Dr. Maria Simbra
Dr. Maria Simbra is a multi award-winning medical journalist, who brings a unique set of skills to her position as medical reporter on KDKA-TV. A member of the KDKA news team since May 2002, this physician and formally trained journalism professional provides expert and informative reports on the health care issues that affect our hometown residents the most.
On KDKA-TV, Dr. Maria has reported on a variety of timely health care topics – from new medical technology, to trends in health care, to diseases that touch our community — with both insight and empathy. KDKA viewers have come to view her as a trusted member of their hometown news team.
As a physician with the added credential of an advanced journalism degree, she has been recognized for her work with the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Medical Communicators in 2006, two nominations for a Mid-Atlantic National Association of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Award in 2006 and 2007, and an Emmy award in 2008. She was awarded the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association Award in 2011, and the SWPA Media & Mental Health Award in 2013. In 2014, she was a Golden Quill finalist. In 2015, she was bestowed the Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence Award.
A leader in medical journalism, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the National Association of Medical Communicators.
In addition to reporting for KDKA, she has been a clinical assistant professor of neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and prior to that was in private practice neurology in Beaver County. Transitioning into a new specialty, she is pursuing a masters degree in public health, focusing on how the mass media affect public health.
In 2001, she decided to explore her long-standing interest in mass media, and entered the journalism and mass communication masters program at Point Park University. By 2003, she had completed her M.A. in journalism and mass communication. She has taught medical journalism to both journalism students and medical students at Pittsburgh area universities.
Her other teaching activities include serving as faculty on the NIH’s “Medicine and the Media Symposium” in July 2004, as a Hearst Visiting Professional at Arizona State University in September 2005, and as a conference panelist for the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality in July 2006. In 2012, She was the commencement speaker for Master’s Degree Hooding and Degree Conferral for her J-school alma mater, Point Park University. She has written for PLoS (Public Library of Science) Medicine, Neurology Reviews, and the Pittsburgh Business Times. Her book review of the Health Writer’s Handbook appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. She’s been featured in USA Today and Television Week.
Before her careers in medicine and television, she undertook studies at West Virginia University, where she graduated summa cum laude with degrees in both biology and chemistry in 1989. In 1993, she earned her M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Maria grew up in Morgantown, W.Va. She and her husband, Jeffrey Burket, an infectious disease physician, and their daughter reside in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.
Stents help open blocked blood vessels in the heart, but what happens when those stents get blocked?
For allergies at home, pets and dust mites are common triggers and can lead to asthma attacks. But what about at school?
A new study suggests being optimistic could help people live longer.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises all middle-aged people with even one risk factor for heart disease take a cholesterol-lowering drug called a statin to prevent having a heart attack or stroke in the first place.
Should you take aspirin every day to live longer?
When it comes to sports-related injuries, you probably think of concussions and broken bones. As turns out, there are also a lot of eye injuries, especially in youth sports.
For some people, prescription painkillers are a gateway to drug abuse.
A local breakthrough in treating foot pain is getting worldwide attention.
For years, we’ve heard about how to prevent sun damage to your skin, but what can you do if you already have it?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in multiple joints, which leads to swelling, pain, stiffness, and usually, loss of function.
When you think of seasonal allergies, you probably think spring, or even summer. However, winter allergies can be just as bad.
A new, FDA-approved lens implant offers near, intermediate and distance focus for patients who undergo cataract surgery.
For people patients struggling with asthma and the treatments, something new has come along called bronchial thermoplasty.
Three years ago when Linda Malsch found a lump under her arm – she feared it was cancer. She was right, though she was surprised to hear what type of cancer.
Cuts and scrapes don’t have to mark you for life.