Obituary: One-health advocate, public health leader dies
Dr. Lisa A. Conti, director of strategic initiatives and the first chief science officer at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, died on Nov. 6, 2020. She was 57.
Dr. Conti spent years contributing to the national and international one-health movement.
“Dr. Conti’s selfless contributions to science and those around her, both personally and professionally, are immeasurable,” said Nicole “Nikki” Fried, the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in a statement from the department.
Dr. Conti co-wrote and co-edited “Human-Animal Medicine: Clinical Approaches to Zoonoses, Toxicants, and Other Shared Health Risks,” which was first published in 2010. She served on the National Institute of Health’s National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council, was a member of the One Health Initiative’s autonomous pro bono team, and was a founding member of the Florida Rabies Control and Prevention Advisory Committee. She was an executive board member of the Florida VMA and established and chaired the FVMA’s One Health Committee for 18 years. She also served on the former AVMA Council on Public Relations.
After earning her veterinary degree in 1988 from the University of Florida, Dr. Conti joined the Florida Department of Health the same year, first with the HIV/AIDS surveillance section and then as state veterinarian. Later, she was promoted to division director of environmental health.
Dr. Conti founded the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers’ State Environmental Health Directors group to work on public health issues. After 23 years at FDOH, she went to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. As chief science officer, she was particularly interested in agricultural innovation to produce products with minimal environmental footprint.
Dr. Conti received multiple awards during her life, including the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society’s Karl F. Meyer–James H. Steele Gold Headed Cane Award, the Florida Public Health Woman of the Year Award, and the AVMA Public Service Award.
She earned her master’s in public health from the University of South Florida. She was board certified in preventive medicine through the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Conti is survived by her husband, Thomas Seal, and their son and a brother.
A fund in her name at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is accepting donations.