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 WFPL 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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Health Care
6:00 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Interview: Dr. Michael Fine On Four Years Helming Health Dept.

Dr. Michael Fine has led the state’s department of health since 2001. Friday marks his last day at the agency. 

He came to our studios this week to look back on his accomplishments, and offer some advice to his successor, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. Fine told us that, as he leaves office, Rhode Islanders are not as healthy as they could be. But despite the challenges people face, there’s progress to be proud of.

  

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The Pulse
2:22 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

How Healthy Is Your County? Providence Needs Improvement.

Map ranking Rhode Island counties by health outcomes. The lighter colors represent better health outcomes.
Credit County Health Rankings 2015 / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has released its annual County Health Rankings, and Rhode Island's counties (Providence in particular) seem to be faring worse than the national average on a few measures, and much better on a few, too.

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Health Care
8:42 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Public Offers Suggestions For Cutting Medicaid Costs

More than 75 Rhode Islanders packed a small meeting room at the Peacedale Public Library Monday, to share their suggestions for improving Medicaid while cutting costs. It was one in a series of town hall meetings held by the task force charged with finding $90 million dollars in savings in the program. Nurse Patricia Mackie told organizers how meeting a client’s basic needs first can help prevent expensive hospital stays.

“Cash to pay for prescriptions, clothing, furniture from the furniture bank, finding him an apartment.”

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Health Care
3:44 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Bradley Scores Federal Funding To Train New Docs

A technicality in the law has meant that children’s psychiatric hospitals could not compete for graduate medical education funding from the federal government. Other kinds of teaching hospitals, including general children's hospitals, have been able to apply for federal funding to train residents and fellows. But after years of trying, Rhode Island’s Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed have gotten the law changed.

Bradley Hospital’s academic director Dr. Greg Fritz says without the funding, the hospital might have to make cuts to its resident training program.

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Health Care
9:35 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Price Of Life Saving Anti-Overdose Medication Syrockets

A kit with two doses of naloxone. The drug can be injected in a muscle, or squirted up the nose of someone experiencing an overdose.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The price of naloxone, a drug that can reverse a drug overdose, has skyrocketed. That’s affecting efforts to prevent overdose deaths. Michelle MacKenzie runs an overdose prevention program at the Miriam Hospital. She says when her program started buying and distributing the injectable overdose rescue drug naloxone, in 2006, it cost about a dollar a vial. Today it’s $15 a vial.

“So if we had to pay $15 a vial, I mean, last year we distributed upwards of 800 kits, which is 1600 vials of naloxone. We would have been like, 200. I mean, think about that,” said MacKenzie.

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Health Care
4:18 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Are Rhode Islanders Aware Of The Dangers Of Fentanyl?

Rhode Island is still grappling with soaring numbers of drug overdose deaths, many of them involving the painkiller fentanyl. It's not clear the message about the dangers of fentanyl is reaching those at risk.

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The Pulse
2:47 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Happy Match Day, Future Docs!

Today, medical students across the country found out where they'll be spending the next several years of their training, as a resident. It's called Match Day, and it's a celebration for many, the culmination of years of hard work.

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The Pulse
12:54 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Kids' Mental Health Hospitalizations Doubled Since Recession

From the EOHHS' latest Health Indicator Data Book, the graph shows what percent of all kids' hospitalizations was for mental health. It's basically doubled since the recession began.
Credit Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Since about 2007, the percent of all hospitalizations of kids 18 and under for a mental health reason has nearly doubled. According to state public health data, there have been a steady number of total hospitalizations - about 20,000 - for kids statewide. In 2002, the percent admitted for a mental disorder was between six and eight percent for kids with private insurance or Medicaid, and quite low for uninsured kids. Today it's between 10 and 12 percent across the board.

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Health Care
2:23 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

"Reinvent Medicaid" Town Hall Tonight In Woonsocket

The first public meeting about Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plans for Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, is scheduled for tonight in Woonsocket. Over the course of four such town hall meetings, organizers hope to gather ideas for saving the program millions of dollars as well as improving services.

The Economic Progress Institute’s Linda Katz is a member of Raimondo’s Medicaid working group.

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Health Care
3:20 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Hospitals, Nursing Homes Decry Proposed Budget Cuts

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s new budget proposes cutting millions of dollars in payments to hospitals and nursing homes. While their bottom lines have been improving, hospital officials say the cuts could hurt that recovery.

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