Dolly Parton Donates $1 Million to Vanderbilt’s Pediatric Infectious Disease Research
Dolly Parton is again using her platform and resources for good. The legendary country singer-songwriter has donated $1 million to pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).
The money will help fund research in various ares related to pediatric infectious diseases — research that, per a press release, will help "understanding how viruses and bacteria cause disease, understanding and preventing resistance to antibiotics, preventing and treating infections, diagnosing and treating infections in children with cancer and research to define the impact of 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 of the large donation.
This isn't nearly the first time Parton has done her part to help medical research. At the start of the pandemic in 2020, she donated $1 Million to VUMC in honor of her friend, surgery professor Naji Abumrad, MD, to help in the battle against COVID-19. These funds went towards the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. VUMC's COVID research has also worked towards developing clinical trials and therapies to help treat and prevent the virus. Parton also previously donated to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program.
Mark Denison, MD, professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, says his department is "deeply honored by Dolly’s contribution to our research mission."
"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," he says.
"Dolly’s previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program, has already saved countless lives," adds 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."
In addition to donating to VUMC's research efforts, Parton has supported children throughout the years with her own endeavors. One of these is her Imagination Library, a literacy program that mails one book per month to children from birth until kindergarten.