August 22, 2017

— In newly created position, she will focus on community-based solutions for type 1 diabetes care —

NEW YORK, August 22, 2017 — Dr. Nicole Johnson, a longtime diabetes advocate and leader who brought national attention to type 1 diabetes when she shared her personal story and ultimately won the 1999 Miss America contest, has been hired as National Director of Mission, a newly created position at Breakthrough T1D, the leading global organization funding T1D research.

Johnson has a doctorate in public health and has gained a reputation for her work on diabetes research focused on behavioral health, quality of life and family dynamics for those in the T1D community, all skills she will put to use in her new role at Breakthrough T1D. She is very familiar with the organization, having served on the Breakthrough T1D International Board of Directors and having volunteered for more than 24 years. Johnson has also been a member of the Florida Governor’s Diabetes Advisory Council, the National Institutes of Health’s Council of Public Representatives and the national board for the American Diabetes Association.

Johnson is the co-founder of the Diabetes Empowerment Foundation (as well as its subsidiary, Students With Diabetes, now known as Breakthrough T1D Adults) and is the founder of Diabetes Partners and Diabetes Moms. She also led statewide initiatives in Florida funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to pre-diabetes and infant mortality.

“Nicole has done so much in the past few decades to improve the quality of life for people living with T1D and their families. In this new role, she will drive mission-related activities that strengthen relationships throughout the T1D community and within Breakthrough T1D,” said Derek Rapp, Breakthrough T1D President and CEO. “Our mission is focused on improving outcomes for people with T1D by supporting research to cure, prevent and treat diabetes. While these successes are being accomplished, we at Breakthrough T1D also want to reduce the daily burden of this disease. Nicole will be an enormous asset to our programs focused on the well‒being of the T1D community.”

Johnson has been a successful journalist, too. She won a Telly Award for her work on the CNBC diabetes talk show dLife and has been a columnist for numerous diabetes magazines, as well as the author of eight books related to diabetes. Her most recent book is What to Do When Your Partner Has Diabetes: A Survival Guide.

“I am honored to become part of the Breakthrough T1D staff after having participated for many years in volunteer roles. This is an exciting opportunity to help Breakthrough T1D expand its capacity in supporting T1D families to handle the issues they face every day,” said Dr. Johnson. “I’m eager to offer new insight and resources on the behavioral aspects of T1D, as we work together to make a difference in the lives of millions of people affected by type 1 diabetes.”

About T1D
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.

ABOUT Breakthrough T1D
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, Breakthrough T1D has invested more than $2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter: @JDRF.

Media Contact:
Kristy Evans