PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s another bittersweet day here at KDKA. After 19 years of medical reporting, Dr. Maria Simbra is retiring.
Already an M.D., she showed up here at KDKA as a news intern in 2001, just a week before the 9/11 terror attacks. That was just the start of her unique and very impressive journalism career.
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Dr. Maria Simbra’s path to TV didn’t take the typical route. She first earned her medical degree from Pitt and worked as a doctor for more than a decade. During that time, she went back to school and earned a masters in journalism from Point Park. On May 13, 2002, Dr. Maria was officially hired as KDKA’s newest medical reporter.
Over the last 19 years, her medical background has served her well in TV, bridging medicine and media, especially when it came to covering her specialty, neurological issues.
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She covered stories like Randall McCloy, the lone survivor of the Sago mine disaster; the brain cancer diagnosis and death of Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O’Connor; and the story of Rene Fogarty of Turtle Creek, who in 2017 became the first person in the U.S. to receive the first new treatment for ALS in more than 20 years.
Dr. Maria has received many awards during her career, including an Emmy in 2008 for a story she did where she followed a trauma surgeon through a typical night shift in a local ER.
And of course, she’s been here over the past year, helping to guide us through COVID-19, the largest health pandemic of our time.
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Dr. Maria retired from medicine in 2008 and now, she’s retiring from television. But the mark she’s left on medicine and medical reporting in western Pennsylvania won’t soon be forgotten.