Dr. David Gaus is the founder of AHD and has served as its Chief Executive Officer since 1994.

David 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, David 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.

David’s life had changed forever. He returned to the U.S. where, with the assistance of Fr. Hesburgh and the famous columnist Ann Landers, David re-enrolled at Notre Dame to complete his pre-med studies and then enrolled in Tulane Medical School.

In 1992, David earned his M.D. and Master’s in Public Health & Tropical Medicine from Tulane. Following a residency at the University of Wisconsin, he returned to Ecuador and soon discovered that rural hospital care was the country’s greatest need. In 1996, David 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 financially self-sustaining. Hospital PVM provides high quality care to an extended community of 80,000 and is a training ground for physicians and other leaders in the local community.

David Gaus and AHD have now expanded this successful hospital and training model to another community in Ecuador, called Santo Domingo. David and his family live in Quito, Ecuador.

Awards

  • Global Humanitarian Award by the American College of Radiology, 2017
  • Humanitarian Award by the American Academy of Family Physicians, 2016
  • Nathan Davis International Award in Medicine by the American Medical Association, 2014
  • Social Entrepreneur for Latin America by the World Economic Forum, 2010
  • Thomas A. Dooley Award by the University of Notre Dame, 1999

News

Fall 2018 News

Many considered financial self-sustainability for a poor rural hospital an impossibility, but our first hospital in Pedro Vicente Maldonado (PVM) achieved that goal in 2007. It certainly wasn’t easy. We experimented with all sorts of revenue generating ideas to keep the hospital running, and most failed. One combination of financing mechanisms finally did work: a public-private partnership with Ecuador’s national social security system. Social security pays us for the patients in their system, and we charge other patients who are able to pay very reasonable prices. Although that public relationship has many challenges, it catalyzed our successful journey to 100% financial self-sustainability. To this day...

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