Brett Dahlberg

Health reporter and producer

Brett is the health reporter and a producer at WXXI News. He has a master’s degree from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, and before landing at WXXI, he was an intern at WNYC and with Ian Urbina of the New York Times. He also produced freelance reporting work focused on health and science in New York City. 

Brett grew up in Bremerton, Washington, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. 

Ways to Connect

Many American soldiers who attempt suicide have no prior mental health diagnosis, according to the most recent study to make use of data collected by the U.S. Army and the National Institute of Mental Health.  

The study, published Wednesday in the psychiatry journal of the American Medical Association, looked at anonymized records of more than 9,000 American soldiers who attempted suicide while on active duty. More than a third of them had not been diagnosed with a mental illness.


People with special needs will have access to new ID cards that state Sen. Pam Helming says will help them communicate with emergency responders.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

New York Senator Chuck Schumer took aim at the conception of the opioid epidemic as an urban concern Friday.

Standing in front of the one-story police headquarters in Holley, an Erie Canal village of about 2,000 people, the Democrat urged his senate colleagues to support an effort to bring “cutting-edge technology” to the fight against opioids across the state.

Schumer said the money the federal government is spending to fight the opioid epidemic is largely going to cities. That puts the public and law enforcement officers in rural areas at risk, he said.

Rochester Regional health

KeyBank made its largest-ever contribution in the Rochester area to a scholarship fund for nursing students at Rochester Regional Health, the two companies announced Thursday.

It’s the second recent effort to make nursing training more affordable locally, after the University of Rochester Medical Center announced last week it was slashing tuition rates for nursing students.

Now, KeyBank has donated $450,000 to fund scholarships to Rochester Regional’s Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing.

The first West Nile virus case of 2018 has appeared in Monroe County. It’s one of the first seven cases statewide this year, according to the state health department. The Monroe County health department said Thursday that “we are entering a period when risk will increase and continue until the first heavy frost.”


Bridge treatment for opioid withdrawal is a rarity around the country, but two healthcare systems in Rochester have begun piloting it locally.

Gates Police

Local support groups working with people addicted to opioids distributed what they were calling “recovery first aid” kits to government officials Tuesday.

The kits contained contact information for a half-dozen groups that provide services ranging from overdose treatment to grief counseling. David Attridge, executive director of Gates to Recovery, unveiled the kits and presented them to Monroe County legislators at their August meeting.

Scott Bauer / USDA

The number of Lyme disease cases diagnosed in the Finger Lakes region jumped sharply last year, according to the most recent data from the state health department.

The data, while still preliminary, is not expected to change before it’s finalized next month. It shows Lyme disease cases increased almost 600 percent in the health department’s Finger Lakes region, from 62 in 2012 to 365 in 2017.

Common Ground Health / Genesee Transportation Council

A Rochester non-profit has taken what its CEO says is a novel approach to measuring the impact of the Genesee Valley Greenway.

Wade Norwood says Common Ground Health’s assessment of the park is the first to examine its effects on people’s health, and the first in the state to assess how a park’s connection to transit affects its usage.

Norwood says this type of study, called a health impact assessment, can be used to examine the effects on physical well-being of places and policies that people often don’t think of as being connected to health.

Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Public Safety Initiatives

Researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology released the region’s first-ever catalog of responses to the growing opioid epidemic.

Topics covered in the document include techniques for reversing overdoses, systems for prosecuting drug users and sellers, and strategies for addiction prevention.