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

The state health department must approve the proposal, but officials are seeking public input before making a decision.

More than 100 people gathered at a community center in Pawtucket to express their views on the proposed closure. Most urged health department officials to deny Memorial’s request because of their belief that the hospital provides women a birth experience like no other. Stacey Nichols had both of her children at Memorial Hospital.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State lawmakers will consider several bills designed to fight opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services has scheduled a suite of bills designed to address the state’s ongoing heroin and prescription drug crisis. One would mandate insurance coverage for at least 90 days of inpatient addiction treatment for patients who meet certain standards. That’s in contrast to the 30 days or less most insurers allow. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

State representatives are considering bills that would require the state Department of Health to hold public hearings before implementing new immunization requirements. That proposal follows protests last year over the new requirement that 7th graders get the HPV, or human papillomavirus, vaccine.

State health officials typically convene a panel of experts and follow guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before making vaccination decisions. Interested citizens can sign up to be notified about proposed new requirements.

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

  The Rhode Island Department of Health continues to monitor pregnant women who have traveled to areas of the world affected by the Zika virus.

The agency reports monitoring about eight to 10 women a week on average. That means health care providers keep tabs on whether any symptoms develop, and blood samples are typically collected and sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.

Coalition to Save Memorial Birthing Center

Protestors gathered outside Care New England headquarters today, opposing plans to close the birthing center at Memorial Hospital. The health care organization announced plans to close the unit to trim costs. But, the state's health department has to approve that plan first.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

There’s a good chance your doctor is working towards creating something called a patient-centered medical home. It’s designed to offer patients more coordination and convenience. But can it make patients healthier?

Memorial Hospital

Reactions continue to the potential shuttering of Memorial Hospital’s birthing center. Nurse midwives who work with the center say they’re concerned about narrowing options for pregnant women.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave chat about PBN's winter survey of local businesses. Chalk it up to a shaky global economy or rising health care costs, businesses are feeling queasy about their local prospects.

 

When to listen: 
You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50 p.m.

Kaiser Family Foundation

It's no surprise that politicians play fast and loose with the facts and terms that support their positions. But health care seems to get so jargon-y, so vague in the mouths of candidates it's laughable. So here are the results of my modest attempt to translate just a couple of the leading candidates' proposals into everyday language, with some possible consequences if implemented. In alphabetical order:

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Memorial Hospital plans to shut down several units at its Pawtucket location. Hospital officials announced births will move either to Kent Hospital or Women and Infants. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Brown University researchers have established a link between new cases of HIV and the use of online hook-up sites among men who have sex with men. The researchers are calling on sites like Grindr to help curb the spread of the disease.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Philip Chan and public health researcher Amy Nunn, Ph.D suspected a link between apps like Grindr and new cases of HIV, but until now they didn’t have the data to back that claim.

Jake Bissaro / The Providence Center

Mental health services for children can be difficult to access in Rhode Island. But a new public-private partnership is trying to make those services easier to access at some Providence public schools.

 

Behavioral health clinicians from the nonprofit Providence Center will be on hand at two elementary schools and four middle schools in Providence. Clinicians from a company called Behavioral Health Services, Inc. will also provide clinical and technical support to make the program work.

Atisha Kadampa Buddhist Center

Hospitals and doctors have made a concerted effort to control their patients’ pain over the past 10 years. That’s led, in part, to epidemic rates of painkiller and heroin addiction. On this week’s The Pulse, we hear from Buddhist teacher Kyle Davis about a different approach to pain and suffering.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to warn consumers about the danger of combining prescription painkillers with anti-anxiety medications. That combination has fueled a rising number of accidental drug overdose deaths.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Hasbro Children’s Hospital researcher Dr. Megan Ranney says nearly a quarter of the teens in a recent study reported signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Ranney surveyed more than 350 teenagers who landed in Hasbro’s emergency room for various reasons. She says she was surprised by the high rate of PTSD symptoms, and she believes it relates to cyber-bullying.

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