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Sean O’Brien, Director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, Announces Retirement after 38 Years of Public Service

County Commissioners Ronald Bergstrom, Sheila Lyons, and Mark Forest congratulate Sean O’Brien on his retirement from Barnstable County during their June 5 meeting.

Barnstable County announces the retirement of Sean O’Brien, Director of the Department of Health and Environment, on July 1, 2024, after nearly 38 years of dedicated service in public health. While the County celebrates Sean’s well-deserved retirement, it is also deeply saddened to see him depart. 

Sean O’Brien has been a cornerstone of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment for nearly four decades. He served as a Senior Environmental Specialist from September 1987 to September 2001, leading and growing several programs that were essential to protecting public health within Cape Cod’s 15 towns. Of note, Sean spearheaded the Cape Cod Rabies Task Force (CCRTF), fostering partnerships with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH), and Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine to eradicate terrestrial rabies east of the Cape Cod Canal for nearly 10 years. 

Sean concurrently held the role of Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and was instrumental in establishing the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC), which he led from 2001 to 2020. The BCREPC has significantly enhanced the County’s ability to respond to emergencies, serving as a model for similar efforts throughout the state. 

Seven years ago, Sean became the Director of Health and Environment, leading the Department with vision and dedication and making significant contributions to public health and environmental protection. Most recently, he has been at the forefront of regional efforts to combat COVID-19, ensuring public safety and health. 

To those who know and work for/with him, Sean is a compassionate, upbeat, knowledgeable, and conscientious colleague and leader who cares deeply for the communities of Cape Cod and the Islands. Barnstable County, in particular the staff of BCDHE will miss Sean’s support and mentorship. We wish him a happy and fulfilling retirement, knowing his legacy will continue to inspire future public health efforts.