Michelle Faust

Reporter, WXXI

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 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

Environmental services worker Jeanna Hibbert scrubs the hospital room to get rid of C-diff bacteria.
Michelle Faust / Side Effects Public Media

It’s usually doctors and nurses who are seen as the life-savers at hospitals. But when it comes to preventing certain lethal infections, the hospital’s cleaning staff play a vital role.  

The most common hospital-borne infection in U.S. hospitals is a stubborn spore that’s spreads easily and is tough to remove.


Michelle Faust/ Side Effects Public Media

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.

Michelle Faust

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.”

Michelle Faust

“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.

Michelle Faust

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.

Courtesy University at Buffalo

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.

Svante Myrick speaking at a press conference.
Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

Ithaca, New York, population 30,000, is a small city with a big plan to counter heroin addiction, announced by mayor Svante Myrick Wednesday.  The strategy includes a 24-hour crisis center, a new office of drug policy, and something that’s never been tried before in the United States: a medically supervised site where drug users could inject heroin.

When kids drink more water and less sugary drinks, rates of obesity decrease, a new study finds.

Researchers compared the body mass index of elementary and middle school students in New York City before and after getting water coolers installed in their schools.

Doctor Steve Cook, pediatrician at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says the findings in JAMA Pediatrics are positive. Cook encourages parents to limit the number of caloric beverages their children consume.

Less than a quarter of teens have been tested for HIV, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  


Gottfried's Office

Colorado’s pending vote on universal health care this year has renewed discussion of the topic among health care reform advocates around the country. There are a handful of other states that have active movements promoting universal health care, or single-payer systems, including New York.

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