Dr. Susan S. Swift

A health care consultant who owned and operated her own firm and also chaired Planned Parenthood of Maryland

March 25, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Susan S. Swift, a health care consultant and former Brooklandville resident, died March 15 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, at her home in Key Largo, Fla.

She was 63.

Dr. Swift was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised in Washington and Westchester County, N.Y.

She was a 1964 graduate of Scarsdale High School and earned a bachelor's degree in 1968 from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass.

Dr. Swift earned a master's in public health administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and her doctorate from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, where she later taught.

Dr. Swift was deputy commissioner for mental retardation for the state of New York, and later was vice president of administration at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

In 1983, she joined the University of Maryland Medical System, where she was senior vice president of finance and systems.

In 1987, she established Susan S. Swift Ltd. and the Venetian Group, both health consulting and executive coaching firms, which she owned and operated until 2007.

While living in Brooklandville, Dr. Swift had marched in Washington three times in support of abortion rights and had been chair of Planned Parenthood of Maryland.

She also served with the Greater Baltimore Council's Leadership Initiative and was recognized as one of the top 100 women leaders in Maryland.

At the time of her death, she was on the board of Planned Parenthood of South Florida, the National Osteoporosis Society and the American Red Cross.

She had just stepped down as chair of Pathfinder International and was fostering support as a board member for Shake-A- Leg Miami, an organization that helps empower the physically and mentally challenged.

"She was deeply committed to social issues, particularly those dealing with women, children and human rights around the world," said her husband of 25 years, Dr. Michael A. Berman, a pediatric cardiologist who is executive vice president and director of New York Presbyterian Hospital.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. March 28 at Ocean Reef Chapel in Key Largo.

Also surviving are her mother, Betty Swift of Beltsville; a sister, Diana Zuchelli of Ridge, N.Y.; two stepdaughters, Debra Howard of Chicago and Beth Michelson of Detroit; and three grandchildren.

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