- Policy & Research
- About KHI
Originally published July 31, 2007 at midnight, updated Aug. 27, 2009 at 3:28 p.m.
Bio: Martin was born in Arkansas on Oct. 23, 1944, and moved to northeast Wichita when she was in the sixth grade. She is married to Dwain Martin and has two adult children.
A co-founder of the Center for Health and Wellness in Wichita and retired CEO of the organization, Martin said she has been talking for years about “well-care” — prevention and quality health care for all, including the uninsured and those who lack access to a medical home. But now, she said, people are starting to listen.
“I think we’re to that point, across the nation, where people can see now that it’s too expensive to wait,” she said.
Martin said she knew by age 18 that she wanted to help improve the health-care system.
She graduated from Wichita East High School at age 16. By age 18, she was married and had a young daughter. Her daughter’s birth wasn’t a good experience, she said.
“After I had my child, I thought, ‘the system could be much better than this — I shouldn’t have gone through as much as I did to have a healthy child,’” she said.
She studied to be a Licensed Practical Nurse and then went on to earn both bachelor and masters degrees in nursing from Wichita State University.
“I have seen from the ground up what happens if you don’t have access to health care and if you’re not focusing on prevention,” she said. “That’s always been a concern of mine, even as a young nurse. I wanted to help people lead a healthy, quality life.”
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed Martin to the health policy authority board in August 2006.
“I saw it as a chance to do what I’ve tried to do all my adult life as a nurse, to change behaviors, focus on prevention, and get everyone access to health care, which I think is critical,” Martin said.
Martin is also a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves. She spent six months in the Persian Gulf during the first Gulf War in 1991.
“The medical team in any war is there to support the troops,” she said. “My specialty is in psych and mental health, and there are a lot of stress issues when they come back. I was able to work in the battlefield and focus on trying to do something before it was too late.”
Martin said she is pleased that prevention and “well-care” are being included in the health reform efforts championed by the health policy authority and its advisory councils.
“The change has to come from policies,” she said. “I can talk to people and get them to change one-on-one, but it takes forever. With policy change, you can make a bigger impact. I think we can do much better than how we’re doing now. As a community, as the state of Kansas, I hope we can be a leader in some of these things. When others are looking at a model to use, I hope they use the model here in Kansas.”
Interconnects: Martin is involved with local, state and national health groups, and is a member of the Wichita State University Board of Trustees. She is a member of the National Governor’s Policy Academy of Chronic Disease Prevention and Management; and is on the boards of directors of the Sedgwick County Board of Health, the Wichita State University Alumni Association, Step Stone, Center for Health and Wellness, American Lung Association and the Regional Prevention Center.
Contact: Address: 5218 Pembrook Circle, Wichita, KS 67220
Phone: (316) 684-6469