An Arkansas partnership led by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has received $450,000 in funding to help increase the number and quality of geriatric nurses at nursing homes in the state.

Announced today as part of a national initiative, Arkansas Community Foundation, in partnership with UAMS, received $225,000 from Partners in Nursing’s Future.

The three-year grant, in addition to $225,000 raised locally, is being used to help increase the number of geriatric nurses in long-term care with a baccalaureate degree or higher.

“Our state’s geriatrics nursing shortage is both a significant health challenge and a work force training issue. We see this grant as a means to address both problems,” said ARCF President and CEO Heather Larkin.

Arkansas’ 65-and-older population is already is higher than the national average — 13.9 percent compared to 12.5 percent, and projections show it will nearly double by 2025.