June 16, 2022 — Legendary singer Dolly Parton is donating $1 million to pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the organization announced on Wednesday.
The new gift is one of several that Parton has made to the medical center over the years, including a $1 million gift in April 2020 for COVID-19 vaccine research. The donation also helped Vanderbilt researchers test different existing drugs to reduce deadly symptoms associated with COVID-19 and try new therapies to prevent and treat infection.
The new gift will support ongoing infectious disease research in children, which includes understanding how viruses and bacteria cause disease, understanding and preventing antibiotic resistance, preventing and treating infections, diagnosing and treating infections in children with cancer, and defining the impact of childhood infections across 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 said in the statement.
Parton’s previous gift for coronavirus-related research was made in honor of her longtime friend Naji Abumrad, MD, a professor of surgery at the medical center, who treated her in the past. She has also donated to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program in honor of Abumrad and her niece, who was successfully treated for leukemia at the children’s hospital as a child.
“We are deeply honored by Dolly’s contribution to our research mission,” Mark Denison, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of the pediatric infectious diseases division, said in the statement.
“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 said.