In memoriam: Illhoi Yoo, PhD

Photo of Illhoi Yoo, PhD

It is with sadness that we share the passing of one of our own, Illhoi Yoo, PhD, associate professor of health management and informatics. Dr. Yoo passed away on Thursday, Aug. 26. We want to share this news and these remembrances in his honor.

He earned his doctorate from Drexel University in Philadelphia (2006) and obtained a MS in information science from University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) in 2002. Illhoi joined our health system in 2006 as an assistant professor of biomedical informatics in the Department of Health Management and Informatics.

He enjoyed teaching the Master of Science in Health Informatics courses and collaborating with colleagues on many projects and publications over the years. Illhoi helped the department further develop its academic degree programs in medical informatics, teaching courses on data mining for health care and medical vocabularies. His work supported development of many PhD and masters’ degree students of health informatics.

With background in informatics and engineering, his research in the intersection of health care and information technology included mobile health (mHealth), uses of data mining, and improvement of search accuracy using semantic information retrieval. His research appeared in publications such as the Journal of Medical Internet Research and BMC Medical Informatics & Decision Making. In the last decade, his articles have been cited more than 1,000 times. Recently, Illhoi was an investigator with MU Health Care physicians on an ICTS-funded project titled “Acute and Chronic Pain Management Using a Mobile Pain Monitoring System (mPMS)”.

His peers and colleagues loved him and will miss him.

From Dr. Eduardo Simoes:

“Illhoi was a gentleman and dedicated faculty member of HMI. He was always finding ways to improve as an academician and gave 100% effort on the teaching of HMI students. He almost never missed official events or meetings. His calm presence in meetings always gave the impression that deliberations and a resolution could be achieved without much struggle. I knew I could count on him to find consensus on issues of culture for the department and I thank him.”

From HMI faculty members:

“The department will greatly miss his academic contribution, presence and friendship.”

“Dr. Yoo started the International Workshop on Biomedical and Health Informatics in 2007 with the goal being to advance biomedicine and health care using information technologies. Eleven workshops held in places such as Kansas City, Madrid, Belfast and Shanghai have united biomedical informatics researchers around the world.”

“Illhoi’s intelligent and thoughtful conversation about data mining, vocabularies and ontologies will be greatly missed. Many students have greatly benefitted from his teaching.”

“Great teacher. In my observation and hearing from the students who closely work with me, they always admire his teaching style and caring about students in terms of their learning outcomes.”

“I found Dr. Yoo to be a very sincere, genuine and thoughtful person. He was indeed a great human being and prolific scholar.”

“I remember him fondly as a colleague. He was a very fair-minded, logical thinker.”

“Dr. Yoo was an incredibly skilled researcher, educator and mentor. I’ll always remember Dr. Yoo for his friendly disposition, collaborative spirit, and constant pursuit of innovation and discovery in mHealth and data mining healthcare research.”

“I always enjoyed Dr. Yoo’s sense of humor. I will miss our laughs together more than anything.”

Information about funeral and celebration of life arrangements and the ability to share your condolences can be found here. Please keep Illhoi’s wife, his children and extended family in your thoughts and prayers.


Eduardo J. Simoes, MD, MSc, MPH
Chair and Dr. Stuart Wesbury Distinguished Professor
Health Management and Informatics, MU School of Medicine

Steven Zweig, MD, MSPH
Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean
MU School of Medicine