Nicole Johnson honored as Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero

Nicole Johnson, executive director of the Bringing Science Home program at USF Health, has been named the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team’s 35th Lightning Community Hero. 

Johnson, a doctoral candidate at the USF College of Public Health who was Miss America 1999, was honored at a ceremony during the Lightning’s April 9 home game against the Ottawa Senators. The award recognizes members of the Tampa Bay community for their charitable work with a $50,000 donation to the recipient’s designated nonprofit organization.  

Ottawa Senators v Tampa Bay Lightning
L to R:  Nate Thompson, Lightning forward; Nicole Johnson, USF’s Bringing Science Home 
and JDRF International Board of Directors; Lightning owner Jeff Vinik; and John Brady,

Johnson directed her donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) where it will support the creation of a psychosocial initiative in partnership with BSH.  BSH has helped fund JDRF research important to this initiative.

Since being diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 19, Johnson has promoted T1 diabetes awareness and fundraising initiatives. A highly visible role model and advocate for people living with T1 diabetes, she serves as a board member of the JDRF Tampa Bay Chapter and is the founder of Students with Diabetes at USF.

Bringing Science Home is a unique program that has attracted multimillion dollar research grants to help educate and empower people living with chronic disease, such as diabetes.

Photo by Scott Audette, NHLI via Getty Images