Asa's 2009 Media Awards: The Year of the "Journals"

Article excerpt

Three journalists, winners of the 2009 American Society on Aging (ASA) Media Awards competition, focused their award-winning investigative stories on the abuse of elders in homes and nursing homes. Lucette Lagnado, senior special writer in the New York bureau of The Wall Street Journal, took top national honors, and city government reporter Dean Mosiman of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison earned the highest local/regional award. In addition, Tracy Breton of Rhode Island's The Providence Journal received an honorable mention in the local/regional category.

Lucette Lagnado covers hospital and health systems in the United States and focuses on the poor, elderly and the uninsured. She discovered that almost one in three nursing home residents were being sedated, especial- ly with new class- es of anti-psy- chotic drags, even though the use of "chemical con- straints" was sup- posedly curbed by the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. These drags were being used "off label," especially on residents with cognitive disorders, de- spite a "black box" warning from the Food and Drag Administration that these pharmaceuticals can cause strokes or death among dementia patients. These drags were the most costly class of med- ications being used by nursing homes, up to $5 billion in 2005. Lagnado found that Medicaid was spending more on these chemicals than it was for AIDS drugs. She spent six months on this project, writing four stories that ran from Decem- ber 4, 2007, to June 24, 2008. Lagnado is the author of the 2007 memoir, The Man in the White Shartekin Suit: My Family's Exodus From Old Cairo to the New World (New York: Ecco, 2007), which won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Lit- erature. …