MS Rehabilitation Specialist, Susan Bennett, Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from CMSC

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Susan Bennett and June Halper

The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) has awarded Susan E. Bennett one of its highest honors, the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bennett, a clinical professor of rehabilitation science at the University at Buffalo and pioneer in the field of MS rehabilitation, was honored for her achievements in advancing care for multiple sclerosis patients since the 1990s. She is the first rehabilitation professional to receive this recognition by the CMSC.

The award was presented at the CMSC 2016 meeting by June Halper, the group’s CEO. CMSC represents over 10,000 healthcare professionals across the globe providing care for people with multiple sclerosis.

“This is the first time that an individual from the rehabilitation field has received this award,” Halper said in a news release. “Sue Bennett is a pioneer in rehabilitation practices and the role it plays in the comprehensive care of neurological disorders, especially with MS. She has also been an invaluable leader and role model for CMSC, and her unwavering commitment to enhancing the care and quality of life of people with MS, and their families, reflects the highest ideals of the CMSC and all of our allied organizations.”

Susan Bennet and June Halper
Susan Bennett, left, clinical professor of rehabilitation science at the University at Buffalo, after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the CMSC. With her is June Halper, the group’s CEO. (Credit: University at Buffalo)

“It’s a special honor to be the first rehabilitation professional to receive the award. It caught me totally off guard. It’s one of the highest awards I’ve ever received in my professional career,” said Bennett.

At the presentation, Bennett thanked both Lawrence Jacobs and Frederick Muncshauer for being her mentors. Muncshauer is now vice president of neurology and immunology for EMD Serono biopharmaceuticals, continuing his commitment to searching for a cure for multiple sclerosis.

Bennett also noted the progress made over the past two decades in the care of MS patients.

“We have come so far from 1995, when we never thought of rehabilitation in MS. We never thought of exercise in MS,” she said. “It was ‘Go home, rest, don’t overheat, don’t overstress yourself.’ And of course the patients got worse because of disuse atrophy.”

Bennett is also a clinical professor in the Department of Neurology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and a physical therapist with UB Neurosurgery (UBMD Physicians Group). She runs the Bennett Rehabilitation Institute, her own practice, which she opened in 1992, and she served as CMSC president from 2012 to 2014.

“The consortium is what it’s about. It’s about comprehensive care, all of us working together to advance quality of life and the functionality of our patients,” Bennett added. She currently serves as project director for the Rehabilitation Fellowship Group and is chair of the CMSC Rehabilitation Research Interest Group.

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