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

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Fewer elementary and middle school students in Rhode Island are obese. That’s according to a new analysis from Rhode Island Kids Count. But the needle isn’t budging on obesity in high schoolers.


Individuals and families can enroll in health insurance plans through HealthSource RI starting November 15. If you're new to the exchange or already have coverage through it, here are a few things you should know about what's new for this year.

Open enrollment for Rhode Island’s online health insurance marketplace, HealthSource RI, begins November 15. Individuals who are already enrolled must renew their coverage.

Individuals and families who enrolled in a health insurance plan on HealthSource RI the last time around must renew their coverage or pick a new plan by December 23rd. Why? One reason is that their coverage will not automatically renew. Another , said Health Source RI head Christine Ferguson is the choices have changed.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

His campaign for mayor of Providence may be over. But Buddy Cianci says he’s still not satisfied with how the race was run. On his radio show this  afternoon on WPRO, Cianci told listeners he plans to go forward with legal action against a group of opponents. He says they colluded against him illegally.

Jake Harper / RIPR

Hepatitis C infects an estimated five million Americans, nearly 20-thousand Rhode Islanders among them. And most of them don’t know it. But many are about to find out. It takes about 20 years for most people to notice any symptoms from hepatitis C, and it was about that long ago most people got infected. Now doctors in Rhode Island and throughout the country are noticing a wave of patients with the kind of advanced liver disease hepatitis C can cause.                                                                               

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Ebola continues to dominate headlines, across the nation and here in Rhode Island. This week the state’s hospitals began conducting Ebola preparedness exercises, and all eyes are on a nurse in Maine who defied a quarantine order. But for the thousands of Liberians living in Rhode Island, the real stories are unfolding, often tragically, back home. Now, many Liberians say the public’s fear of Ebola is affecting daily life.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

School nurse teachers in Rhode Island say they need to have an opioid overdose rescue drug called Narcan on hand in schools. That’s one of several findings of a first-ever survey of school nurses about the use of opioids like prescription painkillers in schools and experiences with overdoses in schools. Overdose educator and University of Rhode Island pharmacy professor Jef Bratberg presented the findings. He says it’s not surprising that schools are affected.

The Rhode Island health department says it’s conducting exercises with hospitals to test their readiness for Ebola patients.

In a weekly update to reporters, state health officials say there are no cases of Ebola in Rhode Island, although they have investigated – and ruled out – "a number of" possible cases since August.

Providing medical assistance to low income Rhode Islanders will cost the state more than projected. One of the major factors behind the increase is the cost of two new drugs.                   

CVS Health

Lifespan hospitals and CVS pharmacy’s walk-in health clinics say they’ve agreed to share patients’ electronic medical records.

Lifespan is Rhode Island’s biggest health system, and it’s in the midst of implementing a brand new electronic medical records system. A spokeswoman for Lifespan says there’s no timeline yet for the collaboration with CVS Health (formerly CVS Caremark), and the details still have to be worked out. But sometime after the system is live, the two organizations will be able to share information about patients.

A vigil is planned Monday evening for two women who died homeless, within days of each other, in the same cemetery. The vigil is meant to memorialize the women and prevent more such deaths.

Wendy Tallo and Irene Weh were both chronically homeless. And both women were found dead in Grace Church Cemetery in Providence, just recently. Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless head Jim Ryczek  says a candlelight vigil at the cemetery will not only honor the women’s lives.

The Rhode Island Department of Health says it’s currently monitoring several recent arrivals from West Africa to guard against Ebola. But some members of the West African community want the health department to do more.

Addiction usually leaves a wake of chaos, and all kinds of casualties - marriages, jobs, health. Most tragically, the current crisis of opioid addiction (to prescription painkillers and heroin) in Rhode Island has cost too many lives. Well over 160 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental opioid overdoses so far this year. Hundreds more might have joined them had it not been for the rescue drug naloxone.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Islanders go to the polls in less than a week. Their choices, the state’s new leaders, will have to contend with the state’s budget shortfall. A huge chunk of that budget goes to health care.  

So, as part of our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay asks some of the state’s top health care stakeholders what steps those newly elected leaders can take to help.


A union representing thousands of nurses in Rhode Island released the results of a member survey about hospital preparedness on Monday. About 360 members responded. And the union says half said they hadn’t received any formal communications about Ebola preparations from their hospitals. 92 percent said they weren’t sure whether they had – or didn’t have - the proper equipment to protect themselves. But hospitals say they’re doing all they can to keep workers safe.