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

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Rhode Island will receive $3.4 million dollars to reduce lead hazards in homes. It's the seventh round of funding in more than a decade aimed at hundreds of homes with lead contamination.

Rhode Island Housing will distribute the funds to organizations that help identify homes at the highest risk for lead. These apartments or houses built were before 1978, when a ban on lead paint went into effect. And Rhode Island has a high percentage of older apartment buildings compared to the rest of the nation.

Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Rhode Island State Police Chief Colonel Stephen O’Donnell supports a ban on high capacity magazines for automatic rifles. That’s the kind of weaponry used in last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando.

Rhode Island hosts its annual Pride Festival, celebrating members of the lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer communities this weekend. The events come about one week after a mass shooting in Orlando Florida, at gay nightclub that left 50 people dead, and injured dozens more.

RIPR file photo

Rhode Island’s health insurance commissioner says she’s concerned about funding cuts in the proposed state budget. The agency may have to cut nine of its 12 employees, who currently oversee health insurance regulation.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The need for blood donations was so great in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando that Rhode Island’s Blood Center was called on for help. The need remains high, but not necessarily in Orlando.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A recent report from Massachusetts shows the number of cases of elderly abuse is on the rise. Experts attribute that to the state’s opioid addiction crisis, which leads some addicts to take financial advantage of or abuse older family members.

For this week’s The Pulse, we speak with Division of Elderly Affairs Director Charles Fogarty to learn how Rhode Island could be facing a similar problem.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Medical marijuana advocates are praising the House Finance committee for changes to the state’s medical marijuana program, including the reduction of a steep new fee on marijuana plants.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The House Finance Committee passed the fiscal year 2017 budget late last night. It heads for a floor vote next week. As I continue to pore over the budget documents, here’s a preliminary look at some of the highlights of health-related spending and revenues in this version, as compared to Governor Gina Raimondo’s original proposals:

RIPR file photo

The International Conference on Opioids is underway in Boston today. Rhode Islanders are well represented at the event dedicated to educating doctors about the dangers and benefits of these painkillers.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Maria Montanaro, head of the state’s behavioral health agency, is stepping down at the end of this month. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced Montanaro’s resignation today; no reason was given.

Current Deputy Director Rebecca Boss has been tapped to serve as acting director of the department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals while the agency looks for new leadership.

Governor Gina Raimondo appointed Montanaro to lead the behavioral health agency 18 months ago.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Medical students have been learning anatomy – by dissecting cadavers – in much the same way for hundreds years. But the method is time consuming. 

Christine Montross

Christine Montross, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, is, in addition to that long title, an author. She wrote Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab (Penguin Books, 2007) as a way to understand her own experience as a medical student going through anatomy lab.

Lawmakers are set to consider bills that would require special training for police officers in mental health and substance abuse.

Sponsors of this bill want all police officers to be certified in what's called mental health first aid. It enables them to recognize the signs of mental illness or substance abuse when responding to complaints and emergencies. And it helps first responders de-escalate a crisis.

Memorial Hospital

Memorial Hospital is moving forward with plans to close its birthing unit, but must first meet a number of conditions imposed by the state Department of Health.  One requirement involves notifying patients before the end of the week.

Patients who planned on delivering their babies at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket will be receiving a letter informing them of their options, and offering shuttle service to appointments at different hospitals, says Memorial president Michael Dacey.

Health insurers have put in their requests for the rates they hope to charge consumers in 2017. Most have asked for increases, but not all.

Every year insurers have to figure out how much it cost them to pay for medical care for all of their members, and how much they think it will cost next year. It’s a complex process, and state regulators don’t always agree with insurers on the numbers. The result directly affects what you pay for health insurance each month.

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