Dr. Heisler has served as professor of Medicine at the University of South Dakota since returning home to South Dakota in February 2009. Previously, he served as Medical Director of the Intensive Care Unit at the Sioux Falls VA Health Care System. From 2015 to 2016, he assumed an additional position as Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has served on a number of international and national advisory committees and was the chair AHD’s Advisory Board for 15 years.

Until October 2014, Dr. Heisler was also the associate medical director of the Avera eICU Program – one of the first and currently the largest geographic intensive care unit (ICU) telemedicine program in the United States. It serves 33 hospitals in a six-state area of the Northern Plains. Among his other responsibilities, Dr. Heisler has played a lead role in the on-going quality and outcomes review for the Avera eICU program. In addition to his clinical and teaching responsibilities in critical care medicine, Dr. Heisler is involved in the effort to create the Northern Plains Center for Health and the Environment.

Prior to returning to South Dakota, Dr. Heisler was associate professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta and director of the Emory Division of Hospital Medicine. During his time as director of Hospital Medicine at Emory, he led the effort to create the Hospital Medicine Clinical Outcomes Research Group. He also served as medical director at Emory Eastside Medical Center.

From January 1999 to July 2005, Dr. Heisler held a number of appointments including associate professor of Clinical Medicine, director of the Division of General Medicine, and vicechair for Clinical Affairs of the Department of Medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta. In addition to his academic appointment at MSM, Dr. Heisler served as an attending physician, medical director of the Health Outcomes Research Center, and chief, Medical Service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Dr. Heisler completed his medical degree at George Washington University in 1979 and a residency in Internal Medicine at the Oregon Health Sciences University in 1982. During 1985-1986, Dr. Heisler completed a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at George Washington University. He received a masters in Public Health from Harvard University in 1990.

From 1991 through 1998 Dr. Heisler held adjunct academic appointments at Emory University School of Medicine and the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health with his primary appointment at the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, a UN-sponsored international health group affiliated with the Carter Center in Atlanta. From 1994 through 1998 Dr. Heisler was director of Programs at the Task Force and played a major role in developing the World Bank-funded Global River Blindness Control Program. Dr. Heisler has traveled and worked extensively in Africa and Latin America and, together with his wife Jean, also a physician, has lived for two extended periods in Kenya.

Dr. Heisler has a long list of publications including a chapter in the Williams Textbook of Hospital Medicine and has received various awards including the Sorin Award from the University of Notre Dame in 1990.

Dr. Heisler and his wife have two grown children. He and Jean live on 40 acres that they have returned to native prairie north of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


Book about AHD Launched

A book about the inspiring journey of Dr. David Gaus and Andean Health & Development is now on bookshelves. Long Road from Quito is written by Tony Hiss. Hiss is the author of 13 books and was a staff writer at the New Yorker for 30 years. Since then, he has been a visiting scholar at New York University.


Purchase Long Road from Quito


Check out a review by the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene


Listen to an interview with Dr. David Gaus and author Tony Hiss on Wisconsin Public Radio


“If you are lucky, a few times in life you will come across a person who is able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. It is even rarer still to find in such a leader a genuine sense of humility and a depth of soul that radiates joy and laughter. I know you will enjoy and be inspired by this story of a modern-day man who is as holy as he is innovative, who is as determined as he is fun, and who is both visionary and focused on the set of eyes before him at any given moment.” —Lou Nanni, from the Foreword

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