W. Kent Anger, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
  • Professor, OHSU-PSU School of Public Health
  • Associate Director for Applied Research, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences

Biography

Dr. Anger is an experimental psychologist with a focus in physiological or biopsychology, now more commonly known as behavioral neuroscience. He began his professional career at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) where, as a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service, he became a Scientist Director, and Chief of the Behavioral Toxicology Section.

After a 20-year career at NIOSH he joined OHSU as the Associate Director (of then CROET), now Associate Director for Applied Research, at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences. He has conducted animal and human research on neurotoxic exposures, co-led, with colleague Dr. Pam Lein (UC Davis), research to examine the impact of the organophosphorus pesticide chlorpyrifos on pesticide workers, demonstrating a different mechanism than that produced by high-dose acute exposures through both human and animal research. Both at NIOSH and more extensively at OHSU, Dr. Anger led or collaborated on a series of intervention research projects that consistently demonstrated changes in knowledge (learning), behavior and results with small to large effect sizes. The primary focus of his research has been on working populations with limited education, often immigrants, working in hazardous jobs categories, to develop scalable methods for testing and training with disadvantaged populations often ignored by mainstream business and research.  He is the founding Director of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, leading it through two cycles, transitioning it to new Directors Drs. Leslie Hammer and Ryan Olson in 2020 near the end of the second cycle.

Retiring in 2019 and rehired to complete grant projects and continue as Associate Director for Applied Research in the Institute, he oversees the outreach program, mentors new faculty (currently a member of Dr Huang’s lab and funded on Dr. Olson’s SHIFT Onboarding grant), continues to publish research, and develops literature reviews and new interventions.

Research Interests

Dr. Anger focuses on developing prevention programs for people who work in high-hazard industries and testing the effectiveness of those programs.  He also identifies and characterizes exposures that damage the nervous system with behavioral tests.  These are programs and tests that can be applied in broad situations.  That is, they scale.

The prevention programs generally are delivered through technology, such as computer-based training based on behavioral education principles and reinforced by practice through apps.  In addition, scripted training delivered in small teams, self-monitoring and various forms of practice on paper-based forms.

 The training and testing is designed to be effective with adults of all levels of education, including none.  Dr. Anger has published research in several industry sectors, including agriculture, construction, and transportation; populations of interest include those from minority-culture, veterans and members of the military.

Education

  • B.A., 1964, Stephen F. Austin State University
  • M.A., 1965, University of Wyoming
  • Ph.D., 1974, University of Maine

Honors and awards

  • Apple Distinguished Educator (~43 in higher education selected by Apple Computer) (2000)
  • Safety and Health at Work (best article in issue; December, 2010)
  • OHSU VP for Research Special Category Award [1 of 3 people for admin of CROET] (2012)
  • OHSU Senate Affiliated Units Collaboration Award (2014)
  • Oregon Public Health Institute Genius Nominee (2014)
  • Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health (GOSH) Conference Safety and Health Advocate Team Award (for the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center) (2017)

Memberships and associations

  • Association for Behavior Analysis, 1976
  • Behavioral Toxicology Society, 1982 (President, 1986-88**; Trustee, 1988-93) (**elected office)
  • American Psychological Association, 1985
  • International Commission on Occupational Health, 1986 (Member, Neurotox. Cte, 1991
  • International Neurotoxicology Association, 1986 ; Cte. Chair, 2012-15**) (**elected office)

Areas of interest

  • Total Worker Health
  • Violence Prevention
  • Workforce Retention
  • Pesticide Exposures

Publications

Publications

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