Dr. David Gaus grew up in Milwaukee, WI and attended Notre Dame where he received a BA in Accounting in 1984. After a soul-searching conversation with then University President, Theodore M. Hesburgh, David traveled to Quito, Ecuador where he spent two years volunteering at “The Working Boys Center.” In Ecuador, he witnessed the marginalization of a population of mostly women and children who, he would later learn, 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 his friend, the famous columnist, Eppie Lederer, better known as “Ann Landers”, David re-enrolled at Notre Dame to complete his studies in pre-med and then enrolled in Tulane Medical School.
In 1992, David earned his M.D. and his Master’s in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from Tulane University. He then completed his residency at the University of Wisconsin Family Practice Residency Training, St. Luke’s Hospital.
He returned to Ecuador thinking that primary health care — prevention and health education — was the country’s greatest need. Soon after his arrival into the countryside, he was struck when a child named Alfredo died in his truck on a four-hour trip to Quito to get treatment for a snake bite. He realized then what the community had been telling him all along: We need a hospital!
In 1996, David and Fr. Hesburgh started Andean Health & Development (AHD) to provide self-sustainable, comprehensive health care in poor, rural areas of Latin America. Their pilot project was to build a hospital in the rural community of Pedro Vicente Maldonado (PVM). It opened in 2000, and in 2007, the hospital was 100% financially self-sustainable.
Dr. Gaus is the founder of Andean Health and Development and has served as its Executive Director from 1994 to the present. He is also Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin.
Gaus lives in Madison, WI with his wife, Elizabeth, and his three bilingual, bicultural children.