Dr. George Yoo Named in Becker’s 2024 Chief Medical Officers to Know

George Yoo, M.D., FACS, chief medical officer (CMO) at Karmanos Cancer Hospital, was listed on Becker’s Hospital Review’s 2024 Chief Medical Officers to Know. The list includes 180 CMOs who “champion patient safety, uphold rigorous quality standards, act as liaisons between leadership teams and medical staff, manage risk,” and more. The CMOs named are considered leaders who are continually driven for improvement, leading to multiple quality and safety accolades for their organizations.

Dr. Yoo became CMO at Karmanos in October 2008. He oversees Karmanos’ comprehensive medical operations and spearheads strategic initiatives. As CMO, Dr. Yoo is a pivotal senior executive team member, managing medical directors, multidisciplinary teams of specialists and the entire medical staff. He’s active in numerous Karmanos Cancer Hospital and Wayne State University (WSU) committees, many of which he holds board positions.

With Karmanos’ robust research partnership with WSU, as CMO, Dr. Yoo contributes to academia at the School of Medicine, as well as clinical research and securing investigational funds for cancer care development. He joined the faculty in 1996. He has significantly contributed to the Department of Oncology as a tenured professor. Dr. Yoo's dedication to education is reflected through the training he provides to otolaryngology residents and his mentoring of head and neck fellows. As a clinical scientist, Dr. Yoo managed a National Institute of Health-funded laboratory, securing $2 million in grant support. This monumental achievement resulted in the publication of over 70 peer-reviewed articles, solidifying his expertise as a co-investigator in influential head and neck Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) and Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) projects, many funded by the National Cancer Institute.

On top of this, Dr. Yoo is an ear, nose and throat specialist (otolaryngologist), surgical oncologist, and member of the Head and Neck Oncology and Melanoma Multidisciplinary Teams. His head and neck surgery practice at Karmanos specializes in microvascular reconstruction. His efforts have led to the expansion of Karmanos’ prestigious head and neck cancer program, which includes surgical, medical, radiation, and dental oncologists, endocrinologists, pathologists, radiologists, speech-swallow therapists, and additional specialists. Dr. Yoo not only sees patients at the Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit, but also at Karmanos Cancer Institute at the Weisberg Cancer Center in Farmington Hills and Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Flint. He is also a member of the Molecular Therapeutics Research Program at Karmanos.

Dr. Yoo was one of the champions behind initiating the oncology service line within McLaren Health Care shortly after the corporation acquired Karmanos in 2014. This service line became known as the Karmanos Cancer Network. Dr. Yoo spearheaded steering committees and introduced electronic tumor boards, tele-oncology services, and standardized clinical pathways across the Network’s 16 treatment sites in Michigan. From this effort, a physician membership program began, ensuring top-notch, evidence-based care for Karmanos’ patients. Under Dr. Yoo’s leadership and commitment to the latest medical standards and clinical guidelines, the standardization of the Network culminated in exceptional oncology dashboard scores. His commitment to involving physicians in operational projects has been recognized by the Professional Research Consultants survey, resulting in an impressive rating for "Fully Engaged Physician.”

Physician recruitment is crucial to Dr. Yoo’s responsibilities as a CMO. He is focused on recruiting the best oncologists to care for Karmanos patients. He adopted a strategic physician recruitment strategy encompassing advertising, web postings and direct mail. Since 2008, he has successfully recruited over 65 specialized physicians in surgical, radiation, medical oncology, and radiology.

Dr. Yoo’s initiatives to enhance quality, patient safety, and service delivery have yielded remarkable results at Karmanos. Through his leadership, Karmanos has significantly reduced complication rates and patient safety indicators. His implementation of patient service principles at Karmanos has translated into consistently high scores for doctor-patient communication, as indicated by the Hospital Consumer Assessment for Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys.

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Yoo orchestrated the swift implementation of a telehealth program at Karmanos, seamlessly transitioning 28% of visits to remote video encounters, totaling 900 monthly visits. Beyond his role as CMO, He strategically restructured the Graduate Medical Education (GME) program at Karmanos. He also provides guidance and leadership and represents Karmanos as a valuable member of the SWOG Surgery Committee and the National Cancer Institute’s Head and Neck Steering Committee.

Dr. Yoo's tenure as CMO has demonstrated his ability to provide strategic leadership, successful network integration, substantial-quality enhancements, effective recruitment strategies, prudent cost-saving measures, and adept crisis management. His contributions have been instrumental in the continued success and growth of the Karmanos Cancer Institute. In addition, as an otolaryngologist and surgical oncologist specializing in head and neck cancers, Dr. Yoo has been recognized for his practice and bedside manner. He has been named to the HOUR Detroit Magazine’s Top Doc List 14 times between 2005 and 2023 and has been named one of America’s Top Doctors and America’s Top Doctors for Cancer by Caste Connolly Medical, Ltd. six times between 2012 and 2023.

Read the complete list of Becker’s CMOs to Know here.