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Soyoung Choi PhD, RN

Assistant Professor
Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
College of Applied Health Sciences
Univesisty of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Faculty Affiliate
Illinois Informatics Institute
Univesisty of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Faculty Affiliate
Personalized Nutrition Initiative
Univesisty of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

About Me

Soyoung Choi is an assistant professor at the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the director of the Accessible Healthcare Lab (AHL). Her research focuses on accessibility issues in health information technology to advance the health rights of people with disabilities. Specifically, she is contributing to our knowledge of the health information-seeking behavior and eHealth literacy of people with visual impairments. She leads multiple collaborative research projects with Information Sciences and Computer Science faculty members to accommodate people with visual disabilities in the digital healthcare ecosystem. She received a Ph.D. in Nursing Science from Pennsylvania State University (Advisor: Lisa Kitko, the current dean of University of Rochester School of Nursing) and MSN and BSN degrees in Nursing Science from Yonsei University.

Biobehavioral Research

PVI's sleep, diet, and physical activity


PVI's health literacy and information seeking behavior

Methodologic Research

Self-tracking technologies
Mobile health app, wearable device


Research Assistant Professor, Yonsei University College of Nursing, Seoul, South Korea

2020 - 2021

Ph.D. in Nursing Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

2017 - 2020

MSN, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

2014 - 2016

Registered Nurse, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University Health System, Seoul, South Korea

2011 - 2014

BSN, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

2007 - 2011

Accessible Healthcare Lab (AHL)

The Accessible Healthcare Lab (AHL) investigates how people with visual impairments access, process, and understand health information that is enhanced by the visual senses in sighted people. Visuals play a powerful role in health information designed to educate individuals to make decisions regarding medical treatments, chronic care, or health behaviors for improving health-related quality of life and well-being. In an increasing visually oriented world, people with visual impairments need assistance via accessible health information tailored to their exceptional lives and unique challenges.


JooYoung Seo Ph.D. (Assistant professor, UIUC iSchool)
Jessie Chin Ph.D. (Assistant professor, UIUC iSchool)
Eun Kyung Choe Ph.D. (Associate professor, University of Maryland)
Bongshin Lee Ph.D. (Microsoft senior researcher)

Ongoing Projects

See my current collaborative research projects.

Project 1. Understanding the online health information seeking behaviors of people with visual impairments

Improving health literacy is dependent upon satisfying the needs of persons with visual impairments. Generally, people with visual impairments access the web using screen reader software that processes web pages sequentially from top to bottom and reads the content out in computer-synthesized speech. This study aims to understand the health information seeking behavior of a visually impaired health consumer-learner in the context of the auditory screen reader interface. By utilizing a remote usability test, we will compare the health information seeking patterns between participants with visual impairments (n = 20) and sighted participants (n = 20). Each participant’s approach to search query formulation, search results exploration, search query reformulation, and search results storage will be observed and analyzed. The grand idea behind this research is to guide the development of accessible health information websites and health literacy interventions for people with visual impairments. Interested students can contact us to learn more about this research project.

Project 2. Development and validation of an eHealth assessmnet tool for people with visual impairments

Visuals can play a significant role in the acquisition of health information that is designed to guide individuals to determine medical treatments, symptom management, chronic care, or lifestyle options for health promotion over and above what would be gained from text. The variability in visual impairment severity and functional response makes health literacy a challenge for healthcare workers and health policy makers. Preferred adaptive strategies and devices vary depending on the severity of vision loss and the individual’s characteristics. At this juncture, we can ask the following question: “Can we accurately measure the health literacy of people with visual impairments by utilizing the current tools designed for typically sighted people?” To concisely assess and evaluate the health literacy of people with visual impairments, we should confirm whether current assessment tools include all the significant health literacy constructs and reflect the genuine needs of health literacy among people with visual impairments.

Project 3. Associations between visual impairments, sleep quality, stress, depression, and fatigue

This study has been proposed to collect preliminary health data from totally blind people. Building on the scientific knowledge on circadian rhythms which highlighted the importance of maintaining consistent sleep/wake cycles, eating time intervals, and daytime physical activities, this research proposes investigating the patterns of circadian rhythms alongside self-reported measures of psychological status and fatigue among both totally blind and sighted people. By identifying the relationships of interest and examining the effects of total blindness with no light perception and sleep disturbances on health status, the proposed research aims to establish foundations for personalized biobehavioral health education leading to normalizing circadian rhythms and improve recognition of circadian rhythm disturbances and their impact on the quality of life of blind individuals.

Project 4. The blind health consumers' experiences of sleep-tracking technologies

Totally blind people often suffer from circadian rhythm disturbances. Although wearable devices and sleep-tracking mobile apps are widely adopted among sighted counterparts to remodel their sleep-wake cycles, its effectiveness and accessibility have not yet been fully examined with blind individuals. This study investigates the sleep patterns and fatigue levels of blind people, using a wrist actigraphy with mobile app, and assesses the demanding features of accessible sleep tracking mobile apps that can help blind people better manage their sleep habits. The findings contribute to addressing largely underexplored health disparities and nontrivial mobile health accessibility gaps between sighted and blind people.

Recent Publications

Seo, J., & Choi, S. (2022). Are blind people considered a part of scientific knowledge producers?: Accessibility report on top-10 SCIE journal systems using a tripartite evaluation Approach. Journal of Technology and Persons with Disabilities, 171.

Choi, J., Thompson, E., Choi, J., Waddil, C. B., & Choi, S. (2021) Effectiveness of immersive virtual reality in nursing education: Systematic review, Nurse Educator. DOI:10.1097/nne.0000000000001117.

Choi, S., Kitko, L., Hupcey, J., & Birriel, B. (2021) Longitudinal family caregiving experiences in heart failure: Secondary qualitative analysis of interviews, Heart & Lung, 50(5), 627-633. DOI:10.1016/j.hrtlng.2021.05.002

Let's talk

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