September 29, 2021 | Uncomfortable Realities: Facing the Challenges of Vaccine Mandates

Oregon’s health care workers are required to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by October 18 under Gov. Kate Brown’s recent directive. Vaccine mandates could drive out vaccine-hesitant professionals from hospitals and other health care settings at a time when workers are already stretched to mental and physical limits as the ongoing pandemic has forced them to treat an overwhelming number of patients. Under a similar action imposed by the Biden administration, federal employees in health care environments will soon be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, potentially exacerbating the current workforce shortage and leaving trained but unvaccinated workers with fewer employment options. How do we protect public health while respecting individual liberty and choices? Our panel will discuss the human resource and legal considerations in developing a balanced response to these challenges.


Mercer does not endorse or promote a particular view on employer vaccine mandates or a specific approach to the implementation of an employer vaccine mandate.

Comments made during this program by Kyle Abraham and Heidi Mason, attorneys at law, are for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

Views expressed during this program by John Santa, MD, volunteer member of several Oregon committees, are his own and do not represent the positions of those committees or colleagues who participate on them. 


Principal, Total Health Management, Mercer

Sandy Goldstein joined the Mercer Total Health Management team in January 2020 and serves as a Principal, Clinical Services Nurse Consultant. She consults on broad healthcare strategy and provides national leadership for the COVID-19 pandemic response team and high value care solutions horizontal. Sandy consults with employers on everything health and wellness, having a special interest in influencing clinical quality, cost, patient safety and outcomes, employee engagement, company culture, streamlining process flows, strategic and priority planning, regulatory compliance and performance improvement.

Sandy is a nurse executive with over 25 years’ experience in healthcare, of which 15+ are in healthcare leadership. She is a Board Certified Advanced Nurse Executive, a Certified Health Coach as well as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality. Sandy completed her Master of Science in Health Service Administration degree at Regis University and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at University of Florida.

Contact Sandy Goldstein at


John Santa, MD, MPH
Retired Clinician and Health Practice Administrator

John Santa is a retired primary care physician and health administrator. He has worked in leadership positions for hospitals, physician groups, insurers, research and state government, focusing especially on health policy issues and transparency. He has taught in multiple venues: introductory courses to clinical medicine, resident courses in public health and preventive medicine, and health policy courses. His work has been possible because of the education and training he received at Stanford, Tufts Medical School, Portland Good Samaritan Hospital and Portland State University. He is currently involved in multiple health-related activities as a volunteer in Oregon and nationally.

Heidi Mason, JD, PHR, SHRM-CP
Attorney, Innova Legal Advisors PC

Heidi Mason represents public and private organizations in employment and labor law matters.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Heidi worked as a human resources professional for mid-sized and large corporations. She has hands-on experience in recruitment and selection, compensation and benefits, employee and labor relations, occupational safety, leaves of absence, payroll, and ensuring compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and collective bargaining agreements. Heidi earned her bachelor’s degrees in human resource management and general management from Portland State University and her J.D., cum laude, from Lewis and Clark College, Northwestern School of Law. She is also PHR and SHRM-CP certified.

Contact Heidi Mason at

Kyle T. Abraham, JD, MBA
Attorney, Barran Liebman LLP

Kyle Abraham represents employers in traditional labor and employment law matters. His labor practice includes negotiating collective bargaining agreements, advising on contract administration issues, and representing employers before labor arbitrators, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Oregon Employment Relations Board. In his employment law practice, Kyle is an experienced litigator who has successfully represented clients before U.S. circuit and district courts, Oregon and Washington state courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, and other state and federal agencies. He leverages his experience to help employers anticipate and resolve problems at the earliest possible stage and in a cost-effective manner, with the confidence and capability to defend employers if the matter escalates to litigation. Additionally, Kyle is a trained and experienced workplace investigator, and he regularly conducts investigations into allegations of employee misconduct, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or other sensitive issues. Kyle has been recognized as an expert witness in the field of workplace investigations.

Contact Kyle Abraham at

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