Dr. Maria Simbra
Since she joined 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 named on Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 under 40″ list, honoring the area’s influential young people.
A leader in medical journalism — she served on the Association of Health Care Journalists Board of Directors from 2005 to 2007. She was elected to the National Association of Medical Communicators Board of Directors in 2007.
In addition to reporting for KDKA, she has been a clinical assistant professor of neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and was in private practice neurology in Beaver County prior to that. 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 communications masters program at Point Park University. By 2003, she had completed her M.A. in journalism and mass communications. She now teaches 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. 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.
Dr. Maria is active in a wide range of professional organizations and also finds time for volunteer work. With local charities, she serves as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the Alzheimer Association’s Annual Educational Program, she ran the Phoenix half-marathon for the American Stroke Association’s “Train to End Stroke,” she has been a panelist for the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” event, she has been a guest speaker at the American Cancer Society’s fashion show luncheon, and she has opened the play “Tuesdays with Morrie” for the ALS Association, and chairs its annual “Walk to d’Feet ALS.”
Prior to embarking on her dual career as a physician and medical correspondent, 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, reside in the western suburbs of Pittsburgh. They welcomed their beautiful daughter into the world in January 2009.
If you regularly worked night shift, even if you’re retired now and keep a normal daytime schedule, you’re at higher risk of a common disease: diabetes.
Jo Cummings, 36, is hearing the heartbeat of her first child after struggling to get pregnant for 3-and-a-half-years.
A strain of super lice is going around local schools this year. They’re not your average lice because these are resistant to the usual treatments.
A recent study says both work equally well.
Grandmother, wife and artist Joan Esposito has breast cancer — a specific kind called “HER-2 positive.”
Autumn can be a rough time for allergy sufferers. If you’re one of them, there are some simple steps that you can take to keep your allergies under control and those steps start right in your own home.
Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are supposed to have many health benefits, especially for your heart and brain. But a new study suggests the benefits for your memory might be a bit overrated.
Acetaminophen, known commonly by brand name Tylenol, is in more than just Tylenol. It’s in NyQuil, Robitussin, Excedrin products and many others.
This high school freshman is in marching band. She rides horses and dances — she also has allergies and asthma.
After a concussion, how do you get the information from the field to the doctor’s office? An app is taking information right from the field, court or rink and putting it directly in doctors’ hands.
Can breast cancer recurrence be predicted? Typically doctors use tumor size, spread, and what it looks like under the microscope.
A new blood test may one day be able to tell whether an infection is bacterial or viral.
Joy Taylor is about to have a lumpectomy. Her doctor is using a new FDA-approved device that helps breast cancer patients avoid additional surgery.
Imagine being told your loved one has suddenly died. You want to donate his or her organs, but because organ harvesting is not an emergency, you might have to wait, and wait for an open operating suite.
Liver disease that can be seen in alcoholics is now being seen in children, but it’s not from alcohol.