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.
Your risk for allergies and asthma may depend on what lives inside you when you’re a baby.
There is an unexpected link between a common skin condition and a degenerative brain disease.
Test the entire blood supply for Zika. That’s what the Food and Drug Administration has recommended.
In schools and homes across America, the third week of September is notoriously known as “peak week.”
When it comes to glasses, one thing is always clear – one size does not fit all. That’s especially true for kids.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the safety of magnetic resonance imaging during pregnancy.
Mylan Pharmaceuticals has been in the spotlight lately for hiking the price of a life-saving allergy medicine, but even with a reduced price, EpiPens still cost hundreds of dollars.
The price of a lifesaving EpiPen has skyrocketed, and that’s putting people with severe allergic reactions at risk.
Pennsylvania is launching a new database to make it harder to go from doctor to doctor to get prescription painkillers.
Bringing a world of medicine to its patients, St. Clair Hospital in the South Hills is partnering with the Mayo Clinic.
A breast cancer diagnosis is devastating at any age, but for younger women, it’s especially difficult – dealing with treatments and keeping up with normal, everyday stresses.
A new study finds video games might just be the key to preventing dementia.
For some college students with an embarrassing condition, heading back to class is not always an exciting time.
Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, has been a go-to medicine for pregnant women with aches and pains and fever. Now a British study shows a pattern of behavioral issues in the children of mothers who took this drug during pregnancy.
More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. For some of them, their confusion seems to be worse at night.