The Importance of Vertical and Horizontal Collaboration: United States’ Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Ruthnande Kessa, Abdul-Akeem Sadiq, Jungwon Yeo


COVID-19 has devastated the global community at an alarming rate. Conventional approaches like command and control are ineffective to respond to this pandemic. The complex and interdependent nature of the pandemic demands collaborative efforts among actors across diverse segments and different levels of government. Collaboration is critical during this pandemic because it can enable a more coordinated response, resources can be shared, trust among the parties can be enhanced, and duplication of efforts can be minimized. In this commentary, drawing on the literature on collaboration, we discuss the importance of vertical and horizontal collaboration by examining the U.S. response to COVID-19. This commentary underscores the importance of vertical and horizontal collaboration among all levels of government, private entities, and nonprofit organizations in effectively responding to COVID-19 and ensuring the health and safety of Americans. This commentary concludes by making recommendations for improving both vertical and horizontal collaboration during the current pandemic and future public health emergencies.



Collaboration, vertical collaboration, horizontal collaboration, COVID-19, public health emergencies

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