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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dr. Chacko at the University of Pittsburgh

University of Pitt Appointment

That's an offer letter dated June 1st, 2009 from the provost at the University of Pittsburgh to Dr. Anna Chacko inviting her to be a visiting professor at the university. It's another piece in the evolving puzzle of Dr. Anna Chacko that I've documented here.

There are all sorts of peculiarities in this offer and it leaves a lot of question. Dr. Anna Chacko arrived in Pittsburgh from Butte, Montana in October of 2008 and began working at the Pittsburgh VA. By March of 2009, following a series of complaints from staff an investigative administrative board had removed Dr. Chacko from that position. She was reinstated at the Pittsburgh VA following the intervention of North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller and the head of the VA, General Eric Shinseki. She resumed working in August. By the beginning of October, she was again placed in indefinite leave and terminated the following January.

As such, this offer was made in the middle of all this turmoil. Furthermore, it was made by the Provost himself. Finally, it was backdated to start in the previous October. All of these were questions I raised to the Provost in an email that remains unanswered.

As I've documented previously, the tumultuous tenure of Dr. Anna Chacko at the Pittsburgh VA was immediately preceeded by an equally tumultuous tenure by Dr. Anna Chacko at St. James Hospital in Butte, Montana. There, Dr. Chacko lasted only fourteen months, was named in four lawsuits, and left a radiology department once deep in the black deep in the red.

Prior to that, Dr. Anna Chacko spent about a year at the Boston University Medical Center until she left following complaints of sexual harassment. Before that she spent six years at Lahey Clinic and when she was removed, she infamously had to be carried out SCREAMING

kiss my big Indian Ass

None of these appear to be the qualifications of a visiting professor. Yet, Dr. Anna Chacko wasn't only given that honor but that honor was even backdated. Furthermore, it was given to her by the Provost of the entire university.

At least one radiologist at the Pittsburgh VA also worked on staff at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at the time Dr. Chacko was given this position. Were they consulted by the Provost James Maher? Was anyone at the staff at the Pittsburgh VA?

The only thing I know for sure is that there's a lot more to this story and I welcome anyone with any knowledge to contact me.

Here's the full dossier of Dr. Anna Chacko.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if that is just an academic appointment that more or less goes with the job. The medical school may have been unaware of all the controversy. A chief of radiology would usually have some type of academic appointment. It doesn't pay anything.

mike volpe said...

I don't believe she works for the UPitt system in any other capacity.

If this is innocent the provost is welcome to explain himself and I will update the piece.

I've stated all facts. He hasn't responded to my email and so I don't know why she was appointed. Everything else in this article is 100% accurate.

Anonymous said...

Also of interest: the full professorship would be considered somewhat prestigious but is qualified in 2 ways: 1. Visiting, which means she is not really an insider at the med school and 2. Clinical, which means she isn't considered a heavyweight in academic research. Others familiar with academia may wish to comment.

Also, med schools are notoriously slow in providing academic appointments, which may explain the lag time.

The reason for the appointment was no doubt that the VA is a teaching hospital with med school affiliation. It is only natural that most staff have academic appointments since they are teaching medical students, residents, and fellows who learn under the med school banner.

mike volpe said...

Maybe, like I said, I wanted to know what sort of vetting was done by UPitt prior to the appointment and so far it's unclear that any was done.

Anonymous said...


A nickel and a visiting professorship get you a cup of coffee. You may be searching for meaning that isn't there. Someone at the V.A. makes a list of people who need academic appt.'s, and the med school just rubberstamps it. The med school should be able to confirm this, perhaps in loftier, academic language. They probably aren't answering you because the whole issue is rather mundane. At most, someone glanced at Chacko's C.V. to see if she was a professor somewhere else. There are no academic police to screen out a-holes. You are an idealist to think otherwise. Perhaps a more pertinent issue would be whether the school revoked the appointment on Chacko's firing. Here again, all the school has to do is wait out the clock and not renew.

mike volpe said...

Then, maybe that is the problem.

Anonymous said...

This letter is not signed, i.e: not executed.
It was sent to the department of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and not to Dr Chacko's address. This is not the regular proceeding for University appointments. She probably has never seen it, until now. If it is not signed, it does not exist.