Tyson Foods appointed Dr. Claudia Coplein to the newly-created role of chief medical officer.

Coplein is a physician executive who brings more than 20 years of healthcare experience to the company after holding leadership roles in the insurance, global manufacturing, healthcare and technology fields. Her immediate focus will be assisting the company’s efforts to protect team members during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also working to expand and promote a culture of health, safety and wellness at Tyson.

The appointment is effective January 4. Coplein, who was most recently head of health & wellness and chief medical officer at MassMutual, will report to Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer Johanna Söderström.

Coplein will also oversee the launch of Marathon Health clinics that will be piloted in seven of the company’s plant communities.

“At Tyson, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our team members, so I am especially excited to add Dr. Coplein to our team,” said Söderström. “Her unique perspective of the healthcare ecosystem will be a tremendous asset as we continue to build a culture of health and take additional steps to protect our team members and plant communities.”

“It is an honor to be named Tyson Foods’ first chief medical officer,” said Coplein. “I look forward to contributing to Tyson’s culture of caring for its team members and discovering new and innovative ways to further build our culture of safety, health and wellness.”

Advertisement

Dr. Coplein has held leadership and executive positions at MassMutual, ConnectiCare, MetLife, United Technologies Corporation and General Electric Company, and served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. She earned her medical degree from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine and her law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, as well as Master’s degrees in Public Health from Loma Linda University, Business Administration from Colorado State University and Environmental Management from Yale University. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Baystate Health.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of steps the company has taken to fight new waves of the coronavirus, including the strategic testing of workers without symptoms. The company has invested $540 million to transform its U.S. facilities with protective measures, from walk-through temperature scanners and workstation dividers to social distance monitors and always-on testing, as well as provide additional team member pay and benefits. It is also working with outside health experts, expanding its health services staff, and plans to pilot health clinics for team members and their families early next year.

Tyson Foods is using testing as a tool and estimates more than half of its workforce has been tested for COVID-19. The company is currently testing thousands of workers per week as part of its industry-leading monitoring strategy. In addition to testing those with symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone who has the virus, the company is also proactively testing workers who have no symptoms.

Investing in team member health

Tyson has hired an additional 200 nurses and administrative staff this year, which means the company now has an occupational health staff of almost 600. These medical professionals screen for symptoms, conduct testing and track cases to help care for team members if they become ill. Long-term, they will provide support for the company’s overall team member health and wellness efforts.

In addition, the company has announced plans to open pilot health clinics to give team members and their families easier access to high-quality healthcare and, in most cases, at no cost. The locations that will be served include:

  • Carthage/Center, Texas;
  • Berryville, Arkansas;
  • Storm Lake, Iowa;
  • Holcomb, Kansas;
  • Lexington, Nebraska;
  • Wilkesboro, North Carolina;
  • Newbern, Tennessee.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.