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Dolly Parton Makes $1 Million Donation to Pediatric Infectious Disease Research


Good Samaritan Dolly Parton strikes again. The iconic country music star is donating $1 million to pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. 

This is not Dolly’s first enormous gift to VUMC — she made a previous $1 million donation in April 2020 in honor of her longtime friend, Naji Abumrad, MD, professor of Surgery, to aid in the battle against COVID-19. That donation played a major role in funding the creation of the Moderna vaccine. 

The Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases conducts research on viruses and disease-causing bacteria, preventing antibiotic resistance, treating infections, and diagnosing infections in children with cancer. 

“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 told the Vanderbilt University Medical Center of her generous gift. 

Another of Parton’s previous gifts to VUMC was a contribution to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program in honor of both Abumrad and her niece, Hannah Dennison, who was successfully treated for childhood leukemia there. Dolly has always been particularly passionate about improving the lives of children.

“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.”

At this point, we can safely call Dolly a Great Samaritan. 

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