Meet Nicole Johnson | Former Host of dLifeTV and former Miss America 1999

 

Nicole Johnson was the anchor for dLifeTV from 2005-2009. A resident of Florida, Nicole was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1993. A sophomore in college at the time, Nicole had been told she had anemia, Beijing flu, and appendicitis before doctors finally took appropriate bloodwork and determined the cause of her ongoing illness. With blood glucose levels over 500, Nicole was admitted to a hospital where she was told that she would never have a career, be a mother, or continue with her blossoming interest in pageants. It was that misinformation and lack of communication of the disease that set her on the path to promoting diabetes awareness and education. In 1999, Nicole was crowned as Miss America - the first ever with diabetes in the pageant's history. Since that achievement, she has become one of our nation's most visible and effective diabetes advocates.

Nicole travels around the world to educate people about diabetes and prediabetes and has lobbied on behalf of diabetes issues in front of Congress. She also serves on various health advisory boards, including the Florida Governor's Diabetes Council and the Tampa Bay chapters of the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The potential reach of dLife to the growing diabetes community is what made the project so attractive to Nicole:

"dLife is a perfect way and a perfect tool to use to change people's lives. My responsibility is to use this opportunity and the gifts that God has given me to help other people deal with challenges and obstacles. dLife is a chance to touch people I'd never be able to touch reach individually, a resource for caring for people in a non-traditional way. To me, that's how we put our arms around this issue and start to deal with it."

Nicole has received numerous awards nationally and internationally for her work in diabetes education. Some of those awards include: the C. Everett Koop Medal for Health Promotion and Awareness, American Diabetes Association, 1999; the Eugene T. Davidson, MD Award for Public Service, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, 1999; the Bill Gullickson Award, Japan Association for Diabetes Care and Education, 1999; the Victory Over Diabetes Medal, Polish Diabetes Association, 2000; and the Charles H. Best Medal for Distinguished Service in the Cause of Diabetes from the American Diabetes Association, 2008.

Nicole holds Master's degrees in Journalism and Public Health and is currently working towards her Doctor of Public Health Degree form the University of South Florida. In 2010 Nicole secured funding for an innovative project at the University of South Florida called Bringing Science Home. She serves as Executive Director of the project, which investigates the connection between chronic disease, family dynamics, and optimistic living. She has written several books including her own autobiography, Living With Diabetes (Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2001), and has co-authored Mr. Food: Every Day's a Holiday Diabetic Cookbook …with Nicole Johnson (American Diabetes Association, 2002), Mr. Food's Quick and Easy Diabetic Cooking …with Nicole Johnson (American Diabetes Association, 2001), and Mr. Food's Diabetic Dinners in a Dash (American Diabetes Association, 2006).

Read Nicole's dLife columns here.

Visit Nicole Johnson's website.

Find other entertainers with diabetes.

Last Modified Date: April 23, 2013

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by Nicole Purcell
I had a work dinner last night with some leadership from my office. I always find diabetes etiquette at these things to be kind of tricky. It was a four course meal, with salad, soup, entree' and dessert and coffee. There was also a selection of gluten free and non-gluten free dinner rolls. I felt way too full of questions for waitress... "Could I get my dressing on the side? How much sugar is in it?" A course later...