According to a recent announcement, a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) partnership involving the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Centers on Aging, College of Nursing and the Arkansas Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence has received two awards totaling $550,000 for programs that address food insecurity and suicide among older adults.
The partnership, known as the Arkansas Nurse-Led Academic Community Partnership, seeks to identify high rates of risk for food insecurity, suicide and social isolation in the state, particularly among marginalized older adults.
$450,000 was awarded by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to educate and train clinicians, students and community volunteers making daily food deliveries or working in congregate settings to identify food insecurity and suicide risk and to lead older adults to resources for in-home or community assistance. The program also makes use of technology to decrease social isolation and increase access to food and mental health services, UAMS stated in its announcement.
“From a College of Nursing perspective, it is very important that students receive training in geropsychiatric nursing and suicide prevention in older adults, especially in homebound, rural adults who are often forgotten,” said Melodee Harris, Ph.D., CNP, associate professor in the UAMS College of Nursing and co-director of the Arkansas Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence. “This grant will focus on mental health disparities and food insecurities for older adults who are socially isolated.”
Some of this funding will also go to the UAMS Centers on Aging, a program of the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, which aims to improve health outcomes for older Arkansans through educational programs and clinical care.
The remaining $100,000 came from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which gave the partnership the Promise Award alongside 39 other proposals out of over 1,300 nationwide as part of its Mission Daybreak program, which seeks to find innovative solutions to reduce the number of suicides among veterans. This funding will be put towards food insecurity and suicide prevention programs for veterans in rural areas.