Kristin Gourlay

Health Care Reporter

Kristin Espeland Gourlay joined Rhode Island Public Radio in July 2012. Before arriving in Providence, Gourlay covered the environment for Louisville, KY’s NPR station. And prior to that, she was a reporter and host for Wyoming Public Radio.

Gourlay earned her MS from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and her BA in anthropology from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR.

She’s won multiple national, regional, and local awards for her reporting, and her work has aired on NPR and stations throughout the country. She’s particularly proud of the variety of protective clothing she’s had to wear on assignment, including helmets, waders, safety goggles, and snowshoes.

Originally from Chicago, IL, Gourlay loves music, cooking, and spending time with her family.

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The Pulse
12:01 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

At The Crossroads: CVS Inks Exclusive Deal With Gilead For Hep C Drugs

Sovaldi costs $1000 a pill.
Credit Gilead Sciences

Woonsocket-based pharmacy giant CVS has signed a deal with drug maker Gilead to offer its hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, exclusively, for treating hepatitis C.

The deal covers patients enrolled in drug benefit plans managed by CVS. And the news comes on the heels of AbbVie's announcement of a deal with CVS competitor Express Scripts, which will offer AbbVie's hepatitis C treatment, Viekira Pak, exclusively.

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The Pulse
12:08 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Parsing HealthSource RI Enrollment Data

HealthSource RI is out with its most recent enrollment data.

It looks like the state's online health insurance marketplace kept two-thirds (71%) of enrollees from last year and gained a quarter more (about 5,000 new enrollees). So with total enrollments for 2015 at 22,910, HealthSource RI didn't lose a bunch of customers but didn't gain a whole lot either.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

New Law Takes Effect To Keep Guns From Seriously Mentally Ill

A new law takes effect today aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of the seriously mentally ill. The state will now begin sending more information to a national criminal background check database.

Anyone who wants to buy a gun from a gun store must submit to a background check. Store owners run the buyer’s information through a few national databases, including the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. Until recently, Rhode Island shared only criminal records with NICS.

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Health Care
12:00 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Documenting The Evolution Of Emergency Medicine

A new documentary about the evolution of emergency medicine airs tonight (MONDAY) on Rhode Island public television. The documentary was produced by a Rhode Island-born ER doctor and inspired by Rhode Island Hospital’s emergency medicine chief.

Before the 1970s, there was no 911. No ambulance service like we know today. Emergency medicine, says Dr. Mark Brady, wasn’t even a specialty until 1979.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Brown Researcher: Hospital Quality Improvements Reduce Disparities

A rising tide lifts all boats. That’s the finding of a Brown University researcher who investigated whether hospital quality improvements brought better care for minority patients as well as white.

Brown University professor Amal Trivedi wanted to know if improved standards at hospitals have helped all patients equally.  Medicare asked hospitals to start reporting certain quality measures in 2005. Trivedi said that at that time, there were significant disparities between the care whites and minorities got at hospitals around the country.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Brown Med Students "Decode" Ferguson Evidence

Brown University
Credit RIPR FILE

The grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri reviewed thousands of pages of evidence surrounding the shooting death of an unarmed black man. Among those pages: lots of inscrutable medical terminology from an autopsy and other medical reports. That’s why a group of Brown University medical students decided to translate that jargon into everyday language. Third year medical student Rian Yalamanchili led the “Ferguson Decoded” project.

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Shots - Health News
3:18 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Costly Hepatitis C Drugs Threaten To Bust Prison Budgets

Dr. Michael Poshkus treats inmates with hepatitis C at the John J. Moran Medium Security facility in Cranston, R.I. Some 12 to 35 percent of inmates nationwide are afflicted with the chronic liver disease.
Kristin Gourlay RIPR

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:45 pm

Every week, Dr. Michael Poshkus visits the John J. Moran Medium Security prison in Cranston, R.I., to see patients infected with hepatitis C.

Until recently, their only treatment option was a weekly injection in the stomach for at least a year. It worked less than half the time and caused debilitating side effects. But everything has changed.

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Health Care
4:18 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

ER-Based Coaches Connect Overdose Survivors To Treatment

An empty bed in the Rhode Island Hospital emergency department.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A six-month-old program to help overdose survivors get connected with addiction treatment is getting some results, according to the state’s behavioral health agency. The program puts recovery coaches on call in emergency rooms throughout Rhode Island to reach out to survivors before they’re sent home.

The recovery coaches are trained peer counselors, in recovery from addiction themselves. They try to link overdose survivors with addiction treatment, and educate them about preventing another overdose.

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The Pulse
4:35 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

A Healthy Holiday Wish List

Here's my holiday wish list for all Rhode Islanders:

May you get the health care you need and deserve, at a price you can afford.

May you find the path to a healthier life well-lit and accessible, and begin to or keep trudging it.

And may you (miraculously) not gain any weight while indulging in treats this season.

Happy holidays, and see you next year!

The Pulse
2:20 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

At The Crossroads: Despite More Cases, Funding For Hep C Pales Next To HIV

Graph from the Rhode Island Public Health Association brief "Hepatitis C: Threat and Opportunity."
Credit Rhode Island Public Health Association / Rhode Island Department of Health

A couple of years ago, I read an issue brief written by Brad Brockmann with the Rhode Island Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights. The brief, called "Hepatitis C: Threat and Opportunity," depicted the number of HIV cases against the number of Hepatitis C cases in Rhode Island in 2007 - 2008 in a bar graph. The bar for the number of hep C cases was much, much higher.

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