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

Megan Hall / RIPR

As Republicans prepare to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a clear replacement, many Rhode Islanders are concerned about their future. Freelancers, artists, and adjunct professors are in a particularly precarious position, because they don’t have access to employer-sponsored health insurance. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island Hospital has filed an updated application with the state’s Health Department to expand its obstetrical unit. The hospital wants to offer seamless access to care for female patients, but some fear a duplication of services with Women and Infants Hospital.

FLICKR

Once again, Rhode Island lawmakers plan to introduce legislation that would legalize recreational use of marijuana. The legislators unveil their proposal today at the Capitol. 

The news comes on the heels of Massachusetts’ recent legalization of the drug (although retail sales have been pushed back to 2018). But lawmakers in Rhode Island have been trying to pass a similar measure in the Ocean State for years. Sponsors include Senator Josh Miller and Representative Scott Slater.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families has a new director. Doctor Trista Piccola has been chosen to lead the social service agency. Governor Gina Raimondo plans to submit her name to the Rhode Island Senate today for their consent. A statement from the governor’s office says Piccola has more than 20 years of experience in child welfare. She began her career as a Protective Services Case Manager in Ohio, and was most recently head of child welfare services for Cleveland.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has sent a letter to US House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging him to reconsider repealing the Affordable Care Act. Raimondo argues the ACA is working in Rhode Island, and that repealing it would undo progress in insuring more Rhode Islanders.

What’s happening in health care in Rhode Island, Jan. 10, 2017:

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo may announce some changes in leadership in the state’s office of health and human services this week. The Governor is frustrated with ongoing problems with the state’s new online benefits system, UHIP.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Nursing facilities are implementing new regulations designed to give patients more control over their care. It's the first time the regulations have been updated in decades.

Newport Art Museum

The Newport Art Museum has received an anonymous donation of nearly $5 million dollars, more than tripling its endowment. The museum plans to use the money for new visitor programs and more.

Judith Stillman

A Rhode Island College artist-in-residence is helping refugees tell their stories through art. Pianist and composer Judith Stillman says art can help audiences engage with otherwise unimaginable tragedies.

Stillman’s project is called Refugee Artistry. She accepts submissions by and about refugees in all kinds of media, including poetry and music. And Stillman says she’s working with Rhode Island-based refugee artists on an upcoming performance. Stillman says what motivates her is a desire to hear refugees’ stories.

Narragansett Indian Tribe

Separate factions of the Narragansett Tribal Council continue a standoff over who will be the tribe’s next leader. Rhode Island Public Radio has learned from Charlestown police chief Jeffrey Allen that the situation may be escalating.

“I had an officer call me who was en route and said that they received 911 calls from the building indicating that somebody was breaking in," said Allen. 

It’s not clear what’s happening at the Narragansett Tribal Council headquarters but several state, local, and national officials have been involved in trying to calm the tensions.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Service wants more information before it can approve a plan to turn around the state’s troubled benefits system, UHIP. The feds want more detailed plans for how the state can reduce wait times for benefits like food stamps.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Beginning in February, low-income seniors and disabled Rhode Islanders will pay 50 cents to ride Rhode Island Public Transit buses.

FLICKR

Data from a new survey about risky behavior among teens has just been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers show that nearly half of Rhode Island teenagers have texted while driving a car. 

About one in four teenagers reported currently using marijuana. Rhode Island’s child psychiatrists recently issued a statement expressing their concern about this increase and its potential effects on developing brains.

RIPTA will continue its free bus pass program for low income seniors and disabled people through the end of January. The public transit authority says the extension is designed to give riders a chance to adjust to the new fare schedule.

Beginning in February, low income seniors and the disabled will pay fifty cents a ride. Riders have protested the fare increase. But RIPTA authorities say the program has grown so big it's financially unsustainable. 

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