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USF Health: Flower Power

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health

September 9, 2020

When COVID-19 struck, Heather Lawson, a USF College of Public Health DrPH student, figured her volunteer organization, Petal Share, would have to go on hiatus.

Lawson—a busy civil rights attorney with the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. by day—and her crew of volunteers (whom she lovingly calls “pollinators”) solicit flower donations from wedding venues, event planners, corporations and hotels to rearrange into bouquets and hand out at hospitals, nursing homes and shelters. It’s a group she started in 2013 after watching a weddings-of-the-rich-and-famous reality show.

“This one show featured a couple who had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars importing tulips from Holland,” said Lawson, who’s concentrating in advanced practice leadership in public health. “While I was watching it, I had a sudden thought: What happens...

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