The first time Keianna Moyer saved a life, she knew she had found her calling.
When Moyer was still a student at DeKalb Early College Academy, she began working summers as a lifeguard. During one pool party, a little girl—maybe six or seven years old—followed a floating toy into the deep end and panicked. Moyer spotted her right away and did not hesitate.
“My adrenaline was pumping, but I knew exactly what to do and I put my training into effect,” she said.
Moyer was able to scoop up the flailing child and settle her into her father’s arms.
The moment was an affirmation of her desire to be of service and pursue health care-related studies.
Health care is a topic Moyer likes to focus on in almost every subject. During an introductory English course she took while a dual-enrollment student at Georgia State’s Perimeter College, she explored America’s high maternal death rate.
“The theme was sustainability and I wanted to write about maternal health practices,” she said. “I was really thinking about why our minority mothers are dying at such a high rate. It interested me because it’s a huge problem that we shouldn’t have in 2020, seeing how far we’ve come in health care overall.”
Her research shocked her.
“I learned that a Black mother with a graduate degree still has a higher rate of mortality compared to a white mother with just a high school diploma,” Moyer said. “I know so many Black women—hopefully, one day, I’ll be a Black mother—and right now the odds aren’t in our favor.”
As a new student in the Honors College, Moyer said she’s looking forward to research opportunities that will let her explore community health, especially chronic diseases that disproportionately affect Black people.
“One of my favorite sayings is that our greatest fear in life is not failure but succeeding at something that doesn’t matter,” Moyer said. “I see health care as something that could change maybe not the world but definitely the communities that surround me.”