Dissertation Award for Alena Kamenshchikova and Esther Steenaart

During the online CAPHRI Research Meeting on 23 November the Dissertation Award 2021 was presented to Alena Kamenshchikova and Esther Steenaart. The Dissertation Award recognizes the completion of an outstanding dissertation by a CAPHRI PhD candidate in 2020. 


nominations dissertation award

The nominations for the Dissertation Award 2021 were:

Ingrid Kremer (Creating Value-Based Healthcare)
Facilitating shared decision making with a patient decision aid for choosing a treatment for multiple sclerosis: Guiding stakeholders through a forest of criteria

Alena Kamenshchikova (Health Inequities and Societal Participation)
Resistant bacteria in society: Travelling through practices of policy, healthcare and science.

Floor van den Brand (Optimising Patient Care)
Financial incentives for smoking cessation.

Esther Steenaart (Promoting Health and Personalised Care)
Organ donation education: Vital for promoting active registrations.

The jury

The CAPHRI Dissertation Award 2021 jury consisted of:  

  • Sandra Beurskens, prof. Targeted Measurements in Daily Care, UM 
  • André Knottnerus, Emeritus prof. Family Medicine, UM
  • Sandra Zwakhalen, prof. Nursing Science, UM

The jury has analysed all applications on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Scientific quality of the research conducted
  • The societal impact of the research conducted
  • The nature and originality of the research questions and the methodology chosen by the candidate
  • Supporting the mission of CAPHRI
  • The motivation/-supporting letter

The jury had the task to select the candidate who should be awarded based on these criteria. What became certainly clear, is that this was not an easy choice given the outstanding PhD dissertations. The jury therefore unanimously decided to deliver 2 awards this year. 

And the winners are...


Alena Kamenshchikova

Resistant bacteria in society: Travelling through practices of policy, healthcare and science

What the jury says:
"Alena Kamenshchikova PhD research focused on a very actual theme and her approach is very innovative and transdisciplinary. Her work addresses antimicrobial resistance and focuses on the important aspect of prevention by contributing to understanding how the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance can be prevented. Her research is transdisciplinary in the fields of public health, social sciences, philosophy and medical microbiology and she collaborated with different disciplines. Her thesis is also inclusive by focusing on both minority groups such as refugees but also major groups at risk such as global travelers and students.

She used different qualitative methodologies such as qualitative ethnographic studies and discourse analysis and made combinations with microbiological methods such as metagenomic resistome analysis. She summarized her work in a publication in Lancet Infectious Diseases in 2020 (Commentary). For her innovative and excellent PhD thesis, Alena has fully deserved the CAPHRI Dissertation Award 2021!"


Esther Steenaart

Organ donation education: Vital for promoting active registrations

What the jury says: 
"Esther Steenaart's PhD research focused on very important and topical questions. Is it possible to promote the willingness to actively register as an organ donor by means of a widely applicable educational program?  What can be achieved with this, especially in target group with a relatively low registration rate? In the Netherlands, these questions are the more relevant because of the recently revised donor law.

Esther studied this crucial question by updating an educational program previously developed to support high school students (havo/vwo), bringing this into the format of a modern hybrid version (including a web-based education program), and evaluating it among the large national target group of students in vocational education (MBO). These students were not reached by the previous educational programme and the registration rate among this group is relatively low.

In her research, Esther applied a large variety of methodological approaches that well fitted her study aims: cross-sectional, experimental (cluster randomized controlled), qualitative, and between-subjects experimental 3x2 designs, using representative national sampling where possible.

She concluded that, while low organ donation registration rates remain a complex problem in the Netherlands, providing education in a school setting could contribute to increasing these rates among young people who have not been reached by other initiatives properly. Based on the effect evaluation, suggestions were given to further improve the program, which could increase the effectiveness. The positive results of the evaluation study encourage a national dissemination of the program.

The findings of all studies were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and the results were presented at several (inter)national conferences.

For her excellent PhD thesis, Esther has fully deserved the CAPHRI Dissertation Award 2021!"