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.



Sept. 22, 2023

Episode 1, Exploring Rural Identity with Matt Perrier


In Episode 1, host Wyatt Beckman takes listeners to southeast Kansas where he talks with Matt Perrier, a fifth-generation rancher and KHI board member based in Eureka, Kansas. This episode delves into Matt and his family’s journey and commitment to rural life, exploring the challenges and opportunities faced by rural communities and future generations. Matt provides a thoughtful examination of rural identity, and some of the misconceptions and generalizations surrounding what may often be perceived as a “simple” way of life in rural Kansas.

Episode Highlights: 

  • 2:30-4:55 Matt provides a history and current snapshot of Dalebanks Angus, his family’s ranch that has been in operation for five generations. 
  • 4:55-12:35 Matt discusses his work and travels across the country, elaborating on his eventual return to the ranch in 2004, and how this decision relates to a broader conversation about workforce and education. 
  • 14:29-19:45 Matt and Wyatt discuss the misconceptions and oversimplifications often made about rural life and how rural life compares to more suburban and urban areas of Kansas. 
  • 19:46-23:16 Matt explains how he came to serve on the Kansas Health Institute board and the value of including varying perspectives. 
  • 23:27-32:42 Matt and Wyatt engage in a discussion about health equity, diversity and the healthcare landscape in Eureka, Kansas. 
  • 32:50-44:30 Matt shares his hopes for his children’s lives within or outside of Greenwood County and reflects on the blessings and challenges of maintaining a rural multi-generational family business 

Read the full transcript.

About the Host

Wyatt J. Beckman, M.P.H., C.H.E.S., Senior Analyst, provides research and technical support related to our work on population health.

Wyatt has a leading role in KHI’s activities and projects focused on rural health. 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.


Prior to joining KHI, Wyatt was a research assistant at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, where he performed a variety of applied research and evaluation efforts, with a focus on food insecurity, housing instability and bias crime policies.

Born and raised in rural Western Kansas, Wyatt earned a master’s degree in public health from Indiana University, where he focused on behavioral, social and community health and also on public health administration. He received a bachelor’s degree in health science from Truman State University. Wyatt is a certified health education specialist.