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

Hundreds of Rhode Islanders have died from drug overdoses this year – a number that has barely budged from last year, despite numerous state and other efforts to stop it. One of Governor Raimondo’s initiatives was to convene a task force to tackle this crisis. 

Aaron Read / RIPR

The House Judiciary Committee has passed a bill that would protect people who call 911 for someone experiencing an overdose. The State Senate already passed the controversial bill.

The bill would encourage bystanders to call 911 in case someone is overdosing. The bill would offer the caller immunity from prosecution for using or possessing illicit substances like heroin. It would also protect them from being arrested for a probation or parole violation.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Ten years ago this month, Rhode Island legalized medical marijuana. Today, nearly 13,000 patients are enrolled, not to mention more than 2000 caregivers. And 100 new applications arrive every week. Is it sustainable?

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A new General Assembly session is underway, and already the House and Senate are casting votes on critical issues. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Kristin Gourlay has been checking in with leaders in both bodies to find out what their health care legislation priorities are. 

Kristin Gourlay / ripr

Sixty thousand more Rhode Islanders - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island commercial health insurance members -  will be enrolled in health care projects designed to save money and improve care. 

US Dept. of Health and Human Services / Food and Drug Administration

Rhode Islanders who want to follow the federal government’s new dietary guidelines may find it a challenge, especially when it comes to sugar. Here’s why.

The guidelines recommend you limit your daily intake of added sugar – ingredients like corn syrup or fructose, not normally found in fresh food – to 10 percent.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

So-called Good Samaritan legislation now faces a vote in the Rhode Island House, after winning quick passage in the Senate. The bill would protect people who help drug users dying from an overdose.     

The Good Samaritan law would enable bystanders to administer a dose of the overdose rescue drug Narcan without worrying about a law suit. It would also protect people who call 911 from being charged with drug possession. 

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A new legislative session has begun. And that means health committees on both sides of the General Assembly will no doubt be filling up calendars with legislation to consider. What should be on those calendars? What matters to you? What needs fixing? What was left undone last year but should be tackled again this year? Do some laws need updating, tweaking?

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

This New Year’s Eve, we wanted to find out how some Rhode Islanders plan to celebrate. At Providence Place Mall, we found revelers browsing for party clothes and mall workers trying to find a little peace on their lunch breaks.  

At the mall kiosk where she works, Providence resident Hena Krinsky was philosophical about the New Year, “I can’t believe a whole year has passed already. It kinda sucks. Time’s flying!”

Krinsky had a lock of brown hair wrapped around a curling iron as she prepared for a night of bar-hopping, but she planned to stay away from bigger cities.

Kristin Gourlay

Rhode Island is entering the second year of a program that repays medical school loans for doctors in underserved areas. The program, which is also open to nurses, aims to attract more doctors to the places that need them the most.

Last year, applicants won an average of $40,000 in repayments for agreeing to serve two years in a needy community. Rhode Island Health Center Association CEO Jane Heyward says the program is attractive to medical school graduates with huge loan debts. But it could be a boon for community health centers, too.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Department of Health has officially ended its symptom monitoring program for people returning from West Africa. The decision comes as the World Health Organization declares Guinea Ebola-free.

Christophe Dang Ngoc Chan / Wikimedia Commons

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I like to tie up loose ends before the first of January. What didn't I get to? How can I plan ahead to make it happen in the new year?


One of the joys of the Internet is easy access, on demand to plenty of movies and TV shows. The only question is: what's worth watching, or even binge watching? For this week’s The Pulse, I've got suggestions for some television gems you may have missed.  Surprise! They all have something to do with health care. And while it's a bit of a departure from my usual reporting, I think watching these medical TV shows might even be good for your health. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s child welfare agency will be canceling millions of dollars in contracts. The Department of Children, Youth, and Families says the change won’t disrupt services for kids in their care. But the system is in the midst of major changes.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Islanders hail from all over the world, and so too do the dishes and traditions we practice during the holidays. To sample some of this season’s international flavors, Rhode Island Public Radio sent reporters into several communities. Kristin Gourlay begins our story at a Liberian restaurant. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison and producer Nate Mooney also contributed to this piece.