After moving to the United States from El Salvador, Manuel Ramos-Sifontes, like many others, struggled with finding stable medical care. At the time, his mother-in-law was struggling with managing her diabetes, and soon found care at Alliance Medical Ministry. Once Manuel saw how Alliance was able to help his family, he felt encouraged to seek medical care of his own.
As a father to four, husband, and employee, Manuel recognized the need and importance of preventative healthcare.
When he first came for care at Alliance seven years ago, Manuel was suffering from psoriasis, a chronic skin disease. “It was all over, my skin was cracking, it was very painful.” Alliance's Referral Coordinator referred him with Blue Ridge Dermatology, and later Duke Dermatology through Project Access, for medication and treatment. The doctors at Blue Ridge Dermatology and Duke Dermatology were able to provide Manuel with a specific medicine that helped reduce his symptoms. With their support, Manuel has been able to control the disease.
"Coming here made me feel much better about [my psoriasis]. It helped reduce a lot of stress, and build my confidence."
After receiving care, Manuel decided to get involved with some of the wellness programs. “I was nervous about going to yoga, but it helps support my mental state. It is an amazing program!” Manuel has been attending yoga weekly for over one year. "For your life, you need to keep focused on what you’re doing. Yoga has helped me a lot with deep breathing and focus."
Seed to Supper
Manuel was first introduced to Garden & Wellness Coordinator Jesse Crouch during a yoga class. Jesse introduced Manuel to Seed to Supper, the garden education program offered twice a year in the Alliance Community Garden in partnership with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.
Manuel participated in the spring Seed to Supper program, and at the class conclusion built his own backyard garden! "Jesse gave me some compost to help me start the garden. The garden is a help to me because I’m exercising, moving around and eating differently!”
Cooking Matters & Diabetes Prevention Program
This summer, Manuel enrolled in the one-year Diabetes Prevention Program, offered in partnership with the Wake County Department of Health & Human Services. As part of that program, he has the goal of exercising 150 minutes a week and losing 7% of his body fat.
To continue his nutrition education and support his health goals, Manuel is taking Cooking Matters this summer, learning how to better incorporate the foods from his garden into his everyday meals.
“I am going to start eating differently, and make sure I get exercise by working in the garden!” Manuel continues to work hard to create a healthier lifestyle for his family and himself, and enjoys every part of it!