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 co-founder of Andean Health and Development and has served as its Executive Director from 1994 to the present. He is Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Executive Director – Hospital Pedro Vicente Maldonado, Ecuador, Adjunct Professor – Tulane University Dept. of Tropical Medicine, Adjunct Professor – Universidad de San Francisco de Quito, 2000, and Emergency Dept. Staff Physician – St. Luke’s Hospital, Milwaukee.
Gaus has been the focus of articles in Tulane’s Global Health Magazine, Notre Dame Magazine and M Magazine. He wrote an essential article in the Pan American Journal of Public Health entitled “Making secondary care a primary concern.” In 2009, Gaus was published in the Global Health Council’s Health Affairs with, “The Rural Hospital in Ecuador.” He recently presented to the WHO’s conference on the “Role of the District Hospital in Primary Health Care Renewal” in Brazil.
Look for David’s photo in the 2010 World Economic Forum Report in Cartagena, Colombia (pdf). There he won the Social Entrepreneur Award from the Schwab Foundation.
–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)
–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, 1999
–Capovitz Medical Award for Outstanding Senior Student in the Discipline of General Internal Medicine, Tulane Medical School, 1992
–AOA Honor Medical Society – Tulane Medical School, 1991
–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