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


A candlelight vigil on Monday will remember those who have died from drug overdoses. The vigil comes at a time when Rhode Island is struggling to turn the tide on heroin and prescription drug addiction.

In the past five years, Rhode Island has lost more than 1,000 people to accidental drug overdoses. An advocacy group called Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts has organized tonight’s vigil to remember them, and support their friends and loved ones.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Attorney General is appealing to Superior Court to stop rate increases for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island customers, saying the rate hikes are too steep.

State Health Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Hittner recently issued decisions about how much health insurance rates could increase for 2016. Most increases were in the single digits.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health department canceled a community meeting about the HPV vaccine planned for Thursday at the Middletown Public Library. A department spokeswoman says staff have been threatened online. The department decided to cancel the event after consulting with State Police. 

Rhode Island now requires boys and girls entering seventh grade to get the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical and other kinds of cancers. Some Rhode Islanders have protested the vaccine mandate. They can request an exemption. 

From the Annals of Internal Medicine article: Restrictions for Medicaid Reimbursement of Sofosbuvir for the Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in the United States / Authors: Soumitri Barua; Robert Greenwald, JD; Jason Grebely, PhD; Gregory J. Dore, MBBS, PhD; Tracy Swan; and Lynn E. Taylor, MD

Hepatitis C may not take as big of a chunk out of the state’s Medicaid budget as previously projected. One reason? A majority of patients who requested treatment have been denied.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

 Zaven Khachaturian, Ph.D, believes we can find a way to prevent Alzheimer's Disease by 2020 - if the nation commits to that goal and rallies the resources to achieve it. This widely recognized pioneer of Alzheimer's research compares achieving this goal to putting a man on the moon, or mapping the human genome. What once sounded impossible was accomplished in 10 years.  

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Art and medicine have long been intertwined - from the earliest depictions of human anatomy to modern art therapy. A new art exhibit (“Interstice: Memory, Mind, and Alzheimer's Disease," open through September 9 in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University) takes that relationship in a new direction. A neuroscientist and artist teamed up with fellow artists to explore what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A children’s advocacy organization has updated its legal complaint against Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The group Children’s Rights says things are not getting better, and in fact, they’re getting worse.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A group of Rhode Islanders plan to join a national day of protest Saturday morning against Planned Parenthood.  Rhode Island Right to Life and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence say they will be among those calling on lawmakers to stop public funding for the health care organization.

 The protests come after secretly filmed videos emerged last month of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of fetal tissue for medical research. Anti-abortion activists claim the group is using federal funding to illegally traffic body parts.

Child and Family RI

Rhode Island puts too many children in group homes. Everyone agrees that’s bad.

But dig a little deeper, and it seems Rhode Island does have some alternatives: therapists, family case managers, parenting coaches, visiting nurses. Lots of nonprofits serving children and families. So what's the disconnect? Here's a look in my reporter's notebook.

Health insurance rates in Rhode Island will go up once again for most consumers in 2016. The state’s health insurance commissioner has made a final decision about those rates for individuals and businesses.

Rates for all United Health plans are going up –large employers, will pay about four and a half percent more, and small business plans will rise just over seven percent. Individuals with a Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island policy will pay an average of $312 dollars a month, up nearly six percent.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo’s overdose prevention task force convenes its first meeting Wednesday. The group has been asked to develop a statewide plan to curb the epidemic of addiction and overdose.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

For the past week, we’ve been focusing on "Children in Crisis," our series about Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The agency is struggling to cope with an influx of neglect and abuse cases and has run into financial trouble. Now, we explore how a national "home visiting"  program aims to keep families from entering the system in the first place.

Immunization Action Coalition

Protestors are asking the state health department to abolish the requirement that all seventh graders receive the HPV vaccine, which can prevent cervical and other kinds of cancers. Parents can request an exemption. But the groups say they’re still opposed to the mandate. The health department has added additional community meeting dates to respond to public concerns.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families is struggling with an influx of children who have been abused and neglected. Many of their cases go before Rhode Island’s Family Court, where judges play a key role in deciding when children can return to their homes. The drama of lives in upheaval unfolds every day of the week in the Garrahy Judicial complex, downtown Providence.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Lisa (we've changed her name to protect her privacy)  spent years trying to get her daughter back, after the Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families removed her.