The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which has faced strong criticism for its decision to hold a fundraiser this month at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, said Thursday that it would avoid “controversial venues” in the future.
The hospital’s chief executive, Dr. Laurie Glimcher, said in a statement that its upcoming event, scheduled for Feb. 18, had become a “lightning rod” for some.
“In the future we will avoid controversial venues that may distract from our focus on cancer care and research,” Glimcher said, adding that this year’s event would go on.
The announcement from the Boston hospital could increase pressure on other clinics and charities that have faced calls to cancel events at Mar-a-Lago.
Among them is the Cleveland Clinic, which had one of its staff doctors barred from entering the United States after President Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Dana-Farber has held a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago every year since 2011, and once in 2008. It expects 350 people to attend this year’s event, and raise about $1,400,000, according to a permit filed with the town of Palm Beach, Fla.
Palm Beach fundraisers for hospitals are nothing new, but this year’s galas have generated more discord because of what many see as a disconnect between the hospitals’ missions and the impacts of President Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Hundreds of medical students and faculty members signed a petition urging Dana-Farber to move this year’s fundraiser for that reason. “The executive order is a direct threat to the health and well-being of thousands of refugees worldwide who are fleeing violence and persecution by denying them consideration for refugee status in the United States,” it reads. The activists will also hold a demonstration on Saturday at Harvard Medical School.