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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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is looking into what may be causing birds in Lake Ontario to wash up dead in Oswego, Wayne and Jefferson Counties.

Botulism is suspected in the death of thousands of water birds in the Great Lakes since 2002.

The DEC has been investigating the deaths of ducks, grebes, loons, and other fish eating water fowl. The state department of health will soon confirm whether type E Botulism is to blame.

The American Medical Association has called for a ban on prescription advertising that targets consumers.

The Monroe County Medical Society does not have an official stance on the issue, but Executive Director Nancy Adams understands the AMA’s position.

The national organization believes the advertising has a role in driving up the cost of medication. “Driving patients to specific medicines isn’t helping us keep medications affordable,” says Adams.

Raucous laughter fills a small communal kitchen as ten men shout and joke with each other in Spanish after a long day of picking apples on an orchard in Orleans County in Western New York.

They’re playing a game of charades. But instead of pantomiming movie titles or celebrities, the men are acting out symptoms of acute pesticide exposure, which include things like rashes, headaches, vomiting, and eye irritation.

A health insurance co-op that was scheduled to be shut down by the state due to financial problems will be closing sooner than expected.

Last month, the New York State Department of Financial Services (along with federal regulators) ordered Health Republic Insurance of New York to stop writing health insurance policies. Originally, the Health Republic would continue their current policies until the end of the year.

State regulators deemed the insurer’s finances in such bad shape they will end coverage by the end of November. 

Michelle Faust

Rochester Police say they’re investigating an incident that resulted in a 15-second viral video of 5 officers taking down a man in the middle of Main Street. RPD’s initial findings are that the officers’ actions were in line with their training.

Rochester Police Chief Mike Ciminelli says every use of force by an officer is reviewed and this case is still being looked at.

According to the department’s initial analysis, the man subdued by police on Tuesday behaved in a violent and threatening manner.


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday an agreement with a downstate retailer related to a woman’s right to breastfeed. One breastfeeding authority says it’s a reminder that state law allows women to breastfeed anywhere they legally be.

Century 21 Department Stores were fined 5 thousand dollars and agreed to change their policies about breastfeeding. The settlement relates to an incident this summer when a mother was asked to take her child to a dressing room to breastfeed.

The state is airing two new public service announcements aimed at deterring people from using synthetic drugs.

State officials say synthetics are more dangerous than some think. “But what we were hearing from young folks was they didn’t think there was any risk to using this. It’s fake marijuana. What’s the big deal?” says Rob Kent, general counsel for the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

The state reports eight times as many emergency department visits this year related to synthetic drug use.

Ricardo Arduengo/AP / npr.org

( Follow this link to listen to a recent episode of Connections with Evan Dawson, as he interviews the chairman of the state's Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task force and local Latino leaders on the economic problems facing Puerto Rico)

Governor Cuomo has sent two delegations over the last two months to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Delegates blame a lack of federal funding for healthcare as part of the reason that island is in an economic crisis.

One million Puerto Ricans live in New York State, and more are moving to the U.S. mainland every day. The island's population has fallen 4.7 percent since 2010. From its $72 billion debt to its health care crisis, Puerto Rico is in trouble. New York Assemblyman Marcos Crespo is the chairman of our state's Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force. He'll travel to the island next month, but first, he joins our panel to discuss why, in the words of Governor Cuomo, Puerto Rico's problems are New York's problems. Our guests:

$501 million dollars. That’s the price tag for excess medical costs associated with the high rates of obesity in the Finger Lakes, according to a study by Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield.


Two-thirds of the adults in the region are either overweight or obese. This puts them at greater risk for serious medical conditions and a diminished quality of life.

The problem is associated with higher risks for a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes, asthma, gallbladder disease, and depression.