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

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

Medicaid patients in Washington state (a similar suit is underway in Indiana) have sued the state's Medicaid agency claiming they were denied treatment for hepatitis C because of the high cost of the drugs. Litigation director Kevin Costello with the Harvard Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation says his organization has joined the lawsuit.

Cathy Fennelly tried to save her son from heroin addiction.

For eight years, she tried to help him get sober. She told him he couldn't come home unless he was in treatment. It tormented her, knowing that he might be sleeping on the streets, cold at night.

But nothing worked. In 2015, she found him dead from an overdose on her front step.

"No matter how many detoxes I put him in, no matter how many mental facilities; I emptied out my 401(k), I sold my jewelry," she says. "This will never get easier. Never."

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Women & Infants Hospital maternal-fetal medicine expert Brenna Hughes answered questions from RIPR listeners and twitter followers about Zika virus in a live twitter chat Thursday at noon.

Some of the biggest questions involved the risk of transmission, whether mosquito repellent is safe for pregnant women and how the virus has been linked to the brain defect known as mircocephaly.

Here's a recap (scroll down to see the "Storified" version of our live chat).

Many thanks to everyone who sent in questions and to Dr. Hughes and the staff at Women & Infants Hospital for making this possible!

National Program of Cancer Registries / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Lifespan has announced plans to partner with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Massachusetts. Lifespan officials say the partnership will provide patients better access to care for rare and complex cancers. The two hospital systems have signed a letter of intent. 

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

More countries are reporting person-to-person transmission of the Zika virus. And the FDA has just recommended that people returning from Zika-affected areas postpone donating blood for four weeks. Those are just some of the updates about a virus that's leaving more questions than answers.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Providence will be one of a handful of cities to pilot a new online tool to help monitor public health. It’s a project of the federal National Resources Network and private researchers.

Women and Infants

Got questions about Zika virus? Join our live twitter chat on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 12 pm to get some answers. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State police handed out supplies of Narcan, the overdose rescue drug, to municipal police departments from around Rhode Island Tuesday. Most first responders carry the drug, but not all police departments have stocked up. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Cold temperatures have kept emergency responders busy over the past 24 hours. That includes Red Cross volunteers, who were on hand for fires in Middletown, Providence, Pawtucket and Tiverton. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health insurance commissioner is requiring insurance companies to put more money into so-called alternative models for paying doctors. That means directing more payments toward quality instead of the number of visits to the doctor’s office.

Update: Our Lady of Fatima Hospital has withdrawn its application to open a new obstetrics unit, according to the RI Dept. of Health.

Rhode Island Hospital’s application to open a new child birth unit has been deemed complete by the Rhode Island Department of Health. That's just one pending application for a new obstetrics unit.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Medical marijuana patients are speaking out against what they're calling a tax on marijuana plants. Patients say they’re concerned the marijuana will become unaffordable.

The Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition and the ACLU of Rhode Island are asking Gov. Gina Raimondo to drop the proposal, which would add a $150 to $350 dollar-a -year fee for each plant grown by patients and caregivers. The Raimondo administration says the revenue caregivers earn from selling medical marijuana to patients is significant enough to offset the fee.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island Hospital acknowledges there was a delay in providing the name of an employee suspected of assaulting a patient to the Providence Police. Hospital officials say they’re reviewing hospital practice to determine what caused the delay and prevent it from occurring in the future.

The employee is accused of inappropriately touching a patient. Hospital officials say they’re troubled by the allegation and will assist police with the criminal investigation.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Concerns are growing about the spread of the Zika virus to the United States. And while the mosquito that carries the virus is primarily found in the southern U.S., the impacts of Zika are already being felt in our region. That’s the focus of The Pulse this week.

APCD Council, a collaboration between the University of New Hampshire and the National Association of Health Data Organizations

Rhode Island now has access to a new source of information about health care activities and costs. The All Payer Claims Database launches this week- "all payer" meaning that it includes information from every health insurer, Medicaid, and Medicare. It's intended to help state agencies and researchers find out more about what works and what doesn’t in health care, where health care dollars are going, and track trends.

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