mortality - The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Sociology
Specialized Comprehensive Examination in Mortality and the
comparison between the US and Latin America
October 14, 2008
Part A:
1. Discuss the effects of religion, marital status and neighborhood on mortality,
paying attention to possible differences in these effects between the US and Latin
America. Are there underlying similarities in the factors that influence these
effects? What about the differences between the Catholic Church and the
Protestant Churches that have been growing rapidly in both settings?
2. What are the major differences in the reduction of mortality in 19th Century
Europe and in 20th Century Latin America? Pay attention to rural/urban
differences and the role of public health.
Part B:
1. Carefully describe the difference between underlying cause of death and multiple
cause of death approaches to the study of adult mortality. What are the merits of
each approach? What are the disadvantages of each approach? Choosing a
research topic of your interest, describe how you might use a multiple cause
approach or an underlying cause approach to study a contemporary mortality
issue in Latin America.
2. Do relatively recent outbreaks of infectious/parasitic diseases (e.g., SARS,
HIV/AIDS) provide evidence that some countries of the world might be entering
into yet another stage of the epidemiologic transition? To most effectively answer
this, you might first provide a description of epidemiologic transition theory and
then discuss the merits of the argument that infectious diseases are re-emerging as
a major threat to health and mortality around the world.
Part C:
1. Congratulations!!! You’ve been selected to chair a session at the annual meeting
of the Population Association of America entitled “Mortality Patterns in Latin
America: Current Research and Policy Implications”. However, instead of
individuals submitting papers to you, you get to select 4 (non UT-Austin) authors
and the topic that you wish each of them to present on. And…you also get to
choose the discussant! Thinking carefully about the chosen topic and the most
important work that is going on in this area, who would you choose? Why?
What specific area of each person’s work would you want them to focus on in
their presentation? And who would you choose to be the discussant of the
session? Again, justify your choice with reference to the work that each person
has done.
2. Health care reform has been a major concern of international organizations and at
least some governments in Latin America. What are some of the connections
between such reforms and mortality? How have reforms contributed to better
health? And how have changing age distributions and mortality patterns
increased the pressure for such reforms? What are some of the most important
obstacles that stand in the way of such reforms? Please draw on any examples
from South, Central and North America with which you may be familiar.