Hundreds of Cleveland Clinic, Harvard physicians protest events at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort

Hundreds of medical students, physicians, nurses and researchers opposed to President Donald Trump's immigration restrictions are urging the leaders of Cleveland Clinic and Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to cancel their respective fundraisers at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.

The Cleveland Clinic's fundraiser at the Florida resort is scheduled for Feb. 25, and Dana-Farber's is scheduled for Feb. 18.

Days after President Trump issued an executive order that put an indefinite hold on refugee admissions to the U.S. and temporarily blocked immigration and travel from seven countries in the Middle East, hundreds of clinicians and doctoral candidates affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic signed an open letter to the health system's CEO, Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, MD, asking him to denounce his perceived ties to the president and criticizing the decision to hold the annual fundraiser at one of the president's clubs, according to

The letter calls on Dr. Cosgrove to reschedule the fundraiser to another location that does not profit President Trump and release a public statement that condemns the immigration ban, pledges to protect Cleveland Clinic employees from deportation as much as possible and emphasize the organization's commitment to diversity, according to the report.

Eileen Sheil, executive director of corporate communications at the Cleveland Clinic, provided the following statement in an email on the open letter and the requests by its signatories: "The event in Florida is solely to raise important dollars that support research in cardiac care that can make a difference in caring for patients. We are grateful for the support of our donors."

Although 1,206 caregivers in Boston and around the U.S. signed a petition making similar requests to the leaders of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which is the principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, administrators said it would not risk losing money that could benefit cancer research by canceling the fundraiser, according to The Boston Globe.

Six medical students and one physician on Sunday emailed Dana-Farber president Laurie Glimcher, MD, and development head Susan Paresky, saying the president's immigration order threatens the medical school's research program, presents a barrier to international patients who seek care at Dana-Farber, and "is a direct threat to the health and well-being of thousands of refugees worldwide who are fleeing violence and persecution," The Boston Globe reported.

The group began the petition at 6 p.m. Monday on social media after not receiving a reply to their email.

Dr. Glimcher and Josh Bekenstein, chairman of Dana-Farber's board of trustees, on Tuesday responded to the group in writing. They said that while they sympathize with the group's concerns about immigration restrictions, it's too late to cancel the event. "Contracts have been signed," they wrote, "and a large number of people have committed to attend. Canceling the event outright would only deny much-needed resources for research and care."

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