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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Local Feature
5:41 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

Killer Drugs: Tackling Opioid Addiction And Overdose

Bottle of Oxycodone Tablets
Kristin Gourlay RIPR

A special report on the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose. We examine how our problem with prescription painkiller and heroin addiction and overdose got so bad, what it's like to respond to this crisis on the front lines, and how communities, and addicts, can recover.

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Health Care
1:58 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Good Samaritan Law Barred 36 Prosecutions In 2013, Says AG

Police departments from across Rhode Island are reporting on the impact of the state’s relatively new Good Samaritan Law. The law shields from prosecution anyone seeking medical assistance for someone who’s experiencing a drug overdose, with exceptions for crimes involving manufacturing and distributing drugs.

The Good Samaritan law – also known as Good Sam - took effect in June 2012. And the idea was to encourage more people to call 911 for a friend who’s overdosing. Before the law, the caller could be arrested on drug possession or other charges.

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Health Care
9:30 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Parsing Out Rhode Island's Overdose Epidemic

Opioids like oxycodone have contributed to the record numbers of overdose deaths in Rhode Island.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

In the first 9 weeks of this year, 55 Rhode Islanders have died from apparent drug overdoses. Overdose has been the number one cause of accidental death in Rhode Island since 2008, but the problem has been drawing more attention in recent days because of the surprising number of deaths this year alone. Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay has been at work on a documentary about drug overdose and addiction since well before the flood of recent headlines.

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RI News
9:30 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Brown 250: Fox Wetle On The Future Of Public Health

Fox Wetle, head of Brown University's School of Public Health.
Credit Courtesy Brown Medicine Magazine

This week, Rhode Island Public Radio is recognizing Brown University’s 250th anniversary with a series of conversations with Brown leaders and alumni.  We’re looking forward at what the future might hold for this institution of higher learning in our backyard.

Today, Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay speaks with Fox Wetle, head of Brown’s new school of public health. She asked Wetle, why start such a school to begin with, at Brown, when the university already has a medical school that’s starting to focus on public health issues, too?

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The Pulse
12:58 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

What Happens To Kids After They Get In Trouble?

That's the gist of the question a Bradley Hasbro Research Center scientist is asking as she embarks on a project to study 400 Rhode Island teens after their first brush with the law.

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The Pulse
12:35 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Reading The Labels On Drugs And Food

Example of the FDA's proposed new food label
Credit US Food and Drug Administration

Do you read the labels on food before you buy it? How about on pill bottles, supplements, and other drugs? If some Rhode Island lawmakers have their way, you could be seeing "country of origin" labels on your pharmaceuticals. But would that change your mind about taking a drug, or make you ask your doctor for a different brand?

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Politics
12:12 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Sen. Reed Seeks To Preserve RI Naval And Sub Spending

Sen. Jack Reed (RI-D) serves on the armed services committee.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

Sen. Jack Reed has begun reviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed military budget. Reed is a member of the senate Armed Services Committee, which will play a role in passing legislation to enact the budget. He says he’s looking carefully for ways to balance the need to trim spending while ensuring the nation’s military can meet the new kinds of security threats it may face in the future.

For example, Reed says he hopes to maintain funding for Rhode Island-based military research.

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Health Care
11:53 am
Wed February 26, 2014

South County Hospital To Enter Affiliation Talks

Rhode Island’s only independent hospital – South County – announced plans to enter talks with a nonprofit chain about a possible affiliation.

According to a statement, South County Hospital will begin exclusive talks with Southcoast Health System to explore a possible alliance. Southcoast is a nonprofit chain of hospitals, including St. Luke’s in New Bedford and Charlton Memorial in Fall River. South County is Rhode Island’s only remaining independent nonprofit hospital serving patients in southern Rhode Island.

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Health Care
9:14 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Health Director To Speak On State Of Health In Rhode Island

RI Health Department Director Dr. Michael Fine will brief lawmakers on the state of the state's health Wednesday.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s department of health director doctor Michael Fine plans to brief state lawmakers Wednesday on the state of the state’s health.

Fine will update lawmakers on the state’s progress on certain health indicators. Smoking rates are down to about 17 percent. New cases of HIV are falling. But since his last briefing for the General Assembly, Fine said, the needle hasn’t moved in the right direction on another major health challenge – drug addiction and overdose.

“Drug overdose death is what’s keeping us up at night. That’s our single biggest slippage," said Fine.

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The Pulse
3:29 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

FY '15 Budget Aims To Rein In Medicaid Spending, Add Integrated Health Services

I'm combing through a Rhode Island Senate Fiscal Office summary of Governor Lincoln Chafee's FY 2015 budget proposal - a handy document that summarizes the item in question and analyzes its potential impacts. In health care, there's lots to digest.

But here are a few items that have caught my eye so far. And keep in mind, these are all still up for debate.

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