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.

Ways to Connect

Three-year-old Jaime is excited to talk about what he’s learning in school today. “I’m happy!” he declares while showing off a card with a smiley face and the word “happy” at the bottom. Why?  “My mommy loves me!”

Interacting with these feelings cards is part of the curriculum at Jaime’s preschool, a federally-funded Head Start site in Rochester, New York.


At 17 years old, Daryl Chatman is more interested in football than he is in health insurance.

The high school athlete turns 18 this summer. His foster parents Brenda and Kent Davis worry about what might happen if he’s injured on the football field. They want to adopt him before his next birthday so he can get on their insurance.

“He’s going to be a part of our family forever no matter what, whether its adoption or not,” says Brenda Davis. “I would really like to make sure he's covered.”

“Alright, we’re going to go check those eyes and ears now buddy. Ok?” Nurse Kristen Marrese leads 4-year-old Daniel Atkinson down the hall for an eye exam. It’s part of his routine check-up at a clinic in Rochester, New York, Starlight Pediatrics.

During the visit, which took nearly two hours, Daniel also got up to date on his vaccines and his nurse practitioner gave him a thorough check-up of his growth and development. He’s been coming here since he was an infant.

Excited and hungry, three children chant as food is served (“We want potatoes! Potatoes!) and ask what else is for dinner (fish and green beans as it happens). The hubbub continues until Mom cracks down:

“Please! Sit. On your bottom.” The children obey. They continue to buzz as they eat.

Fragile Lives

Apr 4, 2016

More than 650,000 kids spent at least part of the year in foster care in 2014, according to the latest national numbers. Trauma from a history of child abuse, neglect, addiction, and domestic violence can affect the long-term physical and mental health outcomes of kids in the system.

During the month of April, WXXI News is teaming with Side Effects Public Media explore the health outcomes of kids in the foster care system.


Sunday marks an end to paper prescriptions in New York State.

A new law requiring e-prescribing goes into effect over the weekend.

The move is part of an effort to reduce the overprescribing of opioid pain killers in the state.

Lisa Nelson, associate director of Pharmacy at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says that many doctors have been using electronic prescriptions for years.

"Greater than ninety percent of the prescription that we do here at the University of Rochester but the hospitals in the inventory have been e-prescribed," says Nelson.

Michelle Faust

The click, click, click of a hospital privacy curtain echoes through the room as Jeanna Hibbert pulls it down to be laundered. Hibbert has cleaned rooms at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York for a year. Today, the process is designed to protect the next patient against C-diff.

Primary care doctors and medical students will now be able to gain accreditation as addiction medicine specialists. The American Board of Medical Specialties announced this week its approval of a new medical subspecialty intended to increase the number of physicians qualified to help patients with addiction.

One person leading the push to create the specialty was Richard D. Blondell, professor of family medicine at the University at Buffalo in New York and an expert in addiction medicine. Over the last several years, he worked with the American Board of Addiction Medicine to establish standards and an accreditation process for new training programs in dozens of medical schools around the country. Now, graduates of these programs will be able to be certified in the subspecialty. The new certification means doctors in the field have been trained and tested at consistent high standards recognized by their peers.

Side Effects’ Michelle Faust spoke with him about his efforts to build a workforce of physicians trained to work with substance use disorders.

Rochester Regional Health will use $47 million in state funding to improve clinics and their information technology systems.

The money is part of nearly $96 million the state is investing in health care infrastructure in the Finger Lakes Region.

The money comes from a program called DSRIP—Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program. That's a program designed to fundamentally overhaul Medicaid. New York wants to bring down the price tag of the low-income health coverage.


Patients in Rochester reflect the perspectives of patients in the rest of the country, according to a leader in the area’s health community.

This week, NPR and partners released a national survey that looks at patients’ perspectives of health care. Respondents came from 7 states.

While perspectives from New York were not included in the report, Wade Norwood—Chief Strategy Officer at the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency—says trends in the survey reflect what’s happening locally.