Pediatric AIDS Benefit Concert (PABC) Marks 31 Years of Entertainment for a Cause
February 1, 2024
By August Ryan
Drexel University College of Medicine students, faculty and professional staff brought song and dance to Drexel’s Main Building auditorium in a more than three decades-long tradition. Held on Friday, January 27, the Pediatric AIDS Benefit Concert (PABC)’s annual night of entertainment has raised more than $650,000 for children living with HIV and AIDS to date.
The student-run concert is a College of Medicine staple, and PABC 2024 organizers said it is clear why the event endures.
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“Working on PABC and being able to engage with the patients and health care professionals at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had during medical school,” said Hadiya Benn, MD program class of 2026 and a PABC co-chair. “I got to directly interact with some of the patients and their families and it was very fulfilling to be able to put names and faces to those benefiting from this cause."
Along with ticket sales for the evening’s performances, donations and a silent auction benefit the Dorothy Mann Center for Pediatric and Adolescent HIV, which provides comprehensive care to children who are HIV positive as well as support to their families.
PABC is a reminder that doctors are people too who do good for their communities everywhere they can.
The 31st annual concert featured 16 acts, showcasing talents in dance, songwriting and acapella singing.
Aboli Kesbhat, MD program class of 2026 and PABC fundraising committee chair, enjoyed getting to see peers display talents they have honed outside of medical school.
“You get really used to seeing your classmates as colleagues and future doctors, and I think PABC humanizes medical students, in that you get to see people do the things that they love to help their communities,” she said. “PABC is a reminder that doctors are people too who do good for their communities everywhere they can."
In 2024, HIV is managed as a chronic health condition, and patients and families deal with the financial impact of ongoing medical care. PABC fundraising helps families with such costs as housing, utilities, food and rent, and can offset other expenses like college application fees and supplies for summer camp.
The Dorothy Mann Center is housed at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. The hospital, owned in partnership by Tower Health and Drexel University, is a vital resource of health and healing, medical education and research, and is relied upon by the children and families in its Philadelphia neighborhood and the broader region.
Each year, College of Medicine students spend months bringing PABC to life, from lining up acts to coordinating refreshments. Their hard work culminates in giving back to the greater Philadelphia communities.
For Keerthana Srinivasan, MD/PhD class of 2030 and a PABC co-chair, the event was an opportunity to connect both with St. Christopher’s and with the wider Philadelphia health care community. Meeting the Dorothy Mann Center’s patients and their families, and working with its health care professionals, made PABC especially impactful.
"The Dorothy Mann Center is one of the largest providers in Philadelphia for HIV prevention, testing and counseling. The incidence of HIV in youth is continuing to rise and it’s extremely important to provide care early on to minimize complications,” Srinivasan said. “I am grateful to have worked with health care professionals who are passionate about providing state-of-the-art care for underserved populations who are living with HIV/AIDS.”
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