Meet Nicole

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

Nicole Johnson, DrPH, MPH, MA

With nearly 25 years of experience in behavioral health research, communications, and non-profit management, Dr. Johnson is well known for her lifelong service to diabetes. Although most recognized for her time as Miss America 1999 when she brought awareness to diabetes by sharing her personal story, she gained a reputation after that time for her engagement in diabetes research focused on psychosocial issues.

Her professional background includes many years of executive leadership at the American Diabetes Association, JDRF and the University of South Florida College of Medicine/College of Public Health. She is currently Vice President of Operations in Science & Health Care at the American Diabetes Association.

Dr. Johnson also spent many years in health journalism where she won a Telly Award for her CNBC show dLife and wrote 8 books.

Over the years, Nicole has served on many advisory boards including the NIH Council of Public Representatives, the Florida Governor’s Diabetes Advisory Council, and the national boards for both the American Diabetes Association and JDRF.

Nicole has been recognized for her work around the world. She is a recipient of the Charles H. Best Medal for Distinguished Service in the Cause of Diabetes, the C. Everett Koop Medal for Health Promotion, and has been recognized by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health as a Legacy Laureate and Regent University as a Distinguished Alumni.

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.

  • 2017

    Nicole joins JDRF as National Director of JDRF Mission.

  • 2019

    Nicole launches The Empowerment Foundation, an initiative to  help individuals and organizations reach their goals and their full potential.

  • 2019

    Nicole becomes a Senior Director in Research at JDRF, establishing a research program on Behavioral Health & Psychology.

  • 2021

    Nicole joins American Diabetes Association as the Vice President of Operations in Science & Health Care.