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

We wrap up the great work that WXXI's Michelle Faust has done on the heroin epidemic in Rochester. We look back at the stories that made our "Heroin at Home" series, and play portions of interview that didn't make it to air.

We wrap our month-long series "Heroin at Home" by looking at how heroin addiction impacts families. We brought in a mother to give us some real-world insight that's happening here in Rochester. Our guests:

Michelle Faust

Community health organizations gathered Thursday at Samuel Torres Park in Northeast Rochester to provide health education. The event coincides with the end of National Latino HIV Testing Month.

The loud music and a bouncy house contrast with a stark statistic: rates of new HIV transmissions among Latinos in the U.S. are 3 times higher than that of Caucasians, according to 2010 numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there’s the equivalent of one bottle of prescription painkillers for every adult American. Meanwhile, 46 people a day die from an overdose of those same painkillers. That’s why New York State is trying to curb the problem of over prescribing.


Stigma around seeking treatment for mental health problems is a bigger barrier in communities of color. That's according to MaJose Carrasco the director of the Multicultural Action Center at the National Alliance on Mental Illness--or NAMI.

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Representatives from NAMI say they’re fighting isolation many people living with mental illness experience.


Your physical and mental health are considered equally important under state and federal law. It's called “mental health parity.”  Insurers haven’t always complied. State lawmakers' recent actions intend to take hurdles from insurance out of the long path to recovery from addiction.

Michelle Faust

Deaths from drug overdose have outpaced automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury in 35 states, including New York. But the state is making strides to curtail that trend. Physicians are integral to treating addiction, but the country has a shortage of doctors with training in the specialty.

Michelle Faust / WXXI

Heroin and opioid abuse and overdose deaths are on the rise; it is the leading cause of death in New York State. Monroe County had nearly 100 heroin overdoses last year. In this edition of Need To Know, we highlight an antidote that could reverse an overdose, and one mom - who lost her son to an overdose - is pushing for its use.

Dr. Jeanne Beno, Chief Toxicologist for the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, talks about the factors that are considered when determining the cause of death in an overdose case. She explains that most of the cases her office investigated involve multiple drug use. Among the 94 overdoses investigated in Monroe County in 2014, nearly half had fentanyl in their systems—a strong opioid drug.


Thursday, Rochester became the “Capital for a Day.”  Governor Andrew Cuomo and his cabinet visited the city to learn more about this part of Western New York. 

Cuomo held a cabinet meeting earlier in the day at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. A series of meetings were held throughout the area including one on the current anti-poverty initiative. Our reporters wrap two of the cabinet events below.