Kidney Transplant Surgeon Dr. David Conti Set to Retire

Dr. David Conti has performed more than 2,200 kidney transplants during his long and distinguished career.

“Most people don’t get to do what I’ve done,” he said, referring to the delicate procedure. “It’s been a privilege, and to see patients overcome their longtime medical issues has been truly rewarding.”

The beloved surgeon will retire at the end of June after 33 years of dedicated service and many academic and administrative positions throughout his career, including director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, chief of the Division of General Surgery, medical director of the Center for Donation and Transplant, program director of the General Surgery Residency Program, and interim chair and vice chair of the Department of Surgery. He is the Neil Lempert Professor of Surgery, named for Neil Lempert, MD, who founded the Kidney Transplant Program in 1969.

“Dr. Conti has had an illustrious career at Albany Med,” said KMarie King, MD, Henry and Sally Schaffer Chair of the Department of Surgery and professor and chief of Surgery. “He has led a successful program in kidney and pancreas transplant with excellent patient outcomes. We celebrate his accomplishments and are grateful for his major contributions to the Department of Surgery and Albany Med.”

The Kidney Transplant Program has consistently ranked among the top-ranking transplant programs in the country for kidney graft survival, meaning the transplanted organ is still functioning. While much of this success can certainly be attributed to the program’s long-time staff and leadership, Dr. Conti has always been quick to credit Albany Med’s multidisciplinary approach to care.

“We wouldn’t have those results without the support of the many specialists who treat kidney recipients before, during and after their transplant,” he said. “It takes a real team effort to do what we do, and it’s that collaborative nature we’ve fostered here that has made us so successful. That’s one of the things I’m most proud of.”

Always an advocate for his patients, Dr. Conti is also proud that, as longtime chair of the New York State Department of Health Transplant Council, his efforts led to national legislation requiring all living organ donors to have a donor advocate.

Jean Colaneri, NP, a nurse clinician in Post-Surgical Services worked alongside Dr. Conti for 24 years when they co-chaired the Transplant Program’s Quality Improvement Team. “His patients were at the center of every decision he made as he sought ways to improve processes in the operating room and transplant unit and participated in clinical trials to improve the side effects of immunosuppressive drugs. We have been so fortunate that a transplant surgeon of his talent has maintained such a long career in this area,” she said. “His work established the continued success of the program and its reputation in the field.”

Among his many other accomplishments, Dr. Conti was elected a member of the prestigious American Surgical Association. He has received several grants from the National Institutes of Health for research activities and has authored or co-authored 100 manuscripts in the surgical literature.

He looks forward to spending his well-deserved retirement enjoying time with his family (including seven grandchildren), playing guitar, and traveling.

Jorge Ortiz, MD, who joined Albany Med in 2020, will serve as interim director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program.