NLN Presents the 2022 Award for Public Policy Advancement to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

NLN Presents the 2022 Award for Public Policy Advancement to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

“Dean” of Texas Congressional Delegation Honored for Decades as Role Model for Nurses in Public Service

Washington, DC — Former Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who had been the longest serving member of the Texas Congressional Delegation, has been honored with the 2022 National League for Nursing Public Policy Advancement Award. This annual award honors deserving congressional leaders who contribute to the nation’s progress in health care, nursing, and nursing education.

“Through decades of leadership representing her congressional district, Congresswoman Johnson proved to be an effective lawmaker, ever mindful of the needs of her constituents. As the first nurse elected from North Texas to serve in Congress and the first woman and African American to chair the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, she was a natural choice to receive this important public recognition,” said NLN Chair Kathleen Poindexter, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, interim associate dean of academic affairs at Michigan State University in Lansing.

“On behalf of the National League for Nursing, I warmly congratulate Congresswoman Johnson for her wonderful contributions to the public health of the nation and for being a strong, visible role model for nurses in public service,” said NLN President and CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Her long record of service reflects the League’s core values of caring, integrity, diversity and inclusion, and excellence.”

Elected to Congress in 1993, Congresswoman Johnson was considered the unofficial “dean” of the Texas Congressional Delegation. Among her many accomplishments have been her lead sponsorship of House resolutions to recognize National Nurses Week and her original sponsorship of the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Act, which the League supports.

In addition to chairing the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, she was also a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and served on numerous subcommittees of both her committee assignments.

Congresswoman Johnson earned respect as a stateswoman dedicated to the improvement of U.S. foreign relations and policies, working tirelessly to improve human rights across the globe. Her signature initiative to elevate women and peace, “A World of Women for World Peace,” won national and international acclaim.

Congresswoman Johnson first found success in electoral politics when, in 1972, she became the first nurse to win a seat in the Texas State House. She later was elected to the state Senate, another first for a nurse in Texas.

Her demonstrable commitment to public service coupled with her passion for public health caught the attention of President Jimmy Carter. He appointed her to the position of regional director of the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. An unwavering dedication to her fellow citizens in Texas propelled Congresswoman Johnson to seek higher office in the U.S. House of Representatives. She retired in November 2022.

Alongside public service, her education was a top priority. Congresswoman Johnson began her studies in nursing at Notre Dame University’s St. Mary’s College, School of Nursing, graduating early to pass the national licensing exam and jumpstart her career as an RN. She subsequently completed her BSN at Texas Christian University and earned a master’s in public administration at Southern Methodist University in 1976, the latter while serving in the Texas State House. Between degrees she worked as chief psychiatric nurse at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Dallas.

For more information about the National League for Nursing’s Public Policy activities, visit


About the National League for Nursing

Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to nearly 45,000 individual and over 1,000 institutional members, including nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations. Learn more at

February 16, 2023


Michael Keaton, Deputy Chief Communications Officer