Dolly Parton is donating $1 million to pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The donation will help support ongoing research in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at VUMC, which includes understanding how viruses and bacteria cause disease, treating infections, diagnosing infections in children with cancer, and learning more about childhood infections throughout the world.
“I love all children. 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,” Parton says about the donation. The legendary country music star also donated $1 million to VUMC in April 2020 to help in the battle against COVID-19.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers have tested an array of already existing drugs in urgent clinical trials aimed at reducing life-threatening symptoms associated with COVID-19. “We are deeply honored by Dolly’s contribution to our research mission,” says 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,” Denison continues.
Among Parton’s other gifts to VUMC was a transformational contribution to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program in honor of her long-time friend, Naji Abumrad and her niece, Hannah Dennison. Dennison was successfully treated for leukemia as a child at the children’s hospital.
“Dolly’s previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program has already saved countless lives,” says 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.”