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 making music, cooking, and spending time with her husband, daughter, dogs, and cat.

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The Pulse
6:00 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Recap: Most Significant Health Legislation this Session

Lawmakers wrapped up the work of the 2013 General Assembly at Rhode Island state capitol last week.
Credit RIPR

The 2013 session of the Rhode Island General Assembly has officially,finally, wrapped up. With that, we turn to Rhode Island Public Radio’s health care reporter Kristin Gourlay for a recap of some of the most significant health legislation to pass and not pass  and how it might affect you.

DAVE: So much happening in health care now in Rhode Island and nationally – from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to rising health care prices. Did legislators tackle any of these big issues this session?

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Health Care
5:51 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Shigella Bacteria Sickens 92, Hospitalizes 16

Shigella bacteria in a lab sample
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Rhode Island Department of Health says a bacteria called shigella is responsible for sickening 92 people with bloody diarrhea, sending many to the emergency room and hospitalizing 16, including children. All had been swimming in a lake in Burrillville. 

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Health Care
5:00 am
Tue July 9, 2013

New Hope for Rare but Deadly Mosquito-Borne EEE

The EEE virus, extracted from the Culiseta melanura mosquito.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A Rhode Island Hospital neurologist says there’s evidence that early, aggressive treatment can help the unlucky few who catch Eastern Equine Encephalitis each year in the United States. Neurointensivist (a neurologist with additional training in intensive neurological conditions) Dr. Linda Wendell has published an account of the hospital’s successful treatment of a young man with EEE.    

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Health Care
5:40 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

85 Now Reported Sick from Burrillville Lake

Spring Lake Beach facility in Burrillville, RI.
Credit Town of Burrillville

New reports of illness are still coming in as Rhode Island Department of Health officials look into an outbreak of bloody diarrhea among people who swam in Spring Lake in Burrillville on July 4th. So far, 85 people have been reported ill, and nine admitted to the hospital, according to the department. But so far, there's no clue about what specifically made them sick. Water test results have not found any bacteria but the department is re-testing. Results from those tests and from patients' stool samples could provide more answers tomorrow.

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The Pulse
5:23 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

When Summer Makes You Sick

Or, rather, summer activities, like swimming, or hiking through the woods.

To wit:

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Health Care
5:00 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Brown Researchers Find Genetic Clue for Autism

Researcher Eric Morrow and his team found an intriguing pattern in the DNA of 500 children with autism and an intellectual disability.
Credit Mike Cohea / Brown University

Brown University researchers say they have discovered a possible genetic variation that can lead to autism and an intellectual disability. What’s more, the discovery may explain why one sibling can be affected while another isn’t.

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The Pulse
2:03 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

New Benefits for Temporary Caregivers, New Parents

In its final hours, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a new law that will, in its first year, provide up to four weeks of "temporary wage replacement benefits" to workers who take time off to care for a sick family member or to bond with a new child - biological, adopted, foster, or otherwise.  The bill is awaiting the governor's signature, which it's expected to receive, and would go into effect in January 2014.

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Health Care
1:14 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Headed for the Beach? Water Quality's Improving.

Less than 5% of water samples at Misquamicut State Beach exceeded national bacterial standards in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new report about Rhode Island’s beaches finds steady improvements in the water quality since 2008. Health officials closed beaches for fewer days last year than it did in 2011, and more improvements are in the works.

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Health Care
4:28 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Hittner Confirmed as RI's Next Health Insurance Commissioner

Dr. Kathleen Hittner is Rhode Island's next commissioner of health insurance.
Credit Rhode Island Foundation

Kathleen Hittner, MD has been confirmed as Rhode Island’s next commissioner of health insurance. She replaces Chris Koller, who left office last week for a new position in New York. Hittner is a former Lifespan and Miriam hospital executive, as well as a former chief anesthesiologist for two hospitals. She says she intends to carry on Koller’s work.

“I have met with Chris Koller three times, going over his initiatives, so I understand what’s going on," Hittner said. "There isn’t anything Chris was doing that I think shouldn’t be continued.”

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The Pulse
2:09 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Assembly OKs Miller's Health Care Reform Bill

Cranston and Providence Senator Josh Miller headed the senate health committee this session.
Credit joshuamiller.org

What? More health care reform? Isn't the federal government spearheading that? Well, yes, but states are engaged in their own reforms, and Rhode Island's got a particularly big appetite for it.

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