Community Outreach Coordinator
Sierra McClain Henry
Support Group Director
Family Resource Coordinator
Founder- Executive Director
Meet The Founder & Staff Members
Kay Matthews founded the Shades of Blue Project in 2013, shortly after the stillborn death of her daughter Troya Simone. The successful owner of Extraordinary Cakes and Catering shifted into full-time advocacy for Black birthing individuals after launching her Non-Profit organization BabyCakes and Brunch, from which the Shades of Blue Project was created. As she built the Shades of Blue Project, she understood that she was not alone in her experience and that the maternal morbidity rates of Black women were only worsening. Also true was that Black maternal mental health support systems were non-existent, poorly managed, or resulted in Black mothers having their children removed from their homes. This lack of Black maternal mental health care and continued ill-treatment of Black birthing individuals spurred Matthews to create the I.N.S.P.I.R.E. Method Training. A unique training based on compassion, I.N.S.P.I.R.E. is specific to women of color and minorities and can be implemented by doulas, midwives, clinicians, and those facilitating support groups. She also created Black Maternal Mental Health Week (BMMHW)—a week-long event that focuses on the challenges that persist, viable solutions, community support, and compassion training. During BMMHW, lay persons, healthcare workers, community members and leaders, and families can partake in a two-day summit, community brunch, and a 3K Family Walk. The event is held annually from July 19 through July 25.
As a fierce advocate of Black birthing individuals across the world, Kay has worked on and supported key pieces of legislation to help improve their birthing outcomes and experiences. They include the 2020 and 2021 Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, the MOMS Matter Act, Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act, and the TRIUMPH for New Moms Act. She was also a contributor to the Raising The Bar actionable framework supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This work allows the healthcare sector to embed equity and excellence throughout its work and help achieve optimal health for all. After 10 years of working in the Black maternal mental health space, Kay is a highly sought-after speaker. She has delivered keynotes and served on panels for a host of conferences and organizations including the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, 2020 MOM, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, and The Future of Maternal Care Summit. Kay’s expertise positioned her to be a lead author of the October 2021 research article, “Pathways To Equitable And Antiracist Maternal Mental Health Care: Insights From Black Women Stakeholders” published by Health Affairs and she also contributed to the “Black Perinatal Mental Health: Prioritizing Maternal Mental Health to Optimize Infant Health and Wellness” research article published by Frontiers. In 2017, she released her first book,”365 Days To Recovery: Finding Your Way Out Of The Darkness” and in 2018 released a daily journal called, “Recovery State of Mind.” Her advocacy and community work have been featured in publications such as the Texas Tribune, Community Impact News, and the Houston Chronicle. Kay has also been featured on ABC KTRK 13, CBS KHOU 11, and NBC KPRC 2. Kay has served as an active board member for organizations such as Black Mamas Matter Alliance, 2020 MOM, MoMMa’s Voices, and PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy. She was recently appointed as the Leadership Community Chair of the PCORI funded Project through ACHP called Establishing a Research Agenda to Reduce Toxic Stress and Increase Maternal Mental Health Equity
Kay graduated with her associate’s degree in Early Child Care Education and is a licensed community health care worker. She shares everyday life with her husband Troy, and their miracle pup, Duke.