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.

Ways to Connect

RI Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force

To tackle an epidemic at the population level, you need data. Lots and lots of data. That's especially true with our state, and our nation's, opioid addiction and overdose death epidemic. Scientists need to know who's using? Where? When? Why? How do they get started? Who supplies them? What else were they taking when they died? What are the other factors in their lives or communities contributing to the problem? 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The University of Rhode Island’s new neuroscience institute has hired its first director. She is Paula Grammas, formerly head of the Garrison Institute on Aging at Texas Tech University. Grammas will also teach neuroscience.

Tom Ryan and his family gave $15 million dollars to URI to launch the neuroscience institute. It’s the largest private donation in the institution’s history. 

Rhode Island’s health department is looking for help encouraging doctors to use a database that monitors prescription drugs. The department is adding four new positions to a new team to fight addiction and overdose.

Rhode Island received a four-year, nearly $4 million dollar grant earlier this year to fight rising rates of addiction and overdose deaths. Now the department of health is ready to put that money to use, hiring four new staffers. First, an outreach coordinator to help promote the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Want to take a trip through history with your own personal tour guide? Or better yet, want to send some relatives visiting for the holidays on an adventure? Try our audio walking tour of historic Harrisville, one of the main villages in the town of Burrillville.

Find out what it was like to work in a woolen mill in the late 1800s, meet the industrialist who embraced profit-sharing and paid vacations before most others had even heard of such practices, and follow the rise and fall of a town whose fate has been intertwined with the textile industry - until now.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Westerly Hospital’s parent company, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, is pursuing an affiliation with a bigger organization: Yale New Haven Health System. The deal could bring in millions of dollars from Yale-New Haven.

Connecticut-based L&M acquired Westerly Hospital a little more than two years ago. And since then, consolidation and competition in the health care marketplace have only ramped up. Yale New Haven Health System is a bigger fish in this regional pond, with three hospitals and about $3.4 billion dollars in revenue.

The head of HealthSourceRI is stepping down to become director of Medicaid. Anya Rader Wallack starts her new job on Monday.

Former Medicaid Director Deidre Gifford announced her resignation in September. Anya Rader Wallack will take her place on November second. That makes her tenure as head of HealthSource RI, the state’s health insurance marketplace just shy of a year.


Starting next week, Rhode Islanders have another chance to get health insurance through HealthSource RI, the state’s version of Obamacare. There are new health care plans available, but customer service glitches have been a problem in the past.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

This week, we’re bringing you stories from Rhode Island’s picturesque Northwest. They’re part of our series One Square Mile: Burrillville.

We've put together an audio walking tour of one of Burrillville’s most historic villages, Harrisville. Here's an excerpt. Your guide is Betty Mencucci, president of the Burrillville Historical and Preservation Society.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s historic audio walking tour of Harrisville, plus a map and photos of each stop on the tour, will be available for download from our web site later this week.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s president and CEO Peter Andruszkiewicz has announced his retirement, effective May 2016. 


He’ll stay on with the state’s largest insurer while it conducts a search for his successor. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island officials say that, during his five year tenure, Andruszkiewicz has focused on boosting access to primary care and better coordinating members’ health care.

He’s currently participating in several state initiatives to reform health care payment models and improve health care delivery.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

As part of our series One Square Mile: Burrillville, we're taking you on an insider's tour of a venerable Burrillville institution, Zambarano Hospital. In 1906, the Wallum Lake campus opened as a tuberculosis sanatorium. Today, the patients, and the times, have changed, but a sense of community remains.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Medicaid officials testified Monday before House and Senate fiscal advisers about how much they expect to spend on medical assistance for the poor in Rhode Island. Officials expect a small deficit and growing enrollment.

Twice a year, Medicaid officials report how much they’ve spent and what they think they’ll spend in the coming fiscal year. It’s part of the budget process. Highlights from Monday’s testimony include a projected deficit of $5.7 million dollars for this fiscal year. That’s tiny compared to total Medicaid spending, projected to be about $2.3 billion dollars.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A large medical practice is being recognized for its effort to save money and improve patient care. Coastal Medical has earned recognition from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The high rating comes for Coastal Medical’s shared savings program, a new model of paying for health care under Obamacare. Here’s how it works: Coastal Medical has contracts with several health insurers that say, 'if you keep patients healthier, and save us money, we’ll split the savings with you.' 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy is in town speaking with the addiction and mental health community. 

Kennedy has been advocating for better and more accessible treatment for addiction and mental illness for years. In 2013 he launched the Kennedy Forum to help focus those efforts.

RI Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force

Can Rhode Island cut opioid deaths by a third in three years? That’s the goal of the state’s new strategic plan on addiction and overdose.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s  two largest health care systems have resumed talks about a possible affiliation. It’s not the first time Lifespan and Care New England have hinted at a future relationship, but most of the details remain under wraps.  For this week’s The Pulse, I explore the ups and downs of a potential partnership for the hospitals and for patients with news director Elisabeth Harrison.