Need to Know

Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. & Sundays at 11:00 a.m. on WXXI-TV & on City 12

Rochester’s East High School is part of a select group chosen to participate in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. It’s a program that sends the hard work of high school students on a real mission to outer space. On this edition of Need to Know, WXXI’s Sasha-Ann Simons takes us inside East High to meet the trio responsible for sending a local microgravity experiment to NASA.

To describe 2016 as a political roller coaster ride is an understatement. Now that it’s a new year and a time for reflection while making plans for the weeks and months ahead Need to Know is taking a look at our local political environment. National leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for “unity” over the past several weeks, but what does that mean and how does that apply to our region? Jamie Romeo, Chairwoman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee and Bill Reilich, Chairman of the Monroe County Republican Committee weigh in on this edition of Need to Know.

Watch Need to Know with host Hélène Biandudi Hofer Thursdays at 8pm on WXXI-TV, Channel 21.1 and Cable 11 or 1221.

Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell/ Creative Commons License / U.S. Navy

Before the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, we’ll hear from local political leaders on Need to Know as they share what our country and our region must do to move forward in 2017.

Also on the show - they’re the young, the innocent, and the vulnerable. And there’s an endless struggle to maintain or increase funding for the programs intended to help them. We’ll examine what’s happening with Child Protective Services in our region and what needs to change to keep young people safe.

And a group of high school students are giving a new meaning to the well-known phrase “Out of this world.”  We’ll learn about a local school experiment en route to NASA.

St. Michael's Woodshop

From ancient Egypt to modern times, the skill and art of woodworking continues to hold a place in society. As Need to Know host Hélène Biandudi Hofer recently learned, if anything it’s a craft with benefits that might far outweigh what you would expect. At least that’s the case for one Rochester woodworking program which has been teaching teens not only how to build furniture, but also character, personal value, and respect.

Watch Need to Know with host Hélène Biandudi Hofer Thursdays at 8pm on WXXI-TV, Channel 21.1 and Cable 11 or 1221.

University of Rochester Mindful Practice

There’s a problem in our country that some are calling a public health crisis. It’s physician burnout and according to reports, the issue is only getting worse. But something called mindfulness, which is the effort to continuously remain present and aware, has proven to be a game-changer for clinicians.

Need to Know host & producer, Hélène Biandudi Hofer, recently spoke with doctors Ron Epstein and Mick Krasner of the University of Rochester’s Mindful Practice. They, along with their colleagues, have been leading research and training programs for health professionals to help enhance their self-awareness, improve relationships with patients, and even advance the quality of care they offer.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has been tracking disparities in health care across the country. And as WXXI’s Sasha-Ann Simons reports on this edition of Need to Know, local health professionals are trying to fill in some of the gaps. Watch the story about the Saratoga Pharmacy working to support low-income residents and refugees living in the City of Rochester.


Americans continue to speculate about the forthcoming changes with the presidential transition. One of those big question marks pertains to healthcare in particular the Affordable Care Act. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll learn what’s in store for President Obama’s signature healthcare law and how it could potentially impact you.

The shift in power soon coming to the Oval Office means a likely shift for your health coverage if you signed up under the Affordable Care Act. On this edition of Need to Know, we’re making sense of what repealing and replacing President Obama’s healthcare law means for you.

Also on the show, we’ll learn about a Rochester pharmacy trying to break the barrier to health care access for refugees, low-income residents, and the disadvantaged.

And, the burnout rate for doctors is higher than any other profession and what you may not realize is this impacts all of us. But local clinicians are working to dramatically change the issue by introducing a path to mindfulness.