Integrated Case Study – Quantitative Methods

Maria wakes up early on a dreary February morning – she is apprehensive about starting her new job that day as a Program Coordinator in the Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She recently graduated from Boston University with her Master in Public Health and is looking forward to applying what she’s learned.

When she arrives at the office that morning, her new boss, Jessica, is already waiting for to tell Maria about her first big project. “We have reason to believe too many mothers are dying as a result of pregnancy-related causes and may need to identify ways to address this issue. However, before we consider solutions, I need you to work with our bureau’s epidemiologist to identify if there’s a problem, how we can best measure it, and who it’s affecting.”

Maria realizes this is a daunting challenge – she knows how serious and complex a problem like maternal mortality is. National studies have found that the U.S. has a maternal mortality ratio much higher than many other industrialized countries. More complicated still, maternal mortality rates for subgroups in the U.S. (such as non-Hispanic blacks) are similar to those in developing countries.

If she’s going to make a difference and help mothers in Massachusetts, Maria needs to get to work right away to see if there’s a problem here and, if so, who suffers most from it. Thankfully, there is data available from the state which will allow such an analysis to occur.


Calculate the following, using the dataset provided.

  1. What is the rate of maternal mortality for women of childbearing age in Massachusetts?
  2. What is the ratio per birth of maternal mortality in Massachusetts?