Michelle Faust

Michelle Faust, MA, joined WXXI News as a Reporter/ Producer in February 2014. She came from KAWC Colorado River Public Media, where she was Morning Edition Host and Spanish Language Producer. Michelle is an enthusiastic follower of news and a long-time aficionado of public broadcasting.

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. 

Michelle infuses curiosity and a passion for knowledge into her work. Her previous career in education began in 2002 when she taught English in Nîmes, France, before returning to the University of Oregon for her Master of Arts in Spanish literature. Her career in education culminated with a position as Spanish Professor for Arizona Western College.

Michelle loves travel, languages, nature, and adventure. In her off time, she spends most of her time traveling, reading, studying languages, dancing, doing yoga, and spending time in the outdoors hiking or kayaking.


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!”

Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG News




There’s a push across the country to get more, if not all, three- and four-year-olds into preschool programs that give them the building blocks for their future education.

Graeme Paterson / Flickr

(WXXI) This week marks an end to paper prescriptions in New York State. A new law requiring e-prescribing went into effect over the weekend. The move is part of an effort to reduce the overprescribing of opioid pain killers in the state.

Michelle Faust / WXXI

(WXXI) 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.

University at Buffalo

(WXXI) The American Board of Medical Specialties recently recognized addiction medicine as an official sub-specialty for doctors. A western New York doctor was instrumental in creating the field.

permanently scatterbrained / Flickr

(WXXI) Assembly members are vowing to expand funding for treatment for opioid addiction in New York. The Assembly Minority Task Force on Heroin Addiction presented their report Monday in the assembly chamber.


(WXXI) When doctors recommend HIV screenings, young people are more likely to follow through. A new study that will appear in the February edition of the Journal Pediatrics shows less than a quarter of teens and young adults get tested for HIV. Just less than half of the teens and young adults living with HIV have been diagnosed.

Google Images

(WXXI) 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.

(WXXI) This legislative session New York lawmakers have two bills in front of them that would allow a physician to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a terminally ill patient. Currently, just five states have legalized physician-assisted suicide.

Senate Democrats / flickr

 (WXXI) Senator Charles Schumer’s extra ticket to Tuesday’s State of the Union Address is taken. The Democrat announced Monday that he will bring Syracuse University Junior Sean McAllister. McAllister is a junior at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

NazarethCollege / Flickr

(WXXI) A Southern Tier Republican Congressman wants to force colleges to help more students with their tuition costs. House Representative Tom Reed wants colleges with an endowment of a billion dollars or more to devote at least a quarter of it student aid or lose their tax exempt status.

New York State of Health

People seeking insurance on the New York State of Health Marketplace will have until Saturday to enroll for coverage that begins January 1st. State health officials announced Tuesday it would move from the original December 15th deadline to Saturday 19th.

New York insurance agents call on the state to compensate providers for losses in the wake of the Health Republic shut down.

Several sources estimate health care providers are owed tens of millions of dollars in the wake of the Health Republic shut down.

State and federal regulators stepped in to dissolve the health insurance co-op earlier this year citing financial insolvency.

The New York State Association of Health Underwriters released a statement Monday that calls for the state to use surplus funds to make up for lost funds.


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.

BAASIILB15 / Flickr

New York will not be one of the states to adopt a new rule change to Obamacare. A law adopted by the feds early this month would allow states to redefine what constitutes a small and large business for health insurance requirements.

Gaulsstin / Flickr

$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.

Victims of domestic violence can qualify to sign up for health coverage outside of the regular open enrollment period. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants to remind people of this during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.


New federal rules aim to protect farm workers from the risks associated with exposure to pesticides, and advocates in New York are applauding the changes. Now, children under 18 will not be allowed to handle pesticides. Adult farm workers will have to be trained each year on how to protect themselves from the chemicals used around them. They used to be trained every 5 years.

ManOnPHI / flickr

City, County, and Court officials announced a new court to try gun crimes. The new Gun Crimes Part intends to create a more efficient and consistent approach. New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Moran will oversee the court. He will have jurisdiction over cases where the highest count is second or third degree criminal possession of a weapon.


State and local efforts are ramping up the drive to get more New Yorkers registered for organ donation.  Governor Andrew Cuomo declared Tuesday Organ Donor Enrollment Day. About half the national population is registered as an organ donor, but in New York it’s less than a quarter.

The federal government wants to curb the number of deaths from opioid drug overdoses. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hopes to make in-roads by funding intervention and prevention.

The leader of Western New York’s largest insurer spoke to WXXI about the recent cyber-attack. Chris Booth, CEO of Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, spoke to business leaders about continued changes in the health care industry in Rochester Tuesday morning.

Health Republic Insurance


One of the least expensive insurers on the New York health insurance exchange will be gone by the end of the year. Federal and state regulators intervened to shut down Health Republic Insurance of New York. With about 200,000 enrollees, it’s the fourth and also the largest co-op to get the ax this year.

Ben Allen / WITF

School starts for most districts this week and next, and it’s the first time when New York Schools can supply their nurses with a drug to reverse the effects of a drug overdose. Many districts are still weighing the pros and cons of the decision, but nurses in Dansville had a Naloxone training session Wednesday. 

New York’s economic development agent was in Rochester Tuesday to certify minority and women owned businesses. At least one board member wants to see more of these trainings across Upstate.

Empire State Development gave a morning training seminar at the Ibero-American Action League that went over the process for businesses to get certified for government contracts.

Governor Cuomo set a goal that the state contract with 30 percent minority and women-owned businesses.

Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill last week that would have given doctors the final say in the medications their patients can access under their Medicaid Managed Care plans. Patients must now appeal every time their prescribed drugs are denied.

The governor said the nicknamed “provider prevails” law could have an unbudgeted fiscal impact on the state.

Kev Coleman is the head of data and research at HealthPocket.com. He says insurers work to keep costs down by limiting the medications they cover.


New York has set a goal to eliminate AIDS in the state by the year 2020. Communities throughout the state are coming together to work on ways to implement the plan. Public health organizations met in Rochester recently for one such meeting to come up with their regional plan. In the early 1990s there were around 15,000 new cases of the disease each year. That’s now down to around 3,000 cases a year. By 2020, the state wants that number at 750 people or less.

zacharmstrong / flickr

Health care advocacy organizations are calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill on his desk that would ensure doctors have the ultimate say over what medications their patients take.

The governor says vendors and producers of synthetic marijuana try to “skirt the law” by creating new chemicals that aren’t currently banned. The New York Department of Health announced Thursday emergency regulations banning synthetic marijuana.

The governor calls synthetic drugs “an alarming public health risk.”

That’s why the Public Health and Health Planning Council unanimously expanded the list of banned substances.

The head of the New York Health Insurance Exchange says a new low-income plan will bring in New Yorkers who still haven’t enrolled in health coverage. Officials expect to reach 3 year goals.

Donna Frescatore, Executive Director of the New York State of Health Insurance Marketplace, says she’s pleased that more than 2 million state residents have signed up for insurance through the exchange. "We’ll reach our 3 year goal of reducing the number uninsured in New York by about a million people," says Frescatore.