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Two for One

Recent Administrative Hires at the Academic Health Center seem, shall we say, problematic...

From the Strib:

Pair collected paychecks from Georgia Tech despite being employed at U of Minnesota

ATLANTA - A husband and wife who brought millions of dollars in grant money to Georgia Tech have been identified as the two professors being investigated for collecting paychecks from the university after already accepting jobs at the University of Minnesota, according to university documents.

The Atlanta-based university turned over the names of Francois Sainfort and Julie Jacko to the Georgia attorney general's office, according to documents The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained through a state Open Records Act request.

An attorney for the couple told The Associated Press on Saturday that Georgia Tech was portraying the situation inaccurately, and that his clients welcome an "objective and professional review" by the attorney general's office.

The documents allege that Sainfort and Jacko double-billed their time to the institution and falsified travel reimbursement forms. So far, the university says it has identified about $100,000 in questionable spending, all from private funding sources.

Martin Goldberg, a Miami-based attorney, represents both Jacko and Sainfort.

"They are bewildered by Georgia Tech's actions this week," Goldberg told the AP. "Georgia Tech's portrayal of the situation raises a whole host of questions about the university's motives, once professors Jacko and Sainfort decided to leave Georgia Tech to join Minnesota."

Georgia Tech has started the tenure revocation process for the pair and the university previously said the state attorney general's office is investigating the case. Sainfort was associate dean of Georgia Tech's engineering college and head of the university's Health Systems Institute. Jacko taught in the school of biomedical engineering.

The two had been working at Georgia Tech since 2000 when they were lured away by the University of Minnesota in October. Georgia Tech has claimed it renewed Sainfort's contract in October and Jacko's contract in January without knowing the pair were employed elsewhere, according to the documents.

University of Minnesota spokeswoman Mary Koppel told the newspaper that the institution is "still trying to learn the facts on this." She said the university was "quite happy" to have recruited the pair, who are considered leaders in health science engineering.

From Dean John Finnegan:
I am delighted to welcome the newest member of the school's leadership team, Dr. François Sainfort, the new head of our Division of Health Policy and Management. Dr. Sainfort comes to us from Georgia Tech, where he was the senior associate dean for interdisciplinary research in the College of Engineering. Dr. Sainfort is joined by his wife, Dr. Julie Jacko, who has appointments at the School of Nursing and the SPH. Dr. Jacko will head the University's new Institute for Health Informatics.

From Dr. Frank Cerra:

“This institute is critical to the University of Minnesota’s commitment to improving health care through more effective and efficient use of health informatics across disciplines,�? said Frank B. Cerra, M.D., senior vice president for Health Sciences. “Dr. Jacko’s extensive experience in this field will be crucial to the success of the center and its ability to facilitate collaboration, propel creativity, and inspire breakthrough discoveries across the schools of the Academic Health Center.�?

Institute For Health Informatics Established

(Dec. 11, 2007) -- Julie A. Jacko, Ph.D., has been named director of the Institute for Health Informatics at the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center. The institute was developed as a new interdisciplinary program to improve the quality and efficiency of health care and clinical research through research and education in health informatics.

More to come on this interesting development.

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