SPRINGDALE, ARK. – Tyson Foods Inc. announced the appointment of Dr. Claudia Coplein to the newly created role of chief medical officer. Coplein will be assisting the company’s efforts to protect the health of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coplein is a physician executive who brings more than 20 years of health care experience to the new role. She previously held leadership roles in the insurance, global manufacturing, health care and technology fields, most recently serving as head of Health and Wellness and chief medical officer at MassMutual. She will report to Johanna Söderström, executive vice president and chief human resources officer for Tyson Foods.

Dr. Claudia Coplein

“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,” Söderström said. “Her unique perspective of the health care 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.”

The appointment will be effective Jan. 4.

“It is an honor to be named Tyson Foods’ first Chief Medical Officer,” Coplein said. “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.”

During her more than 20 years of health care experience, 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 US 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.

Part of her new responsibilities include overseeing the launch of Marathon Health clinics that will be piloted in seven of the company’s plant communities including: Carthage/Center, Texas; Berryville, Ark.; Storm Lake, Iowa; Holcomb, Kan.; Lexington, Neb.; Wilkesboro, NC; and Newbern, Tenn.

The addition of a chief medical officer is the latest in a series of steps Tyson has taken to combat coronavirus outbreaks in its facilities. The company said it has invested $540 million during 2020 including installing 150 temperature scanners and workstation dividers, employing 150 social distance monitors, COVID-19 testing, and additional workers pay and benefits. 

The company added that more than half of its workforce has been tested for COVID-19.

The company has also hired an additional 200 nurses and administrative staff this year, bringing its occupational health staff to almost 600 people.