Leading by Listening: Cooke Scholar Lucy Marcil
Lucy Marcil is a pediatrician, a social entrepreneur, and a Cooke Scholar. In addition to her work at the Boston Medical Center (BMC), Lucy is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and the co-founder of StreetCred, a nonprofit organization that provides financial services in pediatric clinics for families with financial need.
After graduating magna cum laude from Davidson College, Lucy opted to join the Peace Corps for two years rather than going directly to medical school. Her growing interest in global health fueled the decision.
“I thought it was really important for me to have practical experience understanding what life was like in another part of the world, what needs were, and what the work was like to see if I really liked it,” Lucy says. “I realized that what I think needs to happen, whether I’m in Boston or halfway around the world, it doesn’t actually matter unless it’s also what the people I’m trying to serve also think needs to happen, because they’re the ones who actually know what they need.”
These lessons have continued to influence Lucy’s perspective on patient care and advocacy today. Following five years as a Cooke Graduate Scholar — during which Lucy completed both a Master of Public Health (MPH) at Johns Hopkins University and a Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine — she began her residency at BMC. While balancing the hectic schedule of a resident, Lucy co-founded a nonprofit with another resident to help families take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
“We decided to open tax preparation clinics in the pediatric clinic, so that people could come see their doctor, they could deal with their taxes. They could get back all the money that they were owed, and then they could go on their ways, and live their lives, take good care of their kids.”
Lucy emphasizes a core philosophy guiding StreetCred’s operation: “It’s essential to not just serve the community, but to let them serve themselves, because we know that people know what they need more than we do. As a result we have a community advisory board that we meet with intermittently, so that people can tell us, how is the program working for them? What do they like and not like about it? What are new ideas that we should incorporate?”
Lucy’s work with StreetCred was recently recognized when she was named a 2018 TED Fellow. “It’s part of my duty and privilege as a doctor to bring their voices to the greater public, and to people who have power, so that we really can create a healthier society.”
StreetCred is currently seeking collaborators of all sorts, including:
- Doctors, nurses, and other clinicians wanting to revolutionize healthcare by addressing financial instability as a health problem
- Community organizers, designers, and artists looking to empower families
- Business people, finance gurus, tech experts, childcare providers, and workforce development experts to help create a bundled wealth-building service