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

State health officials kick off a series of public hearings Tuesday to learn about Rhode Islanders’ personal experiences with health care. It’s part of a government initiative to make health care better and less costly.

Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian will host the listening session at Buttonwoods Community Center. It’s the first of two sessions planned to let Rhode Islanders weigh in about their experiences using and paying for health care.

Rhode Island Public Health Institute

A new initiative of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute at Brown University aims to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into low income neighborhoods. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

 Accidental drug overdoses kill more Rhode Islanders than car accidents, or any other kind of accident. And that’s been the trend for a while now. But there’s new energy – and new resources – to help combat this public health problem. This week on The Pulse, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Kristin Gourlay chats with news director Elisabeth Harrison about the state’s new overdose prevention work and the federal dollars that could help sustain it.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s department of health will once again release weekly statistics on accidental drug overdose deaths – instead of monthly. The department has struggled to whittle down a backlog of investigations while keeping the public informed.

Screen shot / Rhode Island Department of Health

The state health department has launched an online survey for Rhode Islanders to rank their health care experiences. The results will be used as part of an effort to bring down costs and boost quality. They’ll also help officials decide whether new healthcare facilities and services are needed.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A spokesman for Rhode Island's Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families confirms an investigation is underway, but officials remain mum on the reasons why state police are looking into the child welfare agency's finances.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR


As school gets underway across Rhode Island, thousands of kids will sign up to play sports. And with that comes the risk of concussion. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has signed into law new protections for patients battling mental health and substance abuse problems.


A candlelight vigil on Monday will remember those who have died from drug overdoses. The vigil comes at a time when Rhode Island is struggling to turn the tide on heroin and prescription drug addiction.

In the past five years, Rhode Island has lost more than 1,000 people to accidental drug overdoses. An advocacy group called Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts has organized tonight’s vigil to remember them, and support their friends and loved ones.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Attorney General is appealing to Superior Court to stop rate increases for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island customers, saying the rate hikes are too steep.

State Health Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Hittner recently issued decisions about how much health insurance rates could increase for 2016. Most increases were in the single digits.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health department canceled a community meeting about the HPV vaccine planned for Thursday at the Middletown Public Library. A department spokeswoman says staff have been threatened online. The department decided to cancel the event after consulting with State Police. 

Rhode Island now requires boys and girls entering seventh grade to get the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical and other kinds of cancers. Some Rhode Islanders have protested the vaccine mandate. They can request an exemption. 

From the Annals of Internal Medicine article: Restrictions for Medicaid Reimbursement of Sofosbuvir for the Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in the United States / Authors: Soumitri Barua; Robert Greenwald, JD; Jason Grebely, PhD; Gregory J. Dore, MBBS, PhD; Tracy Swan; and Lynn E. Taylor, MD

Hepatitis C may not take as big of a chunk out of the state’s Medicaid budget as previously projected. One reason? A majority of patients who requested treatment have been denied.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

 Zaven Khachaturian, Ph.D, believes we can find a way to prevent Alzheimer's Disease by 2020 - if the nation commits to that goal and rallies the resources to achieve it. This widely recognized pioneer of Alzheimer's research compares achieving this goal to putting a man on the moon, or mapping the human genome. What once sounded impossible was accomplished in 10 years.  

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Art and medicine have long been intertwined - from the earliest depictions of human anatomy to modern art therapy. A new art exhibit (“Interstice: Memory, Mind, and Alzheimer's Disease," open through September 9 in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University) takes that relationship in a new direction. A neuroscientist and artist teamed up with fellow artists to explore what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A children’s advocacy organization has updated its legal complaint against Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The group Children’s Rights says things are not getting better, and in fact, they’re getting worse.