Dr. Debra Koivunen specializes in the surgical treatment of breast cancer. She is medical director of the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center Breast Cancer Clinic as well as the Ellis Fischel Cancer Screening Clinic. She enjoys working with patients to understand their situation and help them navigate a breast cancer diagnosis. In addition to her clinical duties, she was senior associate dean of graduate medical education for 11 years. In 2017, she was presented a Distinguished Service Award by the Medical Alumni Organization of the University of Missouri. Dr. Koivunen has served as president of the University of Missouri Surgical Society, the Missouri State Surgical Society, the Missouri Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and the Frederick A. Coller Surgical Society (a national surgical organization founded in 1947 at the University of Michigan). 

Education & Training

Medical School

University of Michigan Medical School


Surgery (General Surgery)

  • University of Missouri School of Medicine GME


Surgery (General Surgery)

  • University of Missouri School of Medicine GME
  • University of Missouri School of Medicine GME


Surgical Endoscopy

  • Penn State College of Medicine

Surgery, Breast

  • University of Missouri School of Medicine GME


American Board of Surgery


MU Health Care participates with most major managed care organizations. To find out whether MU Health Care is a participating provider in your insurance plan or network, or for information on co-payments and deductibles, please contact your insurance carrier directly.

In the News

Dr. Koivunen Discusses Changes in Breast Cancer Care throughout the Years

Academic Information

Associate Professor of Surgery, Emerita

Areas of Expertise

  • Breast

Awards & Honors

  • American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award February, 1985; January, 1988; January, 1991; January, 1994; December, 1996; November, 1999
  • Staff Physician of the Year:   Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital, 1992.
  • Finalist for ACGME   Parker J. Palmer “Courage to Teach” Award, 2002
  • Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, ninth edition, 2005
  • Nominated for 2008 Jane Hickman Teaching Award, University of Missouri School of Medicine, 2008
  • Best Doctors in America: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-2011, 2013-2014
  • Distinguished Service Award from the Medical Alumni Organization, University of Missouri, April 21, 2017


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