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.



Feb. 26, 2024

Episode 7, Learning from the unique blend of cultures in southwest Kansas, with Clarissa Carrillo Martinez


On Episode 7, host Wyatt Beckman takes listeners to Liberal, Kansas, to meet Clarissa Carrillo Martinez, a multifaceted, dynamic community leader in southwest Kansas. She shares her personal experiences growing up in Liberal and serving the community, highlighting the importance of understanding and learning from the unique blend of cultures in southwest Kansas.


  • Episode Highlights: 
    • 4:08-9:49: Clarissa and Wyatt discuss the unique aspects of southwest region of Kansas, including its geography, agriculture and cultural diversity.
    • 10:17-13:27: Clarissa discusses the COPE project, a community-based initiative to promote health equity in Kansas communities, and describes the local health equity action teams the project supports.
    • 14:22-20:29: Clarissa shares how the COPE project leverages the skills and expertise of community health workers and shares a story illustrating the value and impact of CHWs in the communities they serve.
    • 21:40 –23:32: Clarissa and Wyatt talk about the growing interest and movement around CHWs and some available resources for those interested in learning more.
    • 25:01-29:53: Clarissa and Wyatt discuss the importance of leaning into lived experience and supporting community member engagement and inclusive decision-making.
    • 31:36- 34:38: Clarissa talks about how the Liberal Area Coalition for Families have been successful in building sustainability and securing grants over 20 years and describes the power of “magic moments” when people come together and make a key connection to address a community gap and make a positive impact.
    • 37:00-40:27: Clarissa discuss the importance of access to education in rural communities, and some of the unique challenges many individuals, particularly those immigrating into a new community, may face when pursuing their education.
    • 45:52-48:07: Clarissa thinks about the future for her community and emphasizes the importance of helping people to connect with their “why,” being open to new ideas, and genuinely listening and learning from one another.

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