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.
A Moon Township pediatric practice is getting lots of calls from concerned parents.
The every day household disinfecting wipes — easy to grab, easy to use. But does wiping really disinfect?
Getting a colonoscopy as a screening test for cancer, for some people, can be a dreaded ordeal.
However, local doctors and patients now are working on something that could be the first real cure for peanut allergies.
The State Departments of Health and Education have proposed new regulations that would impact all school kids.
While people usually reach for a medication meant to treat one specific ailment, many medications can do double duty and treat symptoms that initially seem unrelated.
There’s a new device that claims to ease your pain with no pills and no surgery. But does it provide nothing more than temporary relief?
New tests are becoming available for expecting mothers that may help doctors find a better due date.
Because of severe arthritis on both sides, rather than prolonging her recovery with two separate surgeries, her doctor offered the option of replacing both hips at once.
In this digitized world, pathologists now share slides in an instant electronically.
A machine created to help with heart surgeries is quickly becoming used for a lot more. In fact, a local woman says it single-handedly saved her life.
The American Cancer Society is revising its advice on when women should start getting mammograms and how often.
For people with insomnia, there’s a new prescription sleep drug called Belsomra. It acts differently on the brain than current medications like Ambien.
Local intensive care units for newborns, called NICUs, used to have to turn to Columbus, Ohio for the nearest supply of banked breast milk.
When it comes to screening for breast cancer, some women need more than just a mammogram to get a thorough look. They get a 3D picture called tomosynthesis.