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

People who are in recovery from addiction or mental illness might be open to sharing their story with anyone who asks. Or they might not. There's still enough stigma and misunderstanding about the disease of addiction that keeping it private might feel safer.

The ADA for Addiction And Mental Illness
Just in case, though, there's the Americans with Disabilities Act. It protects people who are in recovery from or treatment for addiction or mental illness from being excluded from certain opportunities or having to disclose private health information.

National Institutes of Health

A new $1.6 million dollar federal grant will help the University of Rhode Island train more nurse practitioners. The idea is to help community health centers, in particular, care for more patients.

URI will use the money to hire new teachers and give students more practice in community clinics and patient homes. The goal is to graduate 109 new nurse practitioners in three years.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Two officials from the state's child welfare agency have been placed on paid administrative leave. They include head of the Rhode Island Training School and the associate director of financial management for DCYF.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Changes to diet and exercise can have a big impact on health. But sticking with a new regimen can be tough. Scientists are wondering whether a practice called mindfulness can help. Now a team of Brown University researchers has won a multi-million dollar federal grant to find out.

National Institutes of Health

When Rhode Island health officials rolled out a new immunization requirement for seventh graders this fall, they weren’t expecting controversy. The vaccine for HPV, or human papillomavirus, protects against a sexually transmitted infection that causes most cervical, anal, and throat cancers. But a small but vocal group of opponents say the state shouldn’t mandate the HPV vaccine, and they’re taking the fight to the statehouse.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Islanders shared their experiences with the state’s health care system Tuesday night at a community center in Warwick. It’s the first of two public listening sessions. State health officials say the comments will be reflected in a plan to improve health care.


Providence-based biotech company NABsys has shut down after nearly 10 years in operation. 

 Early investments came from a state-backed technology fund and Point Judith Capital, a company Gov. Gina Raimondo once ran. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

An advocacy group opposing the new HPV vaccine requirement for seventh graders is raising money to bring the fight to the state capital. Their efforts may hit a roadblock.

 A spokeswoman says some House republicans plan to pre-file legislation aimed at reversing a new HPV vaccine requirement for middle school students. Representatives Robert Nardolillo (R-Coventry) and Justin Price (R-Hopkinton, Exeter, Richmond) have spoken against the new requirement.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State health officials kick off a series of public hearings Tuesday to learn about Rhode Islanders’ personal experiences with health care. It’s part of a government initiative to make health care better and less costly.

Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian will host the listening session at Buttonwoods Community Center. It’s the first of two sessions planned to let Rhode Islanders weigh in about their experiences using and paying for health care.

Rhode Island Public Health Institute

A new initiative of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute at Brown University aims to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into low income neighborhoods. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

 Accidental drug overdoses kill more Rhode Islanders than car accidents, or any other kind of accident. And that’s been the trend for a while now. But there’s new energy – and new resources – to help combat this public health problem. This week on The Pulse, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Kristin Gourlay chats with news director Elisabeth Harrison about the state’s new overdose prevention work and the federal dollars that could help sustain it.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s department of health will once again release weekly statistics on accidental drug overdose deaths – instead of monthly. The department has struggled to whittle down a backlog of investigations while keeping the public informed.

Screen shot / Rhode Island Department of Health

The state health department has launched an online survey for Rhode Islanders to rank their health care experiences. The results will be used as part of an effort to bring down costs and boost quality. They’ll also help officials decide whether new healthcare facilities and services are needed.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A spokesman for Rhode Island's Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families confirms an investigation is underway, but officials remain mum on the reasons why state police are looking into the child welfare agency's finances.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR


As school gets underway across Rhode Island, thousands of kids will sign up to play sports. And with that comes the risk of concussion.