Lupus Foundation of America Statement on the Passing of Former Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
This weekend, our nation and the lupus community lost a leader whose vision and service to people living with lupus will continue to have a significant impact today and for many generations to come. Former Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), who served as Congressional Lupus Caucus Co-chair from 2015-2023, passed away on December 31 at the age of 88.
Eddie Bernice Johnson was the first nurse elected to Congress, and the first African American and first woman to serve as Chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Her commitment to her state of Texas and the American people was seen throughout her 30 years of service as an elected official in the House of Representatives.
With her extensive background, she understood health, healthcare, and research more than many. As a co-chair of the Congressional Lupus Caucus, Congresswoman Johnson fought to increase funding for lupus research and education programs. Most notably, she worked to establish the Lupus Research Program within the Department of Defense, stating “…More research is necessary to better understand this disease. Without sufficient funding, research into the cause of lupus and the discovery of new treatments will be severely delayed. With the establishment of this Lupus Research Program within the Defense Health Programs, we can gain valuable insight into this devastating disease.”
“Eddie Bernice Johnson was a fierce champion for people with lupus. We will forever be grateful for her determination to find answers for people with lupus through federally funded lupus research and education programs,” said Mary Crimmings, Interim CEO and Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications at the Lupus Foundation of America.
Thank you for your compassion, service, and commitment, Congresswoman Johnson. Your legacy will live on through the programs you selflessly championed.