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

Rhode Island Dept. of Health, Brown University School of Public Health

State health officials are expanding efforts to tackle the opioid overdose epidemic. They’ve launched a web site – - to track overdose, addiction, and treatment statistics. And the state is re-launching a $100,000 public awareness campaign about getting help for addiction. 

Kids Count

More of Rhode Island’s children are living in poverty this year than last. That’s one of the highlights of a new report from Kids Count – a project of the children’s think tank The Annie E. Casey Foundation. But some measures of child well-being have improved.

Office of Governor Gina Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo has announced that the state employee health plan will now cover gender transition services. 

Rhode Island Dept. of Human Services

Rhode Islanders seeking medical or food stamp assistance will soon be able to complete their application online, all in one go.

Evelyn Simak / Creative Commons

The question of a patient’s privacy came up during this legislative session. Should the family members of a patient who has overdosed be notified about that patient’s hospital stay? It came up again after the shooting in Orlando: can doctors communicate with family or friends about a patient’s status if that patient is still unconscious? 


The Rhode Island Foundation has seeded some of the state’s institutions of higher education with nearly half a million dollars in medical research funding. The money goes toward 20 research projects that range from studying heart failure in obese people to using mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques to help prevent pre-term births. 

Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island

The state’s health insurance commissioner is inviting public comment on proposed health insurance rates for next year. Those rates include some of the smallest proposed increases in years.

Health insurers in Rhode Island can’t just raise monthly premium rates. They have to request a rate change each year from the state’s health insurance commissioner and justify it.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s largest health system posted a $9 million dollar net loss for the 2015 fiscal year. Those losses come in part from Lifespan’s behavioral health entity, Gateway Healthcare.

But total operating revenue is up slightly over the previous year, as are expenses.

In its most recent annual report, Lifespan details more growth: the addition of more than 200 employees, and a boost in the number of outpatient visits over last year.

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

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.