On a typical Friday night, medical students are -- admittedly -- most likely to be studying. But on the first weekend of their latest academic period, many of the University of Minnesota's future doctors relaxed at a semiformal fundraiser for One Heartland.

At the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, the attendees swapped out their more typical stretchy pants and jeans for strapless dresses and suits and ties for the event hosted by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and the American Medical Association (AMA).

"It's an opportunity to bring a lot of things together: a good charity and a good community vibe," said Breanna Zarmbinski, a second-year student and treasurer of AMSA.

"We don't have a lot of free time, so it's nice to get people together."

A jazz trio -- two professors and a student -- relaxed the crowd before a DJ (also a student) riled them up. But the purpose was more than just a fun night out.

For the third year, the organization raised money for One Heartland, a nonprofit agency that runs Camp Heartland for kids with HIV and AIDS. It was started nearly 20 years ago by a University of Wisconsin student after he heard about a child with HIV who wasn't allowed to attend camp. It's now the largest camping and care program for children living with HIV and AIDS.

The fact that a student group hosted the fundraiser was especially apropos.

"We look at that as a backbone, because we started out with college students," said Nick Boerum, One Heartland's development manager, adding that the medical school connection offered an additional bonus. "They'll be the ones working with our clients."

The link made sense to the next generation of doctors, too.

"It's nice to find a connection between what we are learning in school and the community around us," Zarmbinski said. "Even better is to find a connection between the heart of medicine, to help and care for the human condition, and how this can service the community.

"Camp Heartland services children with medical conditions that we learn about in the classroom, but the organization also demonstrates the ideology of caring for another human being that our profession aims to uphold."

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177