WXXI AM News

Karen Shakerdge

Reporter/Producer - Health

Karen Shakerdge is a health reporter and producer for WXXI and Side Effects Public Media. From a young anthropology student, to a documentary film producer, to oral historian, and now radio reporter, Karen has been asking people questions about their lives in one way or another for almost 10 years.

The Association of Health Care Journalists recognized her story about liver transplantation with an Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. Her piece about breast density notification laws received a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Karen has a B.A. in Cultural Studies and Media Studies from The New School and M.A. from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy David Irish

In Betsy Irish’s room, it’s all about the music. There is a big boom box in the corner, framed CD jackets and a special box just for Christmas music.

She’s hanging out with her dad, David Irish, at her group house in a suburb of Rochester, N.Y. They’re doing one of their usual activities — reading the dictionary.

At 44 years old, Dave Adox was facing the end of his two-year battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He needed a ventilator to breathe and couldn't move any part of his body, except his eyes. Once he started to struggle with his eyes — his only way to communicate — Adox decided it was time to die.

He wanted to donate his organs, to give other people a chance for a longer life. To do this, he'd need to be in a hospital when he went off the ventilator.

Karen Shakerdge

A coalition of local and state advocates are asking Governor Cuomo to increase the state-regulated pay rate for workers who support people with disabilities. Family members, staff, and a bipartisan group of politicians gathered at the ARC of Monroe County to ask for a $45 million budget increase.

The coalition known as “#bFair2DirectCare” asserts that low pay creates a high worker turnover rate statewide, and especially in more rural areas.

Courtesy NY State of Health

New Yorkers now have an extra two days to sign up for health insurance in time for a January 1st start date. In the past three days, more than 55,000 New Yorkers have enrolled or renewed coverage through the exchange.  

This is the busiest enrollment period yet, according the NY State of Health, the state's official health plan marketplace. The deadline – originally Thursday, December 15th but now Saturday, December 17th – is only for a January 1 start date. The general open enrollment period ends January 31st. 

Attorney Ann Williams meets her 33-year-old client for the first time at a legal clinic in Rochester, NY.

She asks him questions about what it’s like to have one name and gender legally and another name and gender in his daily life.


New York State Department of Health

Increased  coverage for transgender medical care and services are taking effect for Medicaid plans in New York.

The Department of Health has established that young people, under the age of 18, will now receive coverage for hormone therapy deemed medically necessary, according to the notice filed in the NYS Register.

Four SUNY Geneseo students have confirmed cases of the mumps. These four students did have the proper two dose vaccination, which is supposed to immunize a person from the virus.

Dr. Steven Radi, medical director of health services at SUNY Geneseo, says 15 students who have not received the vaccine have been told to stay away from campus for about a month. But because the four students who got the mumps had been vaccinated, it’s hard to know who exactly is at risk.

Flickr/Vaping 360

Researchers at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health have linked electronic cigarette vapor with gum disease. 

Fawad Javed, a co-investigator of the study, says that the use of electronic cigarettes is increasing and people might be under the wrong impression that they are far less harmful than conventional ones.

David Hutchinson got health insurance for the first time in his life about a year ago. Now he’s worried he might lose it.


Karen Shakerdge

People find themselves in all kinds of unexpected situations on or leading up to Election Day —including ending up in the hospital.

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