Meet Nicole

From Miss America to advocate, educator, researcher and international spokesperson for diabetes

Nicole Johnson, DrPH, MPH, MA has served as a diabetes advocate since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1993. Although she is most well known for her time as Miss America 1999 when she brought awareness to diabetes by sharing her personal story, she has gained a reputation most recently for her engagement in diabetes research focused on quality of life, psychosocial issues, and family dynamics.

Nicole is the National Director of Mission at JDRF where she uses her behavioral science, public health and communications background to drive strategies for population engagement and understanding.

In her journalism career, Nicole won a Telly Award for her work on the CNBC diabetes talk show dLife. Her love of journalism lead her to be a columnist for numerous diabetes magazines ,as well as the author of 8 books related to diabetes. Her most recent book is What to Do When Your Partner Has Diabetes: A Survival Guide.

Over the years, Nicole has served on many diabetes advisory boards including the Florida Governor’s Diabetes Advisory Council, the NIH Council of Public Representatives and the national boards for both the American Diabetes Association and JDRF. Nicole has been recognized for her work in diabetes around the world. She is a recipient of the Charles H. Best Medal for Distinguished Service in the Cause of Diabetes from the American Diabetes Association, the C. Everett Koop Medal for Health Promotion from the American Diabetes Association and have been recognized by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Regent University.

She has a Doctor of Public Health degree, as well as master’s degrees in Public Health and Communication.

  • 1993

    Nicole is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

  • 1998

    Nicole is named Miss America 1999, the first with Type 1 diabetes and wearing a medical device (insulin pump).

  • 2001

    Nicole publishes her first two books – a cookbook with Mr. Food and her autobiography.

  • 2006

    Nicole gives birth to a healthy baby girl.

  • 2007

    Nicole graduates with her MPH degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

  • 2010

    Nicole creates Bringing Science Home and Students With Diabetes at the University of South Florida.

  • 2013

    Nicole receives her Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of South Florida.

  • 2016

    Nicole is appointed Chair of Board of the Diabetes Empowerment Foundation and continues her work with young adults and families living with diabetes.

  • 2017

    Nicole joins JDRF as National Director of JDRF Mission.