Meet Nicole

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


icole Johnson has served as a diabetes advocate since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1993 and has worked tirelessly promoting diabetes awareness and prevention since she was named Miss America 1999.

Nicole is a Telly award-winning television journalist and an avid writer. Her articles on living with diabetes have appeared in USA Today, Guideposts Magazine, Diabetes Health, Diabetes Forecast, and on various websites related to diabetes. She has written seven books including her most recent transition guide for young adults living with diabetes, Young Adult Type 1 Diabetes Realities.

Nicole holds a Doctoral degree in Public Health from the University of South Florida and a Master’s degree in Journalism and Public Health.  Her education combined with her personal experiences living with diabetes led her to her professional position at the University of South Florida. At USF, Nicole created and operates a program called Bringing Science Home, where she and her team investigate the connection between chronic disease, family dynamics and optimistic living.

Nicole has also served on numerous health related advisory boards including the JDRF International Board of Directors,  Florida Governor’s Diabetes Advisory Council, American Diabetes Association Board of Directors and appointee to the National Institutes of Health Council of Public Representatives. 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 has been recognized by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Regent University.


  • 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.