NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Dolly Parton is donating $1 million to pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, the organization announced on Wednesday.
The new gift is one of several Parton has made to the center over the years, including a $1 million gift in April 2020 for COVID vaccine research. That gift helped Vanderbilt researchers test an array of drugs aimed at reducing the life-threatening symptoms associated with COVID-19, the center said in a news release. Researchers are also looking at entirely new therapies to both treat COVID-19 and prevent infection.
Parton's new gift will support a variety of ongoing research at the medical center, including 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 gauging the impact of childhood infections throughout the world, according to the news release.
“Dolly’s previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program, has already saved countless lives,” said Dr. Jeff Balser, president and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center 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.”
Parton said she supports the work because she loves children.
“No child should ever have to suffer,” Parton said in a news release. “I’m willing to do my part to try and keep as many of them as I can as healthy and safe as possible.”