretary of Global Ministries. “Her experience living and
working in Africa will be beneficial for all our work, and her expertise in
public health program design and implementation will be invaluable.”
Dr. Ige said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to partner
across the continents, not only in Africa but in Asia and Latin America, and
also in the U.S., where we have a strong health initiative.”
She will give leadership not only to the agency’s Global Health
unit but to the worldwide health focus of The United Methodist Church. The
denomination has defined four areas
of ministry focus and tasked Global Ministries with leading that related to
improving global health.
The agency has restructured the Global Health unit to make
it more agile for the task. It moved it from under the umbrella of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR),
which the agency also oversees, and assigned Dr. Ige a seat on the cabinet, or
It also added to the unit responsibility for the Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related
Violence (SPSARV), which supports United Methodists and ecumenical partners
in providing ministries of prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery and
Vocation for healing
Olusimbo Ige grew up “surrounded by books and learning,” she
said, at the University of Ibadan, where both her parents were professors. She ultimately
undertook her medical studies there, and went on to specialize in public
She later pursued a Master’s degree in epidemiology and is
working on another Master’s, in global health leadership, through the
University of Manchester, England.
As director of Global Health, she looks forward, she said, to
being “part of the work all over the world to ensure that people who don’t have
access to the health care they need, who don’t have the information to protect
themselves from departures from health, can, because of the programs we
*Linda Unger is senior
writer for Global Ministries.