All Access EKY is an initiative coordinated by Appalshop, the Kentucky Health Justice Network, and Power to Decide that works with ten Southeastern Kentucky counties to build support for programs and services to ensure young people have access to the full range of contraceptive methods. 

This project grew from an Appalshop storytelling initiative from 2011 that was called the East Kentucky Reproductive Health Project (EKRHP). In 2016 Appalshop partnered with the Kentucky Health Justice Network and Power to Decide to reinvigorate this critical work. 

Together, we believe that we can impact outcomes surrounding unwanted teen pregnancy in southeastern Kentucky through a multistep process of engagement. Our process includes:

  • Providing young women with access to critical information surrounding their reproductive health, their rights and resources for support
  • Creating an active and engaged steering committee of healthcare workers, policy advocates and leaders from our 10 county service area who will help to guide the project, engage directly with youth producers and assist in the dissemination of project materials
  • Training and employing youth interns to produce multi-media pieces surrounding access to reproductive healthcare in their home communities 
  • Partnering with media outlets to amplify local stories to a regional and national audience 

Our Education & storytelling model 

At the core of this project is the belief in first voice storytelling as a powerful tool for community change. Appalshop's nationally renowned youth media program, the Appalachian Media Institute (AMI), has developed a methodology of place-based media education that is rooted in a strong foundation of ethics, hands-on engagement and learning, and peer-to-peer exchange. 

AMI strives to:

  • Build the confidence levels and creative capacity of Central Appalachian youth, and position them as initiators of dialogue and social action around crucial community issues. 
  • Provide pioneering community-based media arts training opportunities that are college accredited, nationally recognized, and fundamentally transformative.
  • Provide youth with an avenue to explore the traditions, history, and issues of their communities and develop positive attachments to their communities, cultures, and the region.
  • Develop the skills and behaviors that prepare young people to be successful in school, higher-education, and the workforce, and overcome the barriers to educational attainment that exist in many struggling communities.
  • Highlight rural voices to inform national audiences of the unique challenges facing Appalachian communities and youth.
  • Enable our participants to become informed, tolerant, and engaged citizens and to recognize the interconnections between Central Appalachia and the rest of the world.

Through the All Access EKY initiative, AMI is engaged in a series of  media labs with young women aged 14-22. All Access EKY youth producers have the opportunity to participate in this paid internship program to learn the basics of digital media making (radio production, podcasting, filming, editing, photography) and to transform their experiences, and the experiences of their peers and community members, into meaningful documentary pieces about reproductive healthcare access in Southeastern Kentucky. Youth producers are selected through an open application process and are able to join the project with any level of prior experience. 

Willa Johnson directs the All Access EKY media training program in consultation with a team of Appalshop senior producers.


Who Do We Serve?

All Access EKY serves young women in the following Southeastern Kentucky counties:  Floyd, Harlan, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry, Pike, and Wolfe. 

All Access EKY youth producers must live within this 10 county zone and be between the ages of 14-22. 


Development & coordination of an engaged steering committee:

A key component of the All Access EKY engagement model is convening a committee comprised of individuals from various sectors – health care, education, social services, policymakers, consumers, and others – that represent the Appalachian Kentucky community. The role of this Steering Committee is to guide the community assessment, identify key priority areas, develop an action plan, monitor implementation of the action plan, and evaluate project initiatives. The committee is convened and coordinated by Stacie Sexton, Project Director at the Kentucky Health Justice Network. 

Committee Members Roles and Responsibilities:

  •  Attend at least six in-person meetings over one year
  • Participate in conference calls or webinars in between in-person meetings to help advance the work
  •  Serve as a champion of the project
  • Work with the project team to ensure that there is broad and diverse representation on the committee and that the committee is able to articulate the needs of the community
  • Connect the Project Team to key stakeholders within the community
  • Share information about the project with others in the community
  • Commit to a year-long participation

If you would like to join our Steering Committee as a community stake holder, please feel free to contact us. We are always looking to have new and passionate voices of those who wish to help increase access to birth control in the region.

Better Birth Control training provided by Power to Decide

All All Access EKY youth producers and steering committee members, as well as project staff and partners, are invited and encouraged to participate in free Better Birth Control trainings facilitated by Power to Decide. These trainings provide educational insights into reproductive healthcare and contraceptive options and shareable resources.