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.
simbra dr maria web 2015 Dr. Maria Simbra facebook icon Dr. Maria Simbra twitter icon Dr. Maria Simbra email icon Dr. Maria Simbra

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
Sport/Exercise: Running
Historical Figure: Louis Pasteur, Watson & Crick, and Nellie Bly
Favorite Pennsylvanian: Andy Warhol
Quote: “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.”
Word: Coffee?
Holiday: Thanksgiving – It is the essence of all holidays.
Guilty Pleasure: Ice cream cones with my daughter, pedicures, and Kevin Costner movies

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.

most recent stories2 Dr. Maria Simbra

New Generation Of Device Helps To Stop Seizures Before They Start

Living with epilepsy means living in fear of not if, but when the next seizure will hit. But, what if there was a way to alleviate some of that fear?


Magee-Womens Hospital Pilot Program Aims To Help Most Innocent Victims Of Drug Addiction

Magee-Womens Hospital has created a new unit called the Parent Partnership Unit to help babies with symptoms of drug withdrawal.


New, More Effective Shingles Vaccine In High Demand

More than 200,000 Americans get shingles every year and deal with the excruciating pain that comes with it. The only way to prevent it is a vaccine. But now, there’s a new one that’s way better, and demand for it is high.


Pittsburgh Hospitals Put Protocols, Safety Measures In Place To Protect Patients’ Embryos

Earlier this year, a freezer malfunction destroyed thousands of eggs and embryos at University Hospitals’ Fertility Clinic in Cleveland. But could something similar happen here in Pittsburgh?


Emergency Departments Bustling With Heat-Related Illnesses As Temperatures Climb

Some local emergency departments are bustling with cases of dehydration and respiratory problems — consequences of the heat.


Immunotherapy Being Studied As Possible Lung Cancer Treatment

A study is looking at whether immunotherapy would be helpful for the most common type of lung cancer – non-small cell lung cancer.


Weight-Loss Balloon Aims To Help Curb Global Obesity Problem

An Allegheny County native has invented something he hopes will help battle a growing obesity epidemic around the world.


Researchers Find Polio Virus To Be Unexpected Ally In Fight Against Brain Cancer

An unexpected ally has been discovered in the fight against brain cancer — the polio virus, which is usually known for causing paralysis and death.


New Research Suggests Drinking Before Surgery Can Help Recovery

Typical instructions before surgery had been nothing to eat or drink after midnight, but that may be changing.


3D Printing Providing Surgeons With Valuable Pre-Operation Information

Cutting-edge technology is making surgeries safer for patients and easier for doctors.


Study: More Than One-Third Of U.S. Adults Use Prescription Drugs With Depression, Suicide As Potential Side Effects

A new study suggests more than a third of American adults take prescription medications that have depression listed as a potential side effect.


Tiny Stent Treatment For Pancreatitis Is Making Big Breakthroughs

Every year, thousands of Americans get pancreatitis. It’s painful and potentially life-threatening, but now, a tiny breakthrough is providing big relief.


Different Kind Of Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Showing Promising Signs

While there is no cure, a different kind of treatment for Parkinson’s disease is showing promise.


‘Chemo Bath’ Being Used To Target Difficult To Treat Cancers In Abdomen

When cancer forms in places like the abdomen, it can be hard to target the treatment. But, there is an approach that can fight it.


U.S. Approves 1st Drug Developed To Prevent Chronic Migraines

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first new class of migraine drugs to stop headaches before they even start.