Lisa Gillespie

Reporter, WFPL

Lisa Gillespie is WFPL's Health and Innovation Reporter. Most recently, she was a reporter for Kaiser Health News. During her career, Gillespie has covered all things health — from Medicaid and Medicare payment policy and rural hospital closures to science funding and the dietary supplement market.

Ways to Connect

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In 2011, Alex Randolph was in Iraq, in the middle of a tour of duty with the Army. What happened one evening would haunt him for years, and change the way his friends back home saw him. Those memories eventually led Randolph to think about killing himself.


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Rashelle Bernal never expected to end up in the hospital because she vaped. But she could be part of a nationwide outbreak of a severe lung illness that’s sickened more than 1,000 people. Researchers suspect those illnesses, and some deaths, are linked to vaping. Now, they're trying to find the precise cause.

Lisa Gillespie/Side Effects Public Media

Rows of silver and pink plastic packages sit on the bathroom counter inside Bean, a Louisville coffee shop. Each package carries these words: emergency contraception.

The medication? It’s called Preventeza, from the company that also makes Vagisil. It was on the market for less than a year and didn’t do well – pills worth $2 million were sent to advocacy groups in Kentucky, Indiana and other states. 

Lisa Gillespie/Side Effects Public Media

Gene Emerson is a gregarious character – but he wasn’t always this way. In 2003, his wife of 42 years died.

“I had a couple of bad years after I lost my wife. It was kindly bad, you know?” Emerson said. “I got depressed and lost about 30 pounds. And I was weak.”

Lisa Gillespie/Side Effects Public Media

Dennis Pond doesn’t tell his psychiatrist about his thoughts of suicide.  But he has them. He often feels useless, in large part because his diabetes has caused terrible pain and numbness in his feet, and that affects his ability to drive, to help out around the house, to even go out in the yard.

Lisa Gillespie/Side Effects Public Media

Getting to Anne Polston’s house is a journey: first, you have to get to Liberty, a town about two hours southeast of Louisville. Then, there’s a winding eight-mile road that’s largely one-lane, and sometimes just gravel.

Lisa Gillespie, WFPL for Side Effects Public Media

It’s a rainy spring evening in Louisville, less than two weeks from one of city’s biggest events: the Kentucky Derby. On May Fourth, people from across the U.S. and world stream into town to watch a day of horse racing.

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell said he will introduce a bill raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes, vaping devices and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 across the country.

During a news conference in Louisville Thursday, McConnell said he will introduce the legislation in May.

“By raising the age you could legally purchase to 21, tobacco won’t be in most high schools, presenting fewer opportunities for children to get their hands on vaping devices,” McConnell said.