Episode 27: Employers' critical role with COVID-19 vaccinations

March 23, 2021

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Episode details

The ongoing pandemic has put a spotlight on people’s physical and mental health – and on the critical role employers have in safeguarding their employees’ overall well-being. As the vaccine efforts continue across the U.S., we discuss the role employers should play in terms of the vaccination roll out. Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Chief Health Improvement Officer at MaineHealth, and Rob Hecker from Unum discuss how employers — of all sizes — can help with vaccination efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • It’s a race against time. Vaccinations are the single most important thing we can do for the health our communities right now. COVID-19 variants are emerging – some which are more contagious and sometimes more fatal. [02:00]
  • Why employers should play a role. Vaccines are the fastest way for employees to return to some sort of normalcy and return to the office, and employers can play a critical role. Early in the pandemic, employers emerged as a trusted source of information. Encourage employees to get vaccinated when it’s available to them, as part of your organization’s commitment to employee physical and emotional wellbeing. [03:17]
  • Make it easy. It can be difficult for some people to get vaccinated, especially if the facility doesn’t allow children or if there are long lines. Employers can make it easier by allowing time during work hours to get vaccinated. [05:14]
  • Develop a strategic plan. Talk to experts, be flexible and rethink what you’re doing based upon what you learn. Most importantly, be transparent with everything – even what you don’t know. It’s really just about communicating, staying close to the experts, and tapping into the resources that are readily available. [07:37]
  • It’s all hands on deck. This is the largest vaccine campaign in history. Local businesses can provide trusted non-medical volunteers to help local clinics and healthcare facilities. Employees find it fulfilling, and it accomplishes a similar goal to end the pandemic. [14:18]
  • Additional resources. Click here for additional resources.

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Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPD, FAAP

Chief Health Improvement Officer, MaineHealth

Since 2018, Dr. Dora Anne Mills has served as the chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth, Maine’s largest health system. She previously served as the Maine CDC Director for 15 years, overseeing many efforts, including the development of a statewide public health infrastructure, Maine’s response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, and the implementation of a system for chronic disease prevention, and addressing a number of environmental health issues. She also simultaneously served as the State Epidemiologist. For seven years, she served as the vice president for clinical affairs and the director of the Center for Health Innovation at the University of New England. Earlier in her career, she practiced medicine in her hometown of Farmington. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the highest honors by the Maine Medical Association, the Maine Public Health Association, and the Nathan Davis Award by the American Medical Association. Dr. Mills is a graduate of Bowdoin College, UVM College of Medicine, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

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Rob Hecker

Vice President, Global Total Rewards, Unum

Rob Hecker is currently the Vice President of Global Total Rewards, responsible for Unum’s health, medical and retirement plans, well-being strategies and compensation and rewards programs. Prior to moving into his current role, Rob was the Vice President of National Client Group Services, responsible for developing client service delivery strategies for Unum’s 2000+ employees customer segment. His areas of responsibility included client management strategy, new customer implementation, premium collections, contract services and administrative management services. Rob’s previous business experience includes Vice President of Unum’s Leave Management Center, Vice President Voluntary Claims Operations and Vice President LTD Benefits. Prior to joining Unum, Rob was employed by Holiday Inn Corporations as a labor relations specialist and Director of Human Resources. An active community leader, Rob has served on the boards of the Unum Charitable Foundation, The Chattanooga Y-ME Breast Cancer organization, Chattanooga Humane Educational Society and Unum’s United Way leadership council.

About the host

Clare Morin headshot

Clare Morin

Unum Content Marketing Manager

Clare Morin is the Content Marketing Manager at Unum and a journalist who’s spent the last 20 years interviewing hundreds of thought leaders on topics ranging from wellness to culture, finance, human resources and technology. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and based in the U.S. since 2009, she brings a global outlook to the HR Trends studio.

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