Feb. 22, 2022 – UF Professor Emeritus Charles Richard Conti, M.D., MACC, H.C., F.C.P, an internationally recognized cardiologist whose esteemed career influenced physicians across the world and helped improve the quality of life for countless people through his skillful and compassionate care, has died.
Conti’s honored career as a physician, researcher, teacher, administrator and prolific writer and editor spanned six decades, with nearly 50 years at the UF College of Medicine. He joined the UF faculty in 1974 as a professor of medicine and chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine, a position he served in for 24 years until he stepped down in 1998. His arrival at UF from Johns Hopkins University had an immediate impact on the reputation of the College of the Medicine’s cardiovascular medicine program due to the pioneering randomized clinical trial he brought with him, which was the first of its kind that investigated coronary bypass surgery as a treatment for coronary artery disease. Conti’s expertise in coronary artery disease and his staunch devotion to the professional development of his faculty played a significant role in building the division into one of the leading cardiovascular medicine programs in the nation.
When Conti first arrived at UF, there were four cardiology fellows and six faculty physicians. Today, the division trains 30 fellows and comprises 30 faculty members. His reach in clinical cardiology training extends beyond any other at UF, having been involved with the education of thousands of medical students, residents and cardiology fellows during his career.
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1934, Conti grew up in Bethlehem and graduated from Lehigh University in 1956 and from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1960 as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He trained in internal medicine with the Osler Medical Service of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and completed a fellowship in cardiology at the same institution. Conti’s training was interrupted for two years when he served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1964. He was named chief resident of the Osler Medical Service in 1967, and in 1968, he joined the Johns Hopkins faculty as an assistant professor of medicine, rising to associate professor and medical director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory before leaving for the University of Florida.
His leadership, both nationally and internationally, was unmatched. He served as president of the American College of Cardiology from 1989 to 1990 and was an elected member of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, the Association of University Cardiologists and the Association of Professors in Cardiology. In 1991, Conti received an honorary fellowship from the College of Medicine of South Africa (FCP-SA), and in 1996, he was elected to the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars. He was awarded the Gifted Teacher Award from the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology in 1999 and from the American College of Cardiology in 2002. In June 2000, he received a “Docteur Honoris Causa” from the University of Marseilles, and in 2004, he was named China Honorary Chair of the Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology (GW-ICC), Beijing.