Health on the Plains


Health on the Plains is a Kansas Health Institute podcast, hosted by Wyatt Beckman, KHI senior analyst. The podcast was launched in 2023, with a focus on health and well-being in rural Kansas. Episodes include engaging and nuanced conversations around topics impacting the health of individuals in less populated parts of the state. Episodes are released twice monthly and include guests representing a wide range of backgrounds who are focused on improving health for Kansans. Although conversation is focused on Kansas, topics are relevant to anyone living in rural America. The podcast is also available as a webcast on YouTube.



April 19, 2024

Episode 9, Getting Grants and Getting Things Done


On Episode 9, host Wyatt Beckman returns to Liberal, Kansas, to meet Kay Burtzloff, founder and president of the Liberal Area Coalition for Families. She discusses the creation of the coalition and its continued success acquiring grant funds and investing in programs to benefit southwest Kansans. Find out how a rural coalition approaches planning for the future.



Episode Highlights: 

    • 2:10: Kay Burtzloff shares insights on building, sustaining, and leading a health coalition for over two decades.
    • 3:37: The Liberal Area Coalition for Families has sustained its work over 20 years by leveraging grants to pay staff and fund projects. Kay spends most of their time writing support letters for grants to aid other agencies and partners in the community.
    • 9:19: Kay describes how the coalition works to prioritize taking care of staff’s work-life balance.
    • 12:17: The organization prioritizes grant writing based on capacity and demand, leveraging community connections for valuable skills and resources. Kay discusses the importance of talent scouting and grooming future leaders for small town nonprofits. She and others work to ensure sustainability by developing a system of leadership succession.
    • 13:38: Wyatt Beckman highlights the importance of building sustainable positions and infrastructure to ensure the long-term success of a coalition.
    • 16:39: Kay highlights the importance of communication and collaboration among nonprofits in the same area, citing the coalition’s success in getting people talking to each other and sharing resources. She advises nonprofit founders in other rural Kansas communities to build a clearing house for information and connections, using social media and email lists to reach a wider audience.
    • 26:16: Kay and Wyatt discuss the growth and expansion of the coalition, which has branched out into nearby counties

About the Host

Wyatt J. Beckman, M.P.H., C.H.E.S., Senior Analyst, has a leading role in KHI’s activities and projects focused on rural health. Born and raised in Ness City, Kansas, Wyatt grew up thinking about the intersection of health and rural life – with one parent serving as an EMT and director of EMS, and the other as a rural route carrier for the United States Postal Service. He has seen both the challenges and the successes of rural health, and the often unseen, untold and unappreciated sacrifices of those working to serve their communities.

Like the challenges and opportunities facing rural communities, Wyatt’s work at KHI has been varied. He has contributed to KHI studies on social isolation, e-cigarettes, suicide prevention, telehealth, prescription drugs, and the response of local governments to COVID-19.


Wyatt also provided research support to the Center for Sharing Public Health Services, a national initiative formerly managed by KHI and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which focuses on resource sharing arrangements as a strategy to improve public health effectiveness and efficiency.

Wyatt has long known and appreciated the power of storytelling in its many forms. As a radio show host in college, he loved finding out the meaning behind the songs and artists he was playing and sharing that with his audience. Through this podcast, Wyatt hopes to create a space for the rich, nuanced and meaningful conversations about health in rural Kansas. Along the way, he hopes listeners will smile, laugh, ponder and gain new insights into the people working to make Kansas a healthier and more vibrant place to call home.

Health on the Plains Production Team

Wyatt J. Beckman, M.P.H., C.H.E.S., Host

Theresa Freed, M.A., Producer, Editor

Emma Uridge, C.H.E.S., Field Producer, Coordinator

Stewart Cole, Editor, Graphic Designer