Jacko named IHI lead faculty

The professor is on administrative leave and is being investigated for “double dipping” at the University and Georgia Tech.

Embattled University professor Julie Jacko has been named lead faculty at the University’s Institute for Health Informatics .

The announcement comes during the middle of an investigation of Jacko and her husband, fellow faculty member Francois Sainfort.

Frank Cerra, senior vice president of health sciences , said his decision to appoint Jacko lead faculty stemmed from a need to have a qualified faculty member create curriculum at the IHI.

“I think people will think what they want to think,” Cerra said, in response to possible criticisms of appointing someone who is under investigation.

The investigation of the duo by the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia is still ongoing, according to an office spokesman, and findings are expected to be released this fall. The University is performing its own investigation.

The two were accused in April of working both at the University and at Georgia Tech at the same time – a violation of University policy . Jacko is on administrative leave from her position as IHI director.

The lead faculty position entails designing courses and educational materials for students, Cerra said.

Cerra said he notified faculty of his decision in an e-mail July 21. When asked when he made the decision, Cerra said it was “around” the date he sent the e-mail.

The e-mail, which was acquired by the Daily, read in part, “I have asked Prof Julie Jacko to serve as lead faculty for the Institute for Health Informatics.”

However, both University spokesman Dan Wolter and Academic Health Center spokeswoman Molly Portz said Jacko was originally hired to perform those duties.

Cerra’s e-mail was only clarifying Jacko’s duties and wasn’t an announcement of a new post, they said.

“Cerra’s message was a clarification to faculty who were wondering if she was no longer in this role because of the investigation,” Wolter said in an e-mail.

Additionally, Mary Koppel, assistant vice president for public affairs in the AHC , described the e-mail as a “nuance” that represented Cerra giving Jacko the go-ahead to start performing duties for the faculty lead position she was initially hired for.

A job description detailing what Jacko’s duties would be upon being hired in 2007 was not provided by the AHC, after multiple requests for the document.

Both Jacko and other informatics professors did not return requests for comment on the topic.