WXXI AM News

Karen Shakerdge

Reporter/Producer - Health

Karen Shakerdge covers health for WXXI News. She has spent the past decade asking people questions about their lives, as a documentary film producer, oral historian and now radio reporter.

Karen spent months producing Exited, a podcast about young people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities navigating life after high school, which she developed with colleagues at NPR’s Story Lab.  

Karen has a bachelor's degree in cultural studies and media studies from The New School and a master's degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

In 2016, the Association of Health Care Journalists recognized her story about liver transplantation with an Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. Her two-part story about donor breast milk banks received an Outstanding Public Affairs Program award from the New York State Broadcasters Association in 2017. 

Ways to Connect

Courtesy Aimee Levesque

At the Golden Globe Awards this year, Meryl Streep received an honorary award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.

In her acceptance speech, she criticized President-elect Trump for mocking a reporter with a disability. Trump, who denies that, dismissed Streep’s comments on Twitter.

Karen Shakerdge/WXXI

University of Rochester medical students gathered to protest a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They are one of many groups of medical students across the country signing a petition to express opposition to an overhaul of the health care reform act without a meaningful replacement.

freeimages.com/B Boy

The number of New Yorkers signing up for health insurance through the state health exchange continues to climb. In recent weeks nearly 3.5 million people enrolled in plans.

It’s  just about a month away from the Open Enrollment period wrapping up and participation in the state’s official health plan Marketplace, has increased more than 22 percent compared to last year.

ALBANY, N.Y. (WXXI News & AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo says more than 2.7 million New Yorkers could lose insurance coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

The Democrat released that figure on Wednesday. His office says counties around the state would lose $600 million in federal funding and the state budget would take a $3.7 billion hit if Republicans in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump dismantle the law.

Cuomo says the cost of repealing the law is "simply too high to justify."

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.

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