NDCAN Lecture Series: David Gaus


Location: Jordan Hall of Science, Auditorium 105

David Gaus, M.D., MPH/TM, Founder & CEO of Andean Health & Development                

Title:  “Long Road from Quito: Reflections on Global Health from Ecuador”

David Gaus, Founder and CEO of Andean Health & Development, earned an accounting degree from the University of Notre Dame ‘84. Gaus will share his story of how Fr. Hesburgh played a role in this accounting major landing in Ecuador and later founding Andean Health & Development.

Dr. Gaus grew up in Milwaukee and earned an accounting degree from the University of Notre Dame ‘84. 

David Gaus With Patient And Residents Copy

“How…the accounting major landed in Ecuador in the first place is a story in which Fr. Theodore “Ted” Hesburgh, Notre Dame’s president, played a central role. When Gaus confessed ambivalence over a future spent poring over numbers in his home state of Wisconsin, Hesburgh’s recommendation that David work with street kids in Quito fueled a fierce determination to return to Ecuador as a physician. How David accomplished this is a story as improbable as it is intriguing. As are specific events in Gaus’s life: meeting his Ecuadorian wife Elizabeth; bringing her to Wisconsin; having children; returning to Ecuador as a family after David completed medical school and tropical medicine training, and a family medicine residency [University of Wisconsin]; and, finally, in 1998, creating the nonprofit Andean Health and Development (AHD) with Hesburgh as its founding chair.

AHD opened Hospital PVM in 2000, and later created the larger Hospital Hesburgh in heavily populated Santo Domingo, in both cases achieving financial sustainability through innovative local partnerships and 21st-century management practices. In addition, both hospitals and their outpatient clinics are entirely staffed by Ecuadorians. Having already trained 76 residents, the two hospitals also embody two further pillars of AHD’s mission: training Ecuador’s rural health leaders of the future and conducting high-quality, relevant research. Accordingly, the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and Ecuador’s Ministry of Health recently recognized AHD for having launched a model program of rural health care.”

- Barnett Cline, M.D., MPH, Ph. D., American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene

He is the recipient of Notre Dame’s Tom Dooley Award, the Global Humanitarian Award by the American College of Radiology, the Humanitarian Award by the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Nathan Davis International Award by the American Medical Association, and was named Social Entrepreneur of 2010 by the World Economic Forum. He is the focus of Long Road from Quito, a book written by long-time New Yorker staff writer Tony Hiss.  AHD partners with Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health. More info about AHD can be found at www.andeanhealth.org.

Originally published at harpercancer.nd.edu.