Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

Jan. 28, 2009

Expert on Energy Issues, Healthcare Economics to Present Lecture at Whitworth Feb. 12

First guest speaker for university's annual Great Decisions Lecture Series to discuss future effects of oil depletion on domestic, global markets

In the midst of a national economic downturn and looming crises in the healthcare and energy sectors, Melissa Ahern, director of the Northwest Climate Change Center, in Spokane, and associate professor in the department of health policy and administration at Washington State University Spokane, will present the first lecture in the 52nd annual Great Decisions Lecture Series at Whitworth University. The series features five speakers who focus on current political, cultural and economic subjects of interest to the international community. The public is invited to attend the lectures free of charge.

Ahern will present "Peak Oil: Expected Impacts on the Domestic and Global Economies during the Next Decade," on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall's Robinson Teaching Theatre at Whitworth. For more information, please call (509) 777-3270.

"Professor Ahern's background in finance, healthcare and energy make her a significant asset to the Spokane community, particularly since those industries are so vital to the local economy," says Patrick Van Inwegen, associate professor of political science at Whitworth. "She has presented her research on peak oil production across the Northwest, and she's able to address the larger issues surrounding oil depletion in a way that's not bogged down in scientific jargon."

Ahern's current research focuses on the effects of economic recession and dwindling energy resources on healthcare markets. Her teaching areas include health policy, health economics, healthcare quality, community health, and sustainability. She is a member of Spokane Mayor Mary Verner's core sustainability team, and she is a past member of the WSU Energy Collaborative and the Washington State Department of Agriculture Biofuels Advisory Committee. She holds a Ph.D. in economics and an M.B.A. in finance and management from Florida State University.

In addition to the Feb. 12 lecture, Great Decisions lectures will take place on March 5, April 23, April 30, and May 7. The lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in Weyerhaeuser Hall's Robinson Teaching Theatre. For information on upcoming lectures, please call (509) 777-3270. Great Decisions 2009 is sponsored by the Whitworth Political Science Department.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Barbara Brodrick, academic program assistant, political science department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3270 or bbrodrick@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

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