Improving Health


Sunrise over the Wheat Field

Travis Rickford

Executive Director


PATHWAYS FOR A Healthy Kansas

FUNDED BY: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Honored by a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, LiveWell was awarded a 3-year grant and other support resources to represent the Northwest Collaborative in Atwood, Bird City, Colby and St. Francis to implement health-related initiatives surrounding healthy eating, active living and tobacco cessation.


The ultimate goal of Pathways programming is to inspire long-lasting, community-wide well-being by creating supportive, healthy environments. The program focuses on strategies that build community engagement and transform the way residents stay healthy as the work, at play and during social activities and to incorporate more opportunities to be healthy in normal daily routines. LiveWell believes that in order to create lasting healthy habits, smart decisions and opportunities need to easily available on a regular basis-- through access in schools, work sites, health care providers' offices, food establishments and social networks. To improve the overall quality of life, Pathways programming aims to cultivate healthy culture in the communities of Atwood, Bird City, Colby and St. Francis.


For more information, you may contact

Travis Rickford, LiveWell Northwest Kansas | (785) 460-8177

Jo Aragabright, Kansas State Research & Extension | (785) 443-1628

Emily Green, Kansas State Research & Extension | (785) 626-3192

Misty Jimerson, Thomas County Health Department | (785) 460-4596

Rod Klepper, Bird City | (785) 737-7369

Tina Sager, Bird City | (785) 734-7141

KHF Logo.jpg


FUNDED BY: Kansas Health Foundation


This initiative focuses on creating environments in communities where every resident has the same opportunity to thrive -- not merely survive. We do this by working with families who are often not involved in community decision-making conversations due to lack of childcare, language barriers, multiple jobs, and other outside influences that prevent them from being engaged in the decisions that impact them.


To address broader health inequities at the regional level, we partner with the Great Plains Health Alliance to identify ways we can help communities become more trauma aware and address the growing mental health crisis that is taking shape in northwest Kansas. To better understand health inequities that exist, we partner with Kansas University's Center for Public Partnerships and Research to collect stories from residents on their ability to thrive in a community.


"We believe all Kansans should be able to make healthy choices where they live, work and play. This initiative will allow residents to identify obstacles and opportunities for better health outcomes. Not only does this improve the health for the priority population, but it makes the entire community stronger," says Steve Coen, Kansas Health Foundation President and CEO.


We encourage you to particiapte and share your story HEREEvery county that reaches 100 stories is eligible to participate in a community event to look at the data and identify ways to celebrate the successes and barriers in our communities.

For more information, you may contact

Travis Rickford, LiveWell Northwest Kansas | (785) 460-8177

Karla Heble, Rawlins County Health Department | (785) 626-3968

Candi Douthit, Cheyenne County Hospital | (785) 332-2104, ext 170

Maureen Ostmeyer, LiveWell Northwest Kansas | (785) 460-8177

More info coming soon


LiveWell has completed work and is currently partnering to improve the health of Thomas County residents by adopting policies that promote safe streets designed with pedestrians and cyclists in mind, by improving healthy food and beverage offerings for school, workplaces and public facilities, and be educating community members about he county's goal to be the "healthiest county in Kansas."

Programs and projects that have been implemented by and facilitated by LiveWell to meet this goal are:

  • Center for Disease Control ACHIEVE Grant programming

  • Kansas Health Foundation/Healthy Community Initiative Grant programming

  • NICHQ Collaborate for Healthy Weight

  • Safe Routes to School

  • Walking School Bus

  • Community Garden

  • Whole Foods Foundation School Garden grant

  • Farmer's Market

  • APA/APHA Plan4Health Grant


Kansas Consortium for Opioid RURAL PLANNING & STRATEGIES



The Kansas University Institute for Community Engagment partnered with LiveWell Northwest Kansas, Rawlins County Health Center, the Rawlins County Health Department and other partners in southeast Kansas to identify local and system levels strategies to address Opioid Use Disorder in Rawlins, Allen, Wilson and Woodson counties.

For more information on this important work and to learn more about the project, go to the K-CORPS website here.

For more information, you may contact

Ryan Spaulding, KU Institute for Community Engagment: (913) 588-5258

Travis Rickford, LiveWell Northwest Kansas | (785) 460-8177


KHF Logo.jpg


Got Water! LiveWell was awarded a partnership with the Kansas Health Foundation and the Western Prairie Food, Farm and Community Alliance, in a three-year program to increase access to and consumption of water while decreasing the consumption of sugary beverages.


"Water is essential to life and a healthy, prosperous Kansas," said Jeff Willett, Kansas Health Foundation Vice President for Programs and Advocacy. "These grants will help organizations improve public health by making clean drinking water readily available to more Kansans." 


Formerly known as the Northwest Kansas Council on Substance Abuse, LiveWell Northwest Kansas was originally established with the sole purpose of education for prevention of substance abuse. The organization has successfully implemented state and federal substance abuse prevention programs throughout the surrounding nine northwest Kansas counties since its inception including It's OK to Say NO WAY 2 Alcohol, federal Drug-Free Schools and Community grants, and other underage drinking prevention projects. In 1996, a small network of engaged citizens formed the Thomas County Coalition under the organization as a substance abuse prevention coalition and, like the Northwest Kansas Council on Substance Abuse, eventually evolved beyond the narrow focus of alcohol and drug abuse to view prevention more broadly as overall health and wellness. 



From 2016 to 2017, the organization participated in a Plan4Health initiative that was funded by the Centers for Disease control and Prevention and anchored by American Planning Association chapters and American Public Health Association affiliates. The program connected communities across the country, funding work at the intersection of planning and public health. Plan4Health played a major part in the success of LiveWell's pedestrian friendly safe street designs; improved food and beverage offerings in schools, workplaces and public facilities; and efforts to educate residents on the county-wide goal of being the healthiest county in Kansas.


From 2003 to 2015, LiveWell received funding support from the Kansas Children's Cabinet and Trust Fund for community-based child abuse and neglect prevention programs, which were successfully implemented region-wide.


From 2000 to 2011, funds were received from Northwest Kansas Juvenile Services for juvenile delinquency prevention. For 11 years, LiveWell facilitated a successful Prime for Life program for youth with first-time alcohol and drug offenses and their parents.



From 1990 to 2013, the organization served as an education resource center for human sexuality and HIV/AIDS materials for students and teachers. Workshops and educational programs at schools were provided through a partnership with the Northwest Kansas Educational Service Center.