Michelle Faust


Michelle Faust, MA, is a reporter/ producer whose work focuses strongly on issues related to health and health policy. She joined the WXXI newsroom in February 2014, and in short time became the lead producer on the Understanding the Affordable Care Act series. Michelle is a reporter with the health collaborative Side Effects and regularly contributes to The Innovation Trail. Working across media, she also produces packages for WXXI-TV’s weekly news magazine Need to Know.

Before coming to the Northeast, Michelle was Morning Edition Host and Spanish Language Producer at KAWC Colorado River Public Media in Yuma, AZ. At WXXI, she occasionally returns to the early shift as a fill-in host.

Michelle had press credentials before she had a driver's license, working for newspapers in both high school and college. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Romance Languages in 2002 from the University of Oregon. After a year teaching English in Nîmes, France, Michelle returned to UO to complete a Master of Arts in Spanish literature in 2005.

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Courtesy RIT

Researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology are looking at ways to intercept vulnerabilities in computer systems before hacker do. University representatives say that want to teach students how to better protect online data.

RIT announces two new grant funded cyber security research projects totaling 840 thousand dollars.

The projects intend to get ahead of computer hackers.

Joanne Silberner/NPR

Officials in Livingston County report 4 cases of whooping cough in the area in the last month. There have been 7 in the past year.

Kathy Root is the director of patient services at the Livingston County Department of Health.

Whooping Cough—or pertussis—is a bacterial lung infection that can resemble a cold. In the worst cases, it develops violent coughing fits.

Michelle Faust

City, County, and Court officials announced a new court to try gun crimes. The new Gun Crimes Part intends to create a more efficient and consistent approach.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Moran will oversee the court. He will have jurisdiction over cases where the highest count is second or third degree criminal possession of a weapon.

City Council President Loretta Scott applauded the mayor for her work on the project.

The Ad Council of Rochester | The Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

State and local efforts are ramping up the drive to get more New Yorkers registered for organ donation. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared Tuesday Organ Donor Enrollment Day. 

About half the national population is registered as an organ donor, but in New York it’s less than a quarter.

Flickr: jetsandzeppelins

New federal rules aim to protect farm workers from the risks associated with exposure to pesticides. Advocates in New York are applauding the changes.

Now children under 18 will not be allowed to handle pesticides. Adult farm workers will have to be trained each year on how to protect themselves from the chemicals used around them. They used to be trained every 5 years.

It’s been 23 years since the Environmental Protection Agency updated its standards.

Older adults in our area have a new place to go to get questions answered about Medicare Advantage plans.

Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield opened a resource center in Greece to mark the beginning of the Medicare Advantage shopping season on Thursday.

Heather Smith is the director of that program for the insurer. She says the location will provide information in person.

“Folks can take a look at the plans they have currently, analyze what they have, what they’re looking for, their unique needs, and if they deem appropriate for 1/1/16,” says Smith.


Shopping season for the Medicare Advantage plans is underway.

In Monroe, Ontario, and Wayne Counties, the average premium for 2016 Medicare Advantage plans is $74 dollars, about a 10 percent increase over last year.

On average in New York State, most monthly premiums are steady, but out of pocket costs for medications are up.

Older adults in New York may find they’re paying less each month for Medicare Advantage.

The federal government wants to curb the number of deaths from opioid drug overdoses. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hopes to make in-roads by funding intervention and prevention.

HHS Secretary Silvia Burwell recently announced initiatives that target heroin and opioid deaths and dependence across the country. 133 million dollars has been allocated to programs for treatment and education.

Chris Jones is the director of science policy at HHS.  He says much of the education about opioids needs to be directed at medical professionals.

The leader of Western New York’s largest insurer spoke to WXXI about the recent cyber-attack.

Chris Booth, CEO of Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, spoke to business leaders about continued changes in the health care industry in Rochester Tuesday morning.

The hack exposed the personal information of 10 and a half million customers.

Booth notes that consumer information is vulnerable to sophisticated cyber-attacks.

One of the least expensive insurers on the New York health insurance exchange will be gone by the end of the year. Federal and state regulators intervened to shut down Health Republic Insurance of New York. With about 200,000 enrollees, it’s the fourth and also the largest co-op to get the ax this year.

Spokesperson for the New York State Department of Financial Services, Matt Anderson says the co-op was on the road to insolvency, "The premiums that they charged simply were too low and didn’t ultimately cover their expenses."