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December 3, 2003

Double email accounts plague med school faculty

Unknowingly, Pitt critical care medicine professor Michael R. Pinsky ignored invitations to give the business school’s commencement address and serve on two doctoral defense committees.

He wasn’t being rude, Pinsky told Faculty Assembly Nov. 25. It’s just that the invitations were extended to Pinsky via his Pitt e-mail account ( — which he only vaguely realized he had, and never checked — rather than the UPMC account ( that he regularly uses.

It was mainly out of curiosity, Pinsky said, that he approached staff at Pitt’s Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) office for help in accessing his long-dormant University account. Only when he began scrolling through the backlog of hundreds of unread messages did Pinsky realize he had, in effect, been ignoring appeals, greetings and informational items from colleagues for years.

How many other medical professors with dual Pitt/UPMC appointments are doing the same thing? Pinsky wondered.

Faculty Assembly members asked: Couldn’t CSSD automatically forward the docs’ Pitt e-mail messages to their UPMC accounts?

The University Senate’s computer usage committee plans to meet with CSSD director Jinx P. Walton for a public discussion of the dual e-mail accounts issue tomorrow (Dec. 5) at 10:15 a.m. in 717 Cathedral of Learning.

“Note that it is important to distinguish between the medical school and the other schools of the Health Sciences,” wrote John M. Close, chairperson of the Senate committee, in an e-mail to the University Times this week.

“There are some faculty in the other HS schools that hold dual Pitt/UPMC appointments, but the problem of faculty not realizing they also had Pitt accounts is almost exclusively a School of Medicine faculty problem,” wrote Close, who is an assistant professor of dental public health.

Walton said she was aware of the dual accounts issue but reserved comment until after the computer usage committee meeting.

—Bruce Steele                             

Filed under: Feature,Volume 36 Issue 8

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