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MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


Baby boot camp helps dads bond

by Dawn Brazell
Public Relations
It’s the small things that matter in becoming a parent—such as knowing how to roll up a diaper to best contain the mess.
Dr. Can Senkal and son Emre Nicholas Senkal, help teach fun and practical skills dads should know during MUSC's first Boot Camp for New Dads program held June 19.

Can Senkal, Ph.D., Division of Basic Sciences/Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, shows off this skill with ease with his 6-month-old son, Emre Nicholas Senkal. Joe Laposta, a nuclear engineer who’s expecting his son Aug. 31, watches eagerly. The men are attending MUSC’s first Boot Camp for New Dads, a program funded by a $15,000 Stafford Foundation grant.
Kimberly Harris-Eaton, Ph.D (c)., R.N., said MUSC is thrilled to have the program. The childbirth educator said she sees firsthand the value of babies leaving the hospital with an engaged father, who can be confident in caring for his child. “The program is for any dad who needs to come for conversation with other dads,” she said.
Dr. Can Senkal shows father-to-be Joe Laposta how to change a diaper.

Since the national program began in 1990, more than 200,000 men have been trained. Dink Nolan, a senior coordinator who led Saturday’s training, said that the program piggybacks off the National Fatherhood Initiative in trying to get fathers to realize the importance of their role in children’s welfare and safety.
“Men need to get involved with the raising of children and not just fathers but any men who can be positive role models,” said Nolan.
Dink Nolan

The June 19 training involved teaching several MUSC employees how to be “drool sergeants” so they can carry on the training. The three-hour crash course for new “daddies” is a hands-on course that deals with everything from how to prepare emotionally to how to gain practical skills. Nolan said it takes a new father about five minutes holding a baby to get comfortable.
“This is not a class. This is a workshop. It’s hands-on stuff. It’s not a doll. It’s a real baby. It’s going to come in here and cry. When it’s time to change a diaper, it’s a real diaper.”
Nolan said no women are allowed in class, which provides a safe place for men to bond and share. “This is why I do it,” said Nolan, showing off pictures of his two sons to the class. “Because I love being a dad, and I want others to love being a dad, too.”

For more information about registering or volunteering for Boot Camp for New Dads, contact Kimberly Harris-Eaton at or call 792-6239. To visit the national site visit

The next sessions will be held Aug. 21, Oct. 16 and Dec. 18. In 2011, classes will be held Feb. 19, April 16 and June 18. The workshops are held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Friday, June 25, 2010

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