Susan Bennett

Published June 8, 2020

Susan Bennett, a longtime UB faculty member and pioneer in rehabilitation practices for people with multiple sclerosis, died June 4 after a battle with cancer. She was 64.

A clinical professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and interim chair of the department from 2016-18, Bennett was the first rehabilitation professional to receive the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers’ Lifetime Achievement Award, which  recognizes an individual whose decades-long commitment has driven significant advances in the care of people with MS. The CMSC is the preeminent organization for health care providers involved in the care of MS patients.

Bennett also will be remembered as a kind and generous teacher, mentor, colleague and friend. More than 100 comments posted to the Facebook page of her physical therapy practice, Bennett Rehabilitation Institute, have praised Bennett for her caring, empathy and dedication to her students and patients.

The practice, which Bennett founded in 1992, is a leader in treating patients with neurological conditions.

A native of Buffalo, Bennett was a member of the first graduating class at Daemen College to earn an undergraduate degree in physical therapy. She earned a master’s in science in health science education and a doctor of education degree in health behavioral sciences from UB and a doctor of physical therapy degree from Marymount University in Arlington, Va.

In addition to her faculty position at UB, she also was a full-time faculty member in D’Youville College’s DPT program, and throughout her career taught thousands of student physical therapists at both institutions.

Bennett was a principal investigator or co-investigator in several key clinical trials, as well as an invited presenter or lecturer at numerous medical conferences, both nationally and internationally.

She authored or co-authored articles in numerous leading medical journals, including Multiple Sclerosis, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, International Journal of Multiple Sclerosis Care and the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy.

Bennett served as president of the CMSC from 2012-14, and was the organization’s treasurer, chair of the Rehabilitation Research Interest Group and project director of the International Organization of MS Rehabilitation Therapists. She was a longtime member of the board of directors of the New York Physical Therapy Association and a former president of the organization. She also was a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Neurology.

A service celebrating Bennett’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Aug. 1 at St. Joseph University Parish, 3269 Main St., Buffalo.