David P. Gaus, MD, MPH, Receives National Honor From American Academy of Family Physicians

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016

Stephanie Wilken
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 6053
(913) 302-4769 (Sept. 21–24)

ORLANDO -- David P. Gaus, MD, MPH, founder and director of Andean Health & Development in Ecuador, was awarded the 2016 Humanitarian Award by the American Academy of Family Physicians at its annual meeting.

The Humanitarian Award honors extraordinary and enduring humanitarian efforts by AAFP members, both within and beyond the borders of the United States.

The mission of AHD is to provide quality, sustainable health care for rural Latin America. It is based at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Gaus spends part of the year.

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in accounting at the University of Notre Dame, Gaus traveled to Ecuador where he spent two years volunteering at an orphanage. The experience was life changing and led him to medical school, followed by residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He returned to Ecuador and soon discovered that rural hospital care was the country’s greatest need.

Working with Father Theodore Hesburgh, former president of Notre Dame, Gaus founded AHD in 1997. Their pilot project was a hospital in the underserved community of Pedro Vicente Maldonado. It opened in 2000 and by 2007 was financially self-sustaining.

The hospital provides high quality secondary care to an extended community of 80,000 and also serves as a training ground for physicians, nurses and other leaders in the local community.

Gaus’s current project, Hesburgh Hospital in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, continues to expand the reach of AHD. The hospital opened in June 2014 and serves a community of 600,000.

A quarter of that population lives on less than $4.00 a day. The hospital is expected to be financially self-sustaining within two years and will serve as a headquarters for the region’s public sector physicians.

Gaus has written numerous articles and lectured regionally, nationally, and internationally on the topic of rural health care in Latin America.

Gaus earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame and his medical degree from Tulane Medical School. He completed his family medicine residency at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.


Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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