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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Health Care
5:00 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse, One Log In At a Time

Prescription bottles
Credit US Marine Corps / via Wikimedia Commons

For Rhode Islanders between 15 and 44 years old, the leading cause of death is accidental drug overdose, usually involving prescription painkillers.  State health leaders are calling it an epidemic. There’s growing evidence that tracking the number of pills doctors prescribe to potential abusers might ease the problem. But Rhode Island’s fledgling prescription drug monitoring program is just getting started.

The dark side of opiates

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The Pulse
2:36 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Prescribing Painkillers: What the Health Dept. Recommends

Recently, I reported on Rhode Island's fledgling prescription drug monitoring program (listen to that story here). It's a program that's supposed to spot troubling trends in prescription drug misuse. And as you might know, there's plenty of trouble to spot in Rhode Island, where prescription drug overdose death rates have soared along with rates of addiction to narcotic painkillers.

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Health Care
4:20 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Hittner Nominated as Next Health Insurance Commissioner

Kathleen Hittner, MD
Credit Rhode Island Foundation

Governor Lincoln Chafee has nominated Dr. Kathleen Hittner as Rhode Island’s next Health Insurance Commissioner. Hittner must be confirmed by the senate.

Hittner has been tapped to replace outgoing commissioner Chris Koller, who is stepping down to become president of the Milbank Memorial Fund in New York City.

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The Pulse
4:22 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Is Obesity a Disease?

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

UPDATE: The AMA voted yes on calling obesity a disease, despite a committee's recommendations against it.

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Health Care
3:24 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Officials Seek Input on Alzheimer's State Plan

State officials want to make it easier for people living with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them. Nearly 25,000 Rhode Islanders suffer from the disease, and an estimated 60,000 are their unpaid caregivers.

A work group spearheaded by Lt Gov Elizabeth Roberts and Division of Elderly Affairs chief Catherine Taylor has issued a set of recommendations in the state’s first comprehensive Alzheimer’s plan.

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Health Care
12:37 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Thundermist, Kent Partner on Family Medicine Residency Program

Kent Hospital and Thundermist Health Center have teamed up to train new physicians in family medicine and a new kind of health care model called a patient-centered medical home. It's the first community health center-based training of its kind in the state

When medical students graduate, they go on to do a residency program for more on-the-job training. Most residencies take place in hospitals. But that’s changing. This new program will place family medicine residents from Kent Hospital in Warwick’s Thundermist community health center.

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The Pulse
3:05 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Preventing Gun Violence in Spotlight Nationally, But in RI?

Seized guns
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

As far as I can tell from the Rhode Island General Assembly's online legislation tracker, not a single bill dealing with reducing firearm violence has made it out of committee. Most have been recommended "held for further study," a kind of legislative purgatory, although some bills could be revived at the last minute.

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The Pulse
12:32 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Will National Spotlight on Mental Health Help RI?

President Barack Obama kicked off the National Conference on Mental Health yesterday. But can a conference actually accomplish anything? Too soon to tell.

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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Sat June 1, 2013

In Newport, A Public Art Project Moves Past Protests

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and artist Maya Lin
Kristin Gourlay RIPR

The newly redesigned Queen Anne Square officially opened to the public Friday in downtown Newport. The public park’s new look is thanks to well-known artist and architect Maya Lin. But the project faced plenty of protest.

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Arts & Culture
4:06 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Redesigned Queen Anne Square Opens in Newport

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and artist Maya Lin at the dedication of the redesigned Queen Anne Square in Newport
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A newly redesigned Queen Anne Square opened to the public in downtown Newport today, with much fanfare. But the project  nearly divided the city.

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