Comparisons of Network Structures Across Public Health Collaboratives: New Perspectives on the “Silo Effect”

Comparisons of Network Structures

In a response to scarce public resources and the nature of complex intractable public health problems, there have been increased multiorganizational and multisector collaborations to address population needs. Building organizational capacity to better serve community public health and other public service needs is an important mandate for improving the integrity and performance of public health systems.1 Fostering interorganizational partnerships to achieve public health outcomes is believed to have distinct advantages,1,2 and the practice of collaboration is growing within the public health system.3,4 Although this trend toward collaborating continues to increase, it is not clear to what extent the disciplinary and organizational silos that traditionally characterize public health still exist. Organizations are more inclined to work across boundaries, but that does not mean that they have aborted the tendency to work with those most “like” them, perpetuating the accompanying “silo effect.” We explored to what extent silos persist in this new era of interorganizational collaboration in the public health sector.

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