Dolly Parton Donates $1 Million To Pediatric Infectious Disease Research: ‘No Child Should Ever Have To Suffer’

Dolly Parton has donated $1 million to the pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A press release…

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Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

June 15, 2022

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Dolly Parton with Naji Abumrad, MD; Photo Courtesy Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton has donated $1 million to the pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A press release issued on Wednesday (June 15) confirmed the generous donation. 

“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 shared in a statement. 

“We are deeply honored by Dolly’s contribution to our research mission,” Mark Denison, MD, professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, added. “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.”

According to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center website, “ongoing research in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases includes 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.” 

Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for ACM
Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for ACM

This isn’t the first time Parton has donated to VUMC. In April of 2020, the country music icon donated $1 million to help support research surrounding COVID-19 treatments and cures. The donation was in honor of the “9 to 5” singer’s longtime friend, Naji Abumrad, MD, professor of Surgery. 

Parton previously contributed to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program in honor of Abumrad and her niece, Hannah Dennision. When she was a child, Dennison was successfully treated for leukemia at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital.

Dolly Parton; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Dolly Parton; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

“Dolly’s previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program, has already saved countless lives,” said 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.”

Dolly Parton is known for her philanthropy. As of May 2022, her Imagination Library has gifted over 182,571,673 free books to children worldwide. She has also supported a number of causes throughout her career, including the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.