Dolly Parton Donates $1 Million To Pediatric Infectious Disease Research

Photo: Courtesy of Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is giving another $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. This time, the country music icon’s gift will go toward pediatric infectious disease research, aiming “to help in the fight against serious infectious diseases such as coronavirus that have worldwide ramifications,” per a press release announcing Parton’s donation on Wednesday (June 14).

“I love all children,” Parton said in a statement. “No child should ever have to suffer, and I'm willing to do my part to try and keep as many of them as I can as healthy and safe as possible.”

Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases is conducting ongoing research to understand how viruses and bacteria can cause disease. The division’s research also aims to understand and prevent resistance to antibiotics, prevent and treat infections, diagnose and treat infections in children with cancer, and more. Parton also gave a $1 million gift to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in April 2020 in honor of professor of surgery and friend Naji Abumrad in an effort to help combat COVID-19, the press release noted. Parton has also given “a transformational contribution to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program.” That contribution was inspired by Abumrad and Parton’s niece, who successfully received leukemia treatment as a child at the hospital.

“We are deeply honored by Dolly’s contribution to our research mission,” said Mark Denison, MD, professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. “For over 40 years our division has been a national and international leader in studies for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of life-threatening infections, and this gift will accelerate our work and support new ideas.”

“Dolly’s previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program, has already saved countless lives," added Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “This new gift will bolster our defenses against future threats to the safety of this region and society as a whole. It speaks volumes about her passion for people, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”