WBUR Staff

Deborah Becker

Host/Reporter, WBUR

Deborah Becker is a Senior Correspondent and Host at WBUR.  Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

Deb is also a substitute host on several WBUR programs and helps produce and report for various WBUR special projects. Deb also worked on the launch of WRNI, Rhode Island’s NPR News Station, where she served as Morning Edition host and host of the weekly show “Focus Rhode Island.”  Before coming to WBUR, she worked at Monitor Radio, the broadcast arm of The Christian Science Monitor newspaper. She also worked at several Boston area radio stations. Deb has received numerous awards for her hosting, newscasts, reporting, and investigative reporting from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTNDA), Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, National Education Writers Association, Associated Press, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Parent/Professional Advocacy League and United Press International. She has also completed several fellowships on addiction, mental health, juvenile justice and journalism and the law.

Deb studied journalism at St. Bonaventure University. She lives with her family in central Massachusetts.

Recent stories

Christmas In The City Event Expects To Serve 5,000 Homeless Children This Year

December 19, 2014

BOSTON — Christmas in the City is a one-day bash for thousands of homeless children who are staying in shelters in and around Boston. Founder Jake Kennedy expects about 5,000 kids to attend this year.

Homeless Displaced By Long Island Bridge Closure Remain In Flux

December 18, 2014
A man who did not want to be identified sits on a cot in a temporary shelter set up by the Boston Public Health Commission following the Long Island bridge closure. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

BOSTON — Dozens of women have been sleeping in the atrium of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless respite facility. And the emergency shelter housing 250 men in the South End was only meant to be used for four to six weeks — it’s already been 10.

Nantucket Coping With Rash Of Suicides

December 15, 2014

BOSTON — Mental health providers, police and community advocates are holding a forum Monday night on Nantucket to address what some are calling a crisis for the small island town — a rash of suicides in recent weeks.

Boston Identifies Southampton Street Site To House Displaced Homeless

December 15, 2014

BOSTON — A facility at 112 Southampton St. in Boston will be renovated to house the hundreds of homeless people displaced due to the closure of the Long Island bridge, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday.

‘Selma’ Is About ‘The Power Of Voice,’ Director Ava DuVernay Says

December 10, 2014
This photo released by Paramount Pictures shows David Oyelowo, center, as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Carmen Ejogo, right, as Coretta Scott King in the film, "Selma." (Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures)

BOSTON — In 1965 in Selma, Alabama, news cameras captured police using tear gas and billy clubs on civil rights demonstrators. Now that story is being told on the big screen for the first time.

Baker Taps Marylou Sudders To Lead Health And Human Services Department

November 21, 2014
Marylou Sudders (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

BOSTON — Several groups are praising his choice, citing Sudders’ work as the former state mental health commissioner and former head of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

With Liberian Schools Closed Over Ebola, Mass. Nonprofit Puts Lessons On The Radio

November 20, 2014
Kebbeh Sumo and her facilitator, or “study buddy,” Francis Mulbah, work on reading and writing in the EDC-USAID workbook as the class broadcasts on the radio that sits between them. In Liberia, education leaders refer to out-of-school “youth” as anyone between the ages of 13 and 35 who has never attended school or lost out on schooling, in many cases due to the long civil war. (Courtesy EDC)

BOSTON — Twice a day on 10 community radio stations, which reach half the counties in Liberia, recorded lessons developed by the Waltham-based nonprofit Education Development Center teach literacy and numeracy.

New MGH-MIT Partnership Marries Medicine And Tech

November 19, 2014
MIT graduate student Matthew Li, MIT engineering professor Michael Cima, and MGH nephrologist Dr. Herbert Lin with the portable device they’re developing to measure hydration state and blood volume using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — MIT and MGH are partnering with the goal of developing better technologies and methods to diagnose and treat disease.

Long Island Bridge Closure Makes Plight Of Homeless ‘Palpable’

November 12, 2014

BOSTON — Jim Greene, director of Boston’s Emergency Shelter Commission, says condemning the only bridge to the island has created several problems.

UMass Medical School Sending Team To Fight Ebola In Liberia

November 10, 2014
Dr. Rick Sacra, a UMass Medical School faculty member who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia, walks out of a media availability with Chancellor Michael Collins Sept. 4 in Worcester. (Stephan Savoia/AP)

WORCESTER, Mass. — The school recently received a $7.5 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to send doctors and nurses to help care for Ebola patients and reopen health care facilities.

Newcomer Moulton Cruises Past Tisei In 6th

November 05, 2014
Seth Moulton delivers his victory speech in Salem after winning the 6th Congressional District race against Republican Richard Tisei. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

SALEM, Mass. — Iraq war veteran and Democratic political newcomer Seth Moulton defeated Republican Richard Tisei in Tuesday’s election, 55 percent to 40 percent.

Democratic Incumbent Rep. Keating Faces Stiff Challenge

October 31, 2014
John Chapman, left, is challenging U.S. Rep. William Keating in the 9th Congressional District. (Courtesy of the campaigns)

BOSTON — Republican John Chapman, an attorney who served in the Reagan White House and the Romney administration, claims Keating is failing on issues of jobs, immigration and health care.

Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis Remembers Menino

October 30, 2014

BOSTON — Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis discusses the legacy of former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who died Thursday at 7.

Sen. Warren: With Menino’s Death, The City Of Boston Loses A Great Fighter

October 30, 2014

BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren discusses the legacy of former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who died Thursday at 71.

Study Raises Questions About Military Service Causing Chronic Suicidal Tendencies

October 23, 2014

BOSTON — A new study commissioned by the U.S. Army has found that the mental health of soldiers isn’t as different from civilians as the researchers previously thought.

Surgeon General Nominee Murthy Loses Support Of Key Backers

October 22, 2014
Dr. Vivek Murthy is an internist at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His nomination for U.S. surgeon general has stalled, largely due to his advocacy of gun control. (Charles Dharapak/AP/File)

BOSTON — One of the country’s leading medical journals is withdrawing support for a Brigham and Women’s Hospital physician President Obama nominated to become the next surgeon general.

Listen: MGH Chief Of Infectious Disease Discusses Ebola Preparedness

October 16, 2014

BOSTON — How prepared is Massachusetts for Ebola? That was the question during a hearing at the State House Thursday.

It’s Not Business As Usual In Ferguson, Missouri

August 26, 2014
Ferguson police are visiting businesses in an effort to communicate more. (Deborah Becker)

From barber shops to bike shops, WBUR’s Deborah Becker looks at what the protests have meant for businesses.

As Mass. Lawmakers Take Up Addiction Bill, What’s Most Effective Treatment?

July 29, 2014
Hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin. (Toby Talbot/AP)

As Massachusetts lawmakers take up the $20 million bill aimed at addressing the state’s opioid crisis, questions about the best treatments remain.

How Addiction Can Affect Brain Connections

July 10, 2014
Untitled-1

A growing body of research shows that addiction is a complex brain disease that affects people differently. But the research also raises hopes about potential treatments.

Could Medical Marijuana Help Stem The Opiate Addiction Crisis?

June 11, 2014
medical marijuana sign

BOSTON — Marijuana is touted as a treatment for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and anxiety — and some say it may be a way to help alleviate Massachusetts’ opiate crisis. But that idea is causing some tension in the addiction treatment community.

Dookhan Was Drug Lab’s ‘Sole Bad Actor,’ Report Says

March 04, 2014
Annie Dookhan, in late 2012 (Steven Senne, Pool/AP)

BOSTON — “However … deficiencies at the Drug Lab created an atmosphere that allowed for [Annie] Dookhan to commit her crimes,” the state inspector general wrote in his review.

Boston Doctor Chosen For New National Effort To Reform Forensic Testing

February 21, 2014

BOSTON — With the Massachusetts Inspector General expected to release his report on the state drug lab crisis any day now, a local doctor is part of a new national effort to reform forensic testing.

How Mass. Should Deal With Convictions Affected By Dookhan

January 10, 2014
Annie Dookhan leaves Suffolk Superior Court after being arraigned Dec. 20, 2012. (Joe Spurr/WBUR)

BOSTON — Matt Segal of the Massachusetts ACLU discusses the criminal cases that linger as the state investigates the drug lab scandal.

ACLU Asks Mass. High Court For ‘Comprehensive Remedy’ For Drug Lab Cases

January 09, 2014

The court is again being asked for guidance on how to deal with criminal convictions thrown into question by the state drug lab crisis.

Forensic Testing A Problem In Several States

December 31, 2013

Congress could take up legislation in 2014 aimed at improving oversight of the nation’s crime labs. Critics say lawmakers need to take action after several lab scandals.

Reviewing The Annie Dookhan Drug Lab Crisis

December 26, 2013

WBUR’s Deborah Becker, who has been reporting on the drug lab scandal all year, looks back on the case and at the unresolved legal ramifications of chemist Annie Dookhan’s actions.

Dookhan’s Lawyer: She Had A ‘Lapse In Judgment’

November 29, 2013

Convicted former chemist Annie Dookhan has never spoken publicly about the drug lab crisis. We speak with her lawyer, now that she’s in prison.

Forensic Testing Questions Remain After Dookhan Sentence

November 23, 2013

Former chemist Annie Dookhan began her first full day in prison Saturday, but lingering questions persist about state oversight of forensic testing.

Dookhan Pleads Guilty, Gets 3-5 Years In Prison

November 22, 2013
Annie Dookhan, in late 2012 (Steven Senne, Pool/AP)

Disgraced former state chemist Annie Dookhan is on her way to prison for a drug lab crisis that’s created turmoil throughout the Massachusetts criminal justice system.

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