WXXI AM News

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. 

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Rochester Regional health

Rochester Regional Health has unveiled a new mobile mammography center.

The pink and blue RV-style vehicle will roam Monroe County and seven surrounding counties.

Department of Justice

A Pittsford psychiatrist has been charged with health care fraud after FBI investigators said he forged his medical board certification and charged insurance companies for services he did not provide, according to a complaint filed in federal court.

Prosecutors said Muhammad Cheema regularly changed the codes on patients’ office visits to indicate that he spent more time with them than he actually did, and that he billed telephone appointments as office visits.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

A western New York woman filed suit against Canada Dry over what she said is false advertising for the company’s ginger ales.

Julie Fletcher, of Bolivar in Allegany County, said she relied on Canada Dry’s claims that it was “made from real ginger” to signify its health benefits.

Fletcher said in a court filing that she knew that ginger root could “calm an upset stomach, and she often purchased Canada Dry for her children [when they] were sick, believing that the ginger root in the beverage would soothe their stomach aches.”

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Forty men and women in hospital gowns flitted in and out of the break room at the University of Rochester Medical Center with an energy at odds with their attire.

They were actors, technically called “standardized patients,” who were at URMC to help students prepare for some of the most difficult conversations they will ever have: giving a patient a terminal cancer diagnosis.

As medical students move through their four years of schooling, they sometimes miss out on the less technical, more emotional side of doctoring, said Rob Horowitz, chief of palliative care at URMC. He’s behind an effort to bring more empathy into their training.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

A national farmers market association announced Thursday that it’s staving off the closure of the company that processes food stamp benefits at 40 percent of the farmers markets across the country, including the Rochester Public Market and hundreds of other markets in New York state.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

The company behind the software that turns SNAP benefits into the tokens used at the Rochester Public Market has announced that it’s going out of business.

Novo Dia contacted the Farmers Market Federation of New York last week, alerting the organization that it would cease operations on July 31, and leaving markets across the state scrambling to find a replacement.

The company’s software is essential because there is no substitute, said Margaret O’Neill, who directs programs at the Rochester Public Market and sits on the board of the farmers market federation.

David Topham

Employees at two local nursing homes have some of the lowest flu vaccination rates in western New York.

According to state health department data, barely half of the staff members at the Brightonian in Brighton and the Shore Winds in Rochester were vaccinated against the flu last season.

“That is striking,” said David Topham, director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

A high rate of staff vaccination in nursing homes is important, Topham said, because while getting the flu is an inconvenience for much of the population, for the elderly, it can be deadly.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

A Rochester hospital is the first in the state—and one of the first in the country—to replace a patient’s heart valve and discharge him the same day.

73-year-old John Wood had his first heart operation eight years ago. “It was, rip my chest open and rip my heart open,” he said. Not so this time around. Dr. Jeremiah Depta at Rochester Regional Health put Wood through a procedure called TAVR, short for trans-catheter aortic valve replacement, that had him out of the hospital that afternoon.

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