Levine Chapels
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Brookline, MA
SCOVELL, Melvin E. Formerly of Brockton, Newton, Waltham and Cambridge on June 5, 2021. Devoted husband of the late Cynthia (Cohn) Scovell. Exceptional father to Julie & her husband Mark Kaufman; Alice; Nell & her husband Colin Summers; Ted & his wife Gail; Claire & her husband Rob LaZebnik. Adored grandfather of Eric (& wife Cori) & Adam (& wife Molly) Kaufman; Emma (& husband Hal Emmer), Teddy (& wife Laura Cain) & Libby Coleman; Rudy & Dexter Summers; Freddy Scovell; and Max, Johnny, Annie & Will LaZebnik. Delighted great-grandfather of Harper, Jordan & Remi Kaufman, Quinn, Asher & Hudson Kaufman, Sophie Emmer. For the last 16 years, he was a committed partner of Lilla Waltch of Cambridge. Except for stints at Yale (A.B., Class of 1949) and serving as a U.S. Army Sergeant at Fort Eustis, he lived in the Boston area. He worked as an executive at the Morse Shoe Company until the Sixties when he decided to use his management expertise to help low-income communities. In 1969, he teamed with pediatrician Gerald Hass to found the South End Community Health Center with a mission "to provide the highest quality, culturally and linguistically sensitive, coordinated health care and social services to every patient regardless of their ability to pay." The SECHC thrived and became a case study in public health graduate programs. In 1971, Governor Frank Sargent appointed him Assistant Commissioner, Mass. Department of Public Welfare, where he oversaw the state Medicaid program for two years. Next, he partnered with Chuck Schwager to create "Scovell and Schwager, Inc." Their business cards stated, "Honest health care consultants." His projects included serving as Executive Director of the Greater Lawrence Mental Health Center, court-appointed receiver and Director of the Dimock Community Health Center, as well as director of community health centers and other human service programs, including Columbia Point, South Boston, Charles Drew, and the Martha Elliot Division of the Children's Hospital. He was a founding member of the Mass. League of Community Health Centers, Founding Chairman of the Board of Vinfen, co-founder and Chair of the Democratic State Committee Sub-committee on Health, and member of the Harvard Medical and Dental School Human Studies Committee. He served on boards including the Massachusetts NARAL Pro-Choice Foundation (Board Chair), Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center (Board Chair), Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, The Gifford School in Weston, and the New England Conservatory of Music. He also mentored many NEC musicians which gave him great pleasure. For decades, he was a Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry of the Harvard Medical School and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Boston University Medical School. A virtual memorial will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, The New England Conservatory of Music, or the ACLU. To leave a message for the family, please visit

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Published by Boston Globe from Jun. 7 to Jun. 8, 2021.
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Mel was the mentor and friend to many in the community health center movement, including me. In 1979 he recommended that the League hire me as the Executive Director and kept in close contact over all these years. Mel and Chuck navigated many centers out of difficult financial times and assisted others with growth strategies. He will be missed!
Jim Hunt
June 23, 2021
Betsy Richmond
June 13, 2021
Sorry to learn of the passing of "Medicaid Mel". An outstanding public servant and citizen.
Jim Boland
James Boland
June 9, 2021
So sad to learn about Mel’s passing. I was a board member when he was the Chair of Joseph Smith Community Health Center and have great respect for his knowledge, experience and commitment to have patient centered services. Mel Rest In Peace. Gabriela Canepa
Gabriela Canepa
June 8, 2021
I learned, today, of the passing of a great and good man, my mentor and friend, Mel Scovell. Mel forsook his Ivy League and corporate worlds to pioneer the delivery of comprehensive health care to the poor in Massachusetts. He was well known among local, state and national public health policy circles as a visionary and do-er. He was smart, smart, smart and as compassionate and tough as he was smart and he enriched the life of anyone who knew him. I was so incredibly luck to have worked for him and to have been touched by his wisdom. Mel Scovell, surely, leaves a very big hole in this world of ours.
Carol Topjian
June 8, 2021
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