Athena Science Shop

Athena Science Shop supports non-profit organisations in all countries over the world by implementing research projects with a potential societal impact within the four research themes of Athena:


Athena coordinates research projects for individuals, civil society organizations (CSO) and communities who aim to address real world problems or explore opportunities for a more sustainable future. In order to address the incoming questions, the research will be conducted by students supervised by Athena staff members.

In most cases the research includes active participation with the commissioner and various stakeholders, including communities. We offer projects for bachelor, master and research master students in the Netherlands as well as abroad. If you are an organization that would like to pose a research question, or you are a student interested in conducting your thesis or internship in this field, please contact our Science Shop coordinator on scienceshop.athena@vu.nl

The Athena Science Shop is supported by the InSPIRES project and the Living Knowledge Network. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No. 741677.

Athena Science Shop logo's

MPA Internship Reports 2018

Sascha van der Vliet (International Public Health specialization)

In 1973 abortion was legalized in the United States (US). Nevertheless, the number of legal restrictions increased with 34% since 2011. Based on the legal restrictions, states can be divided into hostile, middleground and supportive states. On the other hand, legal restrictions are only some of the many barriers that women can face during their search for abortion information and services. The aim of this study is to fill in the research gap on the barriers that women, who cannot find a clinic themselves, experience. Many of these women approach Women on Web (WoW), which is a non‐profit online abortion platform that provides medical abortion pills and corresponding information to women in need of an abortion. This leads to the following research question: “What are the reasons women in supportive and middle‐ground states in the US search for a medication‐induced abortion at home through Women on Web?”

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Mariska M.J. Scheffer (International Public Health specialization)

Given the link between poverty and health, nurses deal with health consequences of social inequity across the United Kingdom (U.K.) and United States (U.S.) every day. In both countries, nurses are placed in the position which enables them to impact population health. However, little is known about the attitude of student nurses to social justice and poverty and about the impact of current pedagogical strategies teaching about health inequalities. The aim of the study was to assess and compare the attitude of Scottish and American nursing students to social justice and poverty before and after teaching about health inequalities.

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Hester A. Hopman (International Public Health specialization)

Despite the recommendation by the WHO that economic evaluations should be incorporated into national immunization decision-making, a standardized process for conducting and using economic evaluations for vaccine decision-making is lacking in Canada. Furthermore, there has been little research into how to incorporate economic evaluations into immunization decision-making and what barriers and facilitators exist in Canadian context. This study aims to investigate barriers and facilitators identified federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) and immunization research stakeholders, to using economic evaluations in decision-making for public health immunization programs in Canada.

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Zahra Khazai (Policy specialization) 

Leprosy is a neglected tropical disease and although there is a cure available, there are still many people in endemic countries infected by the disease or suffering from long-term complications, such as disabilities. In order to eliminate leprosy worldwide, health research is needed. In order for health research to be effective, the strengthening of health research systems is needed. A way of doing this is by defining research priorities. Furthermore, due to the limited resources and in order to effectively target the research and maximize the impact of health investments, it is important to define research priorities. Furthermore, a participatory way in which a wide range of stakeholders is involved in the research priority setting process is essential. The LRI, a combined venture of international NGOs working in the field of leprosy control, has develop a policy with research priorities in 2013. However, the field of leprosy is developing and it is unclear whether these priorities still cover the most important research topics in the field of leprosy. Therefore, the research question addressed in this report is: “Which leprosy-related research topics are considered to be the most important and prioritized by stakeholders?”

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Guido de Kort (Policy specialization)

The use of the illicit drug ‘ecstasy’ is related to acute, sub-acute and long term consequences to the health of its users. The causes of these consequences may be predicted by specific patterns of ecstasy use, such as polydrug use, physical exhaustion and lack of sleep. To inform future prevention policies aimed at educating users on high-risk ecstasy use it is necessary to identify patterns, predictors and consequences of ecstasy use. Smartphone based - Ecological Momentary Assessment, a method to assess constructs in ‘real-time’, by making use of smartphones, is posed to be a fruitful methodology to study ecstasy use. However, it is not yet clear whether EMA is feasible methodology in terms of compliance and acceptability.

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Marije Koster (Policy specialization) 

This paper reflected on drug policy making in the Netherlands and what the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) is. At the moment, drug policy reform is accelerating worldwide, which is, for example, evident in the Dutch debate on cannabis regulation, thereby creating a window of opportunity for civil society involvement. Knowledge and experience frequently highlight the crucial role of civil society in drug policy making, which has been historically illustrated by their contribution to solving the AIDS and heroin epidemics during the 80s and 90s in the Netherlands. The highly active role of CSO’s in the early 80’s resulted in a whole new drug policy paradigm which was highly successful in curbing the negative consequences of drug use: harm reduction. Little is known, however, about their current involvement and factors which hinder or promote their involvement. This entails the risk that policy makers and CSOs may overlook opportunities to improve the process, but also to prevent possible worsening of the process. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to investigate the role of CSOs in Dutch drug policy making and to make suggestions for improvement.

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Crissy van Weert (Policy specialization)

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of seventeen interrelated goals and 169 corresponding targets set out by the UN at the end of 2015. The SDGs aim to promote and coordinate the implementation of internationally agreed development. Currently, the SDGs are of substantial importance in achieving sustainable development worldwide and all countries within the UN agreed on contributing towards these goals.

Harm reduction for people who use drugs (PWUD) is an evidence-based approach to improve the health and quality of life of PWUD, and is a legitimate alternative to abstinence for people who are unable or not willing to abstain from drug use. Contrary to drug abstinence, harm reduction focuses on the prevention of harm, rather than on the prevention of drug use itself. Harm reduction is not mentioned explicitly in the SDGs, while abstinence is. Currently, the importance of harm reduction is not always acknowledged by local governments and other funders. The aim of this study was to understand whether ‘harm reduction’ contributes to the SDGs, and if so, in which way. Therefore, this study explored perceptions about the relation between harm reduction and the SDGs, as perceived by organizations involved with harm reduction or drug policy.

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Semnen Roberta Lambert MD (Management and Entrepreneurship specialization) 

Science Shop is a participatory research methodology. It is the involvement of society in research and innovation, in order to find solutions more in tune with the society’s needs. It was first initiated by university staff and students in the 1970s in the Netherlands. Today, Science Shops have
become widely recognized. Some limitations of the Science Shop have been found, overall, is its inability to fit our fast evolving world. Therefore, the European Union has asked its partners to jointly pilot and develop a new Science Shop model that include 4 elements: Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), Open Science (OS) and impact evaluation. This project is called InSPIRES, a 4-year experiential learning project that enables its partners in Europe to develop and try out this methodology in their research centers or
universities. CBPR has increasingly been seen as an important strategy for eliminating various disparities through engaging community members as partners in research design, collaborative about knowledge, interventions and policy making. RRI is an important aspect of Research in Science and Technology Studies (STS), which suggests that conceptions of responsibility should build on the understanding that science and technology are not only technically but also socially and politically constituted. OS is a term that includes assumptions about the future of knowledge and its dissemination to the public. The inclusion of these elements will lead to solutions more in tune with the society’s needs, values, and expectations. This new model is being implemented at all partner locations in Europe, of which one of the partners is the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).

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Britt Reeker (Management and Entrepreneurship specialization)

Many hospitals engage in active patient participation. Patients are increasingly encouraged to have an active role in their own care. To facilitate patient participation, self-service technologies have been introduced. Self-service provides patients more control over their own healthcare process. One of the self-service technologies that is increasingly getting the attention of hospitals is the self-service kiosk. ChipSoft is a Dutch software company that made the self-service kiosk available for the healthcare sector. ChipSoft recognises an increasing demand for the self-service kiosk from hospitals. The expectation is that more and more hospitals will use kiosks as it puts control into the hands of the patient. The increased demand makes that ChipSoft wants to further improve the kiosk in order to increase its effectivity. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the kiosk in order to know what aspects of the kiosk can be improved. An adjusted version of the HOT-fit evaluation framework is used as a guiding principle for the evaluation.

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Jelle Feddema (Management and Entrepreneurship specialization) 

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) pose a significant burden on health systems worldwide. Progress has been booked in reducing RTI disease burden through development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, though most efforts often fail to address the contribution of non-influenza viruses. Increasing awareness and the prevailing unmet need has resulted in the establishment of initiatives that aim to explore ways in which to extend innovation efforts for influenza to the broad range of respiratory viruses. This study will provide a detailed description of the state of the RTI market in Asia.

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Hannah Ellerbroek (Science in Society Major)

Recently, the first Science Shop in North-Africa was set up at Institut Pasteur in Tunis. This Science Shop is called “Science Ensemble” and is now executing their first project. As a Science Shop approach is novel in the region and in the institute, a reflection of the first year and a view into the future can be useful for the continuation of the Science Shop. This reflection is necessary as Science Ensemble wishes to create a vision that is shared between themselves and their stakeholders. For this, the following question is asked; “What are the perspectives of the involved stakeholders on the Science Ensemble Science Shop and their project, and how can these perspectives be used to create a shared RRI vision?”.

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2018 MPA posters

Faduma Mukhtar

  • The high quality care in the Netherlands is excellent compared to other countries. However, the country is also one of the top spenders on healthcare worldwide. As healthcare costs are rising unsustainably, the consequences of this trend are linked to the endangerment of accessibility of healthcare in the future.
  • Many opportunities to control healthcare costs can be found at micro level, namely with physicians. Several organizations are trying to address this problem among doctors by introducing the concept of high-value, cost-conscious care into the medical field. High-value, cost-conscious care is about preserving or increasing the high quality of care, whilst simultaneously reducing costs. One of these organizations, het Bewustzijnsproject, stimulates medical residents to create their own high- value, cost-conscious care projects in their department.
  • The aim of this research is to identify high-value, cost-conscious care carriers by evaluating high-value, cost-conscious care projects initiated by Dutch medical residents.

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Anouk Gaaf

Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a central nervous system depressant with euphoric and relaxant effects. At high doses drowsiness, and subsequently coma can occur. Combination with alcohol potentiates these effects. The relative proportion GHB related emergencies in the Netherlands is high (Monitor Drug Incidents). Also the fact that GHB is often combined with other substances creates additional risk. In order to be able to prevent such emergencies, and to best deal with GHB emergencies, more information would be necessary.

Objective
The aim of this study is to provide an update about the characteristics and clinical effects of GHB emergencies registered in the MDI and to investigate the role of other substances. In addition, motives of GHB combination use will be investigated.


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Louise L.E. de Vos Klootwijk

  • Since the early 2000s, outbreaks of sexually transmitted Hepatits C virus (HCV) infections have been reported among HIV-positive MSM.
  • Early detection and treatment of infections to prevent further transmission.
  • Development of the HCV-MOSAIC risk score to identify HIV-positve MSM at risk for HCV1.
  • In response to the increasing HCV prevalence, the sexually transmitted infection (STI )clinic in Amsterdam introduced routine HCV testing for HIV-positve MSM and implementation of the HCV-MOSAIC risk score alongside.

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Maja Milenkovic

Discussion

A high impact legislation change is related with:

  • Mindset change: changing employees attitude is proven to be one of the hardest organizational changes, simultaniously creating the best opportunity to add value to the business.
  • Lack of knowledge: relevant knowledge on MDR is essential for appropriate operation for both Johnson & Johnson and their customers.
  • Patient safety: patient protection has the highest priority for both Johnson & Johnson Medical and their customers.

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Carly van Gent

Background

Greying of the population causes doubts on expenditures in elderly care and forces the Dutch healthcare system to let elderly reside at home as long as possible. A key nursing activity in home care is that of bed bathing, which is a time consuming and labour-intensive activity. In addition,
washing with water and soap disrupts the skin, thereby increasing risk for infection and pressure ulcers.

Problem
Cocune has developed a disposable norinse washcloth as an alternative to the inefficient activity of traditional bed-bathing. However, despite its advantages, it is not yet being used in home care.

Study design
A market research was performed in order to identify characteristics that determine the marketability of Cocune no-rinse washcloths on the professional home care market.


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Floris Horst

“High-value cost-conscious care is about finding a balance between quality and costs. It is a fine balance in which quality is always most important.” 


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Charlotte Maguet

The food system system in the NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands NetherlandsNetherlandsreliesreliesrelies on intensive intensive intensivemonoculture monoculture monocultureagricultureagricultureagriculture agriculture agricultureagricultureto reach reachthe therank rankrankof second second largest largestlargest exporter exporter exporter of foodfood foodworldwide worldwide.Such Such food systems systems systemssystemsareare known to damage damage damagethethetheenvironment environment environment and andto presentpresent danger to people’s people’s people’s health health.

An interesting interesting approach approach approachto bring bring change change in food systems is investigated here here:the bottom bottom -up approach approach approach.
This research researchresearch is embedded embedded in the theFIT 4FOODFOODFOOD 2030 2030 projectprojectproject projectwhich which aimsaims to engageengage engageengagewith society and integrate integrateintegrate integrateits voicevoice into intoR&I on food systems systems.Its final final goal is to achieve achieve sustainable, sustainable, sustainable, resilient resilient and inclusive inclusive inclusivefood systems systems.


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Nienke Koopman

In the Netherlands there are still children growing up in poverty. This has large consequences for both their mental and physical health. The Rabobank supports primary school Crescendo and aims to create opportunities for children growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood of Amsterdam.
Nutrition & nature is one of the domains within their program and developed to make children become familiar with a healthy lifestyle. In order to reach more children the Rabobank aims to upscale their program and motivates other companies to set up similar programs. Therefore, the  program is evaluated.


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Oscar Klein

An explorative study from a multi-stakeholder perspective into public-private partnerships in the Dutch healthcare real estate market.


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Aileen Yang

When a pandemic breaks out it is crucial to have a clear and executable plan ready. Usually a mass vaccination campaign is initiated by the government. However, a pandemic vaccine goes through a shorter process. This causes the safety information to be incomplete. Therefore the monitoring is really important.

Therefore, the policy implemented by Lareb during the last pandemic in 2009 needs to be assessed, in order to enhance safety surveillance of influenza vaccines in a future pandemic. The aim of this study is to contribute to the improvement of the safety monitoring of vaccines by Lareb when a pandemic breaks out, by analyzing stakeholder insights regarding their experiences during the pandemic of 2009.


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Kyona Daal 

Introduction

Perceived transition in global health determinants, constellations and research approaches

  • Awareness of limitations of mono- multidisciplinary research
  • Transdisciplinary research (TDR) is becoming a key paradigm in global health field
  • TDR approach is research across disciplines, between the disciplines, and beyond and outside all disciplines.
  • Trans Global Health program educates new generation of global health scientists using TDR approach

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Zahra Khazai

Background

  • Leprosy: a disease of the ‘poor’
  • Cure available, but still 215.000 new cases in 2016 
  • Health research is essential to eliminate leprosy
  • In order for health research to be effective, defining research priorities in a participatory way is needed
  • LRI has defined research priorities in 2013, but there have been developments in the field of leprosy

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Sanam Almuradova

Introduction

  • An estimated 303,000 women die during pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium each year. About 99% of these deaths occur in LMIC and specifically in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia;
  • Indonesia, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo show a growing urban slum population and reflect widely recognised challenges of maternal health;
  • Growing number of urban slums and rapid urbanization process pose serious challenges for maternal health.


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Joey Woudstra

eHealth can have a positive impact on quality of healthcare, patient safety, the efficiency of care, cost-efficiency, and is associated with greater patient engagement. It uses ICT in health, combined with organizational change in healthcare systems. However, research shows that people with a low socioeconomic status, lower education, lower literacy and low health skills are more likely to have limited digital skills. 


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Karima Hazzouti

Problem Statement

Midwives have diculty signalling, discussing and referring depressive symptoms of Moroccan pregnant women. Existing Dutch interventions are usually not well suited to the cultural backgrounds of this target group.


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2018 Global health internship reports

Lucille Standaar

The increase of the development of technology, logistics and communication has led to an tremendous increase of human mobility worldwide. In the Netherlands, the diversification of the population in terms of cultural backgrounds is increasing. This phenomenon is demanding new approaches within the health sector as the concept of adequate health care differs among cultures. In the Netherlands, but also in other countries, populations from different cultural backgrounds often have a lower mental health outcome than the native population. This difference in mental health outcome has been assigned to social-economic factors. However, the approach of the mental health professional, in regard to the cultural difference, is also theorized to be accountable for this disparity. The role of the mental health professional suggests that there might be a lack of adequacy in the providence of mental health.

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Valente Martina

The purpose of this research is to investigate what are the factors that lead young women (18-­‐35) to be obsessed with healthy eating. The research question is: “What are the factors contributing to the choice of healthy eating and how they are involved in the progression from healthy eating to the obsession, in young women (18-­‐35)?” and the sub-­‐questions are: (1) “Are there eating-­‐related events experienced by women during adolescence, which may have influenced their transition to healthy eating?” (2) “What are the interactions between biological, psychological and social
factors that lead young women to restrict their diet to the point that diet itself becomes an obsession?”

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Annisa Ika Putri

Stigma related to infectious conditions like HIV and leprosy, and non-infectious conditions like schizophrenia and diabetes are known to severely impact the lives of people affected and the management and control of their condition. In some cases, there are people who are able to overcome these unpleasant experiences of stigma and turn their condition around towards a positive direction, who are called positive deviants. This study aimed to explore the factors and strategies of positive deviance across the four stigmatized health conditions and compare the quality of life between positive and non-positive deviants.

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Emma Douma

Although an increased interest in health is often considered a positive development, this interest can sometimes develop into a pathological preoccupation with a healthy lifestyle: orthorexia nervosa (ON). Since Steven Bratman coined the term orthorexia in 1997, significant research efforts have been made to investigate the phenomenon. Currently, ON is not officially classified as a psychiatric disorder, as there is too little robust evidence to classify it as such. The studies investigating ON have predominantly focused on diagnostic criteria, treatment methods and prevalence of the disorder, but the development and factors contributing to the development have been sparsely researched.

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