WESTERN HORIZONS: Our Pandemic Future: Human Behavior and the Environment


Wednesday, June 3, 2020
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.




Check out this video to watch the WESTERN HORIZONS: Our Pandemic Future: Human Behavior and the Environment.

Dr. Paqui Paredes Méndez, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the WWU Alumni Association invite you to Western Horizons, a public webinar series featuring Faculty and Alumni of the College. The inaugural event will examine our changing environment and it’s role in infectious disease epidemiology.

Dr. Evelyn Ames, Professor Emeritus and founder of WWU’s Community Health Education program, will provide an introduction to public health and its history at Western. Dr. Steve Bennett, Professor of Health and Human Development and epidemiologist will share an analysis of and spread of infectious disease. From vector borne disease to water borne disease, our engagement with the environment around us can be a major driver of disease ecology. How will human behavior and our relationship to the environment shape our pandemic future? Has the epidemiology and ecology of infectious diseases already changed due to altered landscapes, decreased biodiversity and climate change?

Dr. Evelyn E. Ames
 has been creating critical links between Western, WWU alumni, health professionals, and the community for more than five decades. As a professor emerita of WWU’s Department of Health and Human Development, Ames came to Western in 1964. During her time at Western, she developed and implemented the Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health and was its solo faculty member for more than three decades. She also established community partnerships in the healthcare arena that continue to provide internship opportunities for students. Upon retirement in 2003, she began writing a health column in 2005 for WWU Retirement Association and continues to do so, the latest ones focusing on friendships, gratitude, laughter, and the arts and how they affect health.

Dr. Steve Bennett is an expert in the epidemiology and ecology of infectious disease. His interest in infectious disease began as a Peace Corps volunteer working on public health programs in Kenya. Bennett received his Master’s in Tropical Medicine and Parasitology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Afterward, Bennett worked in South Sudan on President Carter’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program and then returned to the States to complete his PhD in Environmental Infectious Disease at the University of Minnesota. He has taught courses in Public and Environmental Health, Global Health, Disease Ecology and Environmental Sustainability. His previous research has focused on the spread of tick borne disease in Minnesota and LGBTQ health in Kenya. Currently, he is a lecturer in the Community Health Program in the Department of Health & Human Development at Western Washington University.

Dean Paqui Paredes Méndez
is a native of Galicia, Spain, where she lived until she completed her degrees in teaching and English at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. She graduated with a doctorate in Spanish literature from the University of Kansas in 2002, and joined Western’s faculty in Fall 2002. Dr. Paredes taught language, literature, culture and phonetics courses in Western’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, which she chaired from 2012 to 2018. In 2015, Dr. Paredes received Western’s Peter J. Elich Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Paredes research focuses on early 20th century Spanish literature and cultural studies, as well as late 20th and 21st century Spanish literature. She is finishing up her eighteenth year at Western and her second year as dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) is proud to be the largest college at WWU with fourteen departments and three programs, offering nearly 50 bachelor’s degrees and 12 master’s degrees. Our faculty have a record of excellence in their scholarly activities, teaching, and service to the university and College. CHSS houses several research centers and two community-based training clinics. In addition, CHSS has five nationally accredited professional programs, including Public Health.

Please contact the WWU Alumni Association with questions or comments. Feel free to email at alumni@wwu.edu.