David Gaus, M.D., MPH & TM, Executive Director

Dr. David Gaus, MD, MPH/TM
Founder and Executive Director of Andean Health & Development (AHD)

David Gaus, M.D, MPH/TM is the founder of AHD and has served as its executive director since 1994. Dr. Gaus grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended Notre Dame where he received an accounting degree in 1984. After a soul-searching conversation with then University President Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, Gaus traveled to Ecuador where he spent two years volunteering at an orphanage. There he witnessed the marginalization of a population of mostly women and children who lacked access to even basic health services.

The experience changed Gaus’s life forever. He returned to the United States where, with the assistance of Fr. Hesburgh and columnist Eppie Lederer (“Ann Landers”), Gaus re-enrolled at Notre Dame to complete his pre-med studies and then enrolled in Tulane Medical School.

In 1992, Gaus earned his medical degree and a master’s in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from Tulane. Following a residency at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Gaus returned to Ecuador and soon discovered that rural hospital care was the country’s greatest need. In 1996, Dr. Gaus and Fr. Hesburgh started AHD to provide self-sustaining, comprehensive health care to the rural poor. Their pilot project was a hospital in the underserved community of Pedro Vicente Maldonado (PVM). The hospital opened in 2000, and by 2007, was 100% financially self-sustaining. Hospital PVM provides high quality secondary care to an extended community of 80,000. PVM is also a training ground for physicians, nurses, and other leaders in the local community.

Dr. Gaus’s current project, Hesburgh Hospital in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, continues to expand the reach of AHD. In Santo Domingo, AHD has built a training center that includes a simulation lab contextualized for rural Latin America and will serve as a headquarters for training the region’s public sector physicians. Hesburgh Hospital opened in June 2014 and serves a community of 600,000, of which half live below the poverty line. The hospital is expected to be financially self-sustaining within two years.

Dr. Gaus has published several academic articles and his work has appeared in magazines and newspaper articles. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and three bilingual, bicultural children.


–Gaus D. The Rural Hospital in Ecuador, Health Affairs 28, no. 4 (2009): 1003–1010; 10.1377/hlthaff.28.4.1003 (pdf)
Gaus D., Herrera D., Heisler M., Cline B.L., Richmond J. Making secondary care a primary concern: the rural hospital in Ecuador. Pan American Journal of Public Health. 2008; 23(3):212–7. (pdf)
Gaus DP, Herrera DF, Mantyh WG, Girdhari RP, Kuskowski MA. Quantifying the reduction in nonmedical costs after the introduction of a rural county hospital in Ecuador. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2011;29(6):423–7. (pdf)

–Nathan Davis International Award in Medicine by the American Medical Association, 2014
–Milwaukee Academy of Medicine Humanitarian Award, 2012
–Social Entrepreneur for Latin America Award from Schwab Foundation and the World Economic Forum, 2010
–Social Entrepreneur of 2009, Award from the Notre Dame Entrepreneurship Society
–The Dr. Thomas A. Dooley Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association, 1999
–Spirit of Ignatius Award from Marquette University High School Alumni Association, 1999

–University of Pittsburgh Latin American Social and Public Policy Conference, Keynote Speaker, Feb. 2010
–Role of the District Hospital in Primary Health Care Renewal, Speaker, World Health Organization (WHO) Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nov. 2009
–Health Affairs Briefing: Delivering on Global Health, Washington, DC, June 2009
–The Rural Hospital in the Developing World, Speaker, Gorgas Tropical Medicine Course, Lima, Peru, April 2008
–The Rural Hospital in Ecuador, Symposium Speaker, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Philadelphia, Nov. 2007
–The Global Health Crisis: Forging Solutions, Effecting Change, Panel Member with Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, and Economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN Millennium Project, Notre Dame, Sept. 2006
–Beyond Primary Healthcare in the Developing World, Grand Rounds Speaker St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee, Sept. 2006
–Commencement Speaker, Loyola University School of Medicine, Chicago, June 2004

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Andean Health & Development
UW Department of Family Medicine
1100 Delaplaine Ct.
Madison, WI 53715
Email: info@andeanhealth.org  Phone: (619) 788-6833