Esther Boudewijns is a PhD-candidate in Family Medicine at Maastricht University. She studied health sciences and epidemiology. Since 2017, she is involved in project Exhale, which aims to develop and provide access to improved cookstoves (ICS) in Indian urban slums. She worked as a researcher in the field in Bangalore for several months to develop the ICS, and to test the impact of the ICS on indoor air pollution and respiratory health of women and children. Here, she realized the importance of a participatory, context-oriented approach grounded in the realities of these communities, to address issues of user needs, acceptability and sustainability of the project. She wrote several publications on this topic, among others in the Lancet. Currently, she is involved in the set-up of small businesses to disseminate the ICS. She is involved in the Maastricht Platform for Community-Engaged Research (MPCER) since the initial start in 2017. Working alongside the relevant community in the research process is challenging, and therefore she believes that MPCER might be an excellent opportunity to learn from other researchers and to support each other on an interdisciplinary level.
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