Karen Shakerdge

Reporter/Producer - Health

Karen Shakerdge covers health for WXXI News. She has spent the past decade asking people questions about their lives, as a documentary film producer, oral historian and now radio reporter.

Karen spent months producing Exited, a podcast about young people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities navigating life after high school, which she developed with colleagues at NPR’s Story Lab.  

Karen has a bachelor's degree in cultural studies and media studies from The New School and a master's degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

In 2016, the Association of Health Care Journalists recognized her story about liver transplantation with an Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. Her two-part story about donor breast milk banks received an Outstanding Public Affairs Program award from the New York State Broadcasters Association in 2017. 

Ways to Connect


The Trump administration is cutting funding to programs that promote Obamacare – by a lot.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a statement detailing major changes to  budgets for advertising and grants to nonprofits that employ navigators to help people sign up for plans.

By CDC/ James Archer

Clostridium difficile is a common bacteria that can be harmless. But for some – especially older adults taking antibiotics who visit hospitals or nursing homes – it can cause serious infections. A vaccine being studied to prevent these infections is making headway.

Transgender New Yorkers should now have a greater chance of getting medical services covered by insurance.

New York State has issued a letter that says insurance companies cannot deny a claim because a consumer identifies as a gender not typically associated with a service.

This letter comes from the NYS Dept. of Financial Services after it got word that some health insurance companies were denying claims from transgender consumers.

New medical marijuana policies could be coming to New York State in the coming months.

The NYS Department of Health  says the policy changes should make access to medical marijuana easier. 

If these guidelines are adopted New Yorkers would see a few changes to the current medical marijuana setup.

For one - companies that are registered to make and sell medical marijuana would be allowed to make more products.

A new study in Pediatrics, led by a Rochester General Hospital physician, explores reasons why ear infections rates have been dropping. 

To learn more about ear infection rates, researchers with the Rochester General Hospital Research Institute spent 10 years following 615 children in the Rochester area. They gathered ear fluid, ran tests, and tried treatments that stray from the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.

Karen Shakerdge/WXXI

For the first time, veterans with an other than honorable discharge can access mental health services at VA centers. Veterans with this kind of status served in the military but have not been eligible for benefits until now.

A new study finds New York is an outlier in more ways than one when it comes to health care spending.

The latest analysis from The Pew Charitable Trusts “Fiscal 50” series looked at state economic trends over a period of 15 years.

Karen Shakerdge/WXXI

One day when Amy Plouffe was at work, she felt a sharp pain on the left side of her body.

“The side of my rib cage down to my hip and my leg was very, very sore. It felt like I pulled a muscle or something,” Plouffe said from her home in Bloomfield, New York.

Her doctor gave her a prescription to treat a pulled nerve, but it didn’t help. And then, a couple of days later, she felt something in her right breast.

Residents of Wayne and Ontario counties eligible for nursing home care now have another option to try. ElderONE is a new center in Newark, run by Rochester Regional Health, which operates on a national model called Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly or PACE. There are already three such PACE centers in Rochester.


People with serious mental illness who have been arrested for misdemeanor crimes are less likely to end up with additional criminal convictions and stay in treatment longer with the right combination of interventions, according to a new study.