Joined KDKA: 2002
Hometown: Morgantown, West Virginia
Alma Mater: Chemistry & Biology: WVU; Medicine: Pitt; Journalism: Point Park U; Public Health: University of Minnesota
Music: Florida Georgia Line
Movie: “Bull Durham”
TV Show: “Fixer Upper”
Book: “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies”
Hobbies: Country Line Dancing
Sports Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Food: Roasted Brussel sprouts
Local Restaurant: Cucina Bella
Historical Figure: Louis Pasteur, Watson & Crick, and Nellie Bly
Favorite Pennsylvanian: Andy Warhol
Quote: “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.”
Holiday: Thanksgiving – It is the essence of all holidays.
Guilty Pleasure: Ice cream cones with my daughter, pedicures, and Kevin Costner movies
THIS OR THAT
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook for fun. Twitter for news.
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Maroon 5
Comedy or Tearjerker? Comedy. Laughter is the best medicine.
Phone Call or Text Message? The function I use least on my phone…is my phone.
Coffee or Tea? Weekdays are for Keurig. Weekends are for Krups.
Morning Person or Night Person? Middle of the day person.
East Coast or West Coast? Two-step
Star Trek or Star Wars? BOTH! And X-Files, too!
||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. She was bestowed the Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence Award in 2015 and 2016.
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.