Co-host, dLife TV, CNBC weekly program that discusses diabetes, 2005
Ambassador/Consultant, Life for a Child, International Diabetes Federation, 2005
Miss America 1999
Consultant/Spokesperson, Liberty Mutual, 2005.
Appointee/Member, NIH (National Institutes of Health) Council of Public Relations 2005-2008
Columnist, Diabetes Health
Consultant/Writer, Georgetown University Medical Center, 2002-2005
MA in Journalism, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Nicole Johnson Baker: Living the 'dLife'
A DREAM FULFILLED
Six years ago Nicole Johnson was crowned Miss America (1999). Although overjoyed to be named Miss America she was even happier to embrace her heartfelt mission of speaking out about diabetes.
Today Nicole shares her personal struggle and triumph of living with diabetes in over 12 countries and 47 states. She has lobbied members of the U.S. Congress and helped raise more than $16 million for diabetes research. She receives and answers thousands of letters and e-mails from her website, www.nicolejohnson.com. She is a diabetes spokesperson and consultant for companies and for the American Diabetes Association. In addition, Nicole and Animas Corporation, a leading manufacturer of insulin pumps, launched a national essay competition and website called Diabetes Heroes. The campaign is a nationwide program designed to identify and recognize individuals who have demonstrated exceptional resilience and/or creativity in living with diabetes especially in the area of psychological and emotional challenges. Essays have been received from children as young as 5 to adults age 65 and older. Winners of the contest will be announced by November 1, 2005 in the categories listed below:
- Healthcare Provider
- Non-Medical Caregiver
- Family Member
She recently completed her third cookbook, which she co-authored with Mr. Food entitled Dinners in a Dash. This book will be released in February 2006. In January 2006, she has plans to write two additional books. The first will consist of a collection of essays received from the Diabetic Heroes contest and the other will focus on diabetes and pregnancy.
Nicole was recently named the first Ambassador for the International Diabetes Federation's Life for a Child program, which advocates for endangered children with diabetes around the world. In addition, she works with state legislatures to improve insurance coverage and general health care for the millions of individuals with diabetes. Nicole is also a co-host of dLife, a weekly diabetes talk show on CNBC which aims to create a community and "clubhouse" of people with diabetes. The show has been well received since its inception in February 2005. Nielson surveys indicate approximately 300,000 diabetes tune in for this half hour show that covers such topics as the following: celebrities living with diabetes, new diabetes therapies and products, delicious diabetic recipes, exercise tips, and inspirational stories of real people living with the disease.
A DEVASTATING DIAGNOSIS
At the age of 19, Nicole was diagnosed with Type I diabetes
while in undergraduate school, a diagnosis that she considered
devastating at the time, and was told by many that it was a disease
that would prevent her from achieving her goals in life. For years
she kept her chronic disease hidden. It wasn't until 1993 after
a near death episode that she decided to embrace her disease and
be proud of the person God made her to be. Today she says, "Diabetes
is the greatest thing that ever happened to me...it has given
me the gift of relationships with so many people." With her
newly adopted "can-do" attitude, she went after the
title of Miss America. Upon being crowned Miss America her goal
was to use her newly gained influence to reach the millions of
Americans still unaware of the symptoms and consequences of diabetes.
She wanted to do her part to educate and rid society of many of
the misconceptions that accompany this disease.
LIVING LIFE AS A DIABETIC
As for Johnson’s health, she has good days and
bad days. She credits her faith in God in helping her overcome
the day-to-day struggles of this disease. She believes that God
is faithful to bring about blessings in the midst of challenges.
Her advice to people diagnosed with diabetes is to aggressively
fight this disease, by testing yourself often, taking advantage
of the new technology available, and staying positive. The biggest
challenges of this disease are emotional and psychological. If
you don't take small steps every day to avoid being trapped by
despair, you'll lose sight of the bigger picture and get focused
on the obstacles.
In addition to obtaining her master's degree in journalism from
Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she is also pursuing
a M.P.H. at the University of Pittsburgh. She and her husband
Scott live with his three children in Pittsburgh, Pa.
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