By Alexis Bajalia
Go ahead and call Jamie Conti a daddy’s girl, she won’t mind. In fact, she’s quite proud of it.
Conti, M.D., FACC, FHRS, is chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine at UF Health Shands Hospital – the same position her father, C. Richard Conti, M.D., MACC, H.C., F.C.P., held at the hospital for 24 years.
“I worked for my dad for many years,” said Jamie, 56, who has been practicing medicine for more than 20 years. “Now, he says he works for me.”
After serving on the cardiology faculty at The Johns Hopkins University as medical director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory and an associate professor of medicine, Richard came to UF in 1974 and played a significant role in building the division of cardiovascular medicine into what it is today — one of the leading cardiovascular programs in the nation.
“When faculty members need advice or assistance, my dad is an incredible resource because he’s seen it all,” Jamie said.
Next year, Richard, 82, will have practiced medicine for 50 years, but he said he isn’t ready to say goodbye to the medical field quite yet. He still comes to work six months out of every year to assist with patient management and teach fellows and trainees in cardiology.
“I genuinely enjoy what I do,” he said.
Jamie said her dad’s dedication to the medical profession influenced her decision to attend medical school at the University of Florida and helped lead her to where she is today.
“When she first went off to college, I’m not sure what she wanted to do,” her father said with a laugh.
It wasn’t until late in her undergraduate career that Jamie decided to go into medicine.
“I went to talk to my dad who told me, ‘You need to do what’s right for you, but for me, this has been an incredibly rewarding career.’ He was right, and I’ve always been grateful for his advice.’”
Now in an office next door to her father’s, Jamie’s position as division chief of cardiovascular medicine comes with many responsibilities, including making sure faculty members and medical professionals are in the right positions, satisfied with their jobs and positioned for success at the regional, national and international levels.
“As chief, you work for the rest of the faculty. They don’t work for you,” Richard said.
Jamie’s newest challenge is working on the soon-to-open UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital. Officials anticipate the hospital, which is currently under construction on Archer Road just east of the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital, will open for patients in December.
“Our division is growing rapidly,” she said. “Making sure everybody is included in that growth and able to contribute to it in a meaningful way is a little bit of a trick because there are a lot of people and a lot of moving parts. But it is such an exciting time for the cardiovascular division.”
Richard said times have changed since he was chief of the division, and his daughter has more on her plate than he ever did.
“What I like about my job is that I don’t have to do hers,” he joked.
Jamie, who is an identical twin, has two 20-year-old twins of her own. When they can, the Conti family enjoys vacationing together.
“We’re a really tight-knit family,” Jamie said. “And that translates into our work, too.”