Barnstable County Considers Regular Epidemiologist Position

Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment Director, Sean O’Brien

HYANNIS – In response to challenges faced during the COVID pandemic, Barnstable County Commissioners are considering making an epidemiologist position part of the municipality’s consistent staff. 

Among other health projects, County Health and Environment Director Sean O’Brien requested some of the American Rescue Plan Act funds received by the county be used to jumpstart the position on a contract-basis.

“It’s not just looking at COVID,” O’Brien told commissioners at their most recent meeting.

“We just went through monkeypox. As we get back into the regular way of doing things, we’re also looking now at Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.”

O’Brien added that an epidemiologist could also examine cancer rates in the region, especially as lawmakers and regulators direct their attention towards PFAS contamination across the nation.

“I actually see this position again working on an updated cancer study taking a hard look at some of the newer pollutants that we’re seeing within the county. Also looking at the rates that we had and maybe even re-evaluating where the previous cancer studies were at as well,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien said grant money could supplement the cost of the epidemiologist for a two year contract, with plans down the line to make it salaried. 

The contract request is for $60,000.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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