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In Memoriam: DAYSPA Remembers Vivant Skin Care Co-Founder James E. Fulton Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
The world of clinical skin care lost an innovator and a true pioneer when Dr. James Edwin Fulton, Jr. died last week. He was 73. Surrounded by his wife of 44 years, Vivant Skin Care President Sara M. Fulton, daughter and CEO Kelly Fulton-Kendrick, daughter Susan Fulton-Arregui, son James Edwin Fulton, III and son George Jacob Fulton, Fulton succumbed to colon cancer at Mercy Hospital in Miami.
"Jim devoted his life to dermatology and his passing will leave a void in the world of skin care," offers Sara Fulton. "He achieved much during his career, but his greatest contributions may have been the hope and confidence he instilled in his acne patients."
"We are devastated by the loss of our company founder and my father, but are determined to carry on his legacy," says Fulton-Kendrick.
Born in Ottumwa, Iowa to Alice Hermann Fulton and James Sr. (a one-time CEO of Cracker Jack), Dr. Fulton's interest in dermatology stemmed from the acne struggles he endured as a pre-teen and throughout adulthood. He earned his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine degrees from Tulane University in 1965, and while there his academic achievements led to his induction into the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and Phi Beta Kappa Society. While in residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Fulton met his close friend and mentor Dr. Albert Kligman; together they co-developed Retin-A®, a topical form of vitamin A. At the request of Dr. Phillip Frost, he relocated to South Florida and earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry under the noted dermatologist Harvey Blank, M.D. from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in the early 1970's. Dr. Fulton and Dr. Blank developed benzoyl peroxide gel (Panoxyl®) and topical erythromycin (E-Gel®).
In the early 1970's with his wife Sara, Dr. Fulton launched a successful chain of 12 acne clinics called Acne Healthcare Centers, opened the Acne Research Institute and developed and manufactured a line of patented skin care products under the AHC and Face Up brands in their FDA-approved manufacturing facilities. Here he invented a high-speed diamond fraise for dermabrasion and was the first to use aestheticians in the medical office developing a paramedical aesthetician training program.
In 1990, Dr. Fulton opened JEF Medical Group, a cosmetic surgery and dermatology practice where he pioneered fat transfer and laser surgery and was the first to use hyperbaric oxygen chambers for post-surgical recovery. In addition, Dr. Fulton and Sara co-founded Vivant Skin Care in 1990, a clinical skin care line rooted in Fulton's patented vitamin A therapies.
Dr. Fulton served as mentor and role model for countless leaders in dermatology and aesthetics across the nation. Most recently he was volunteer faculty at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine's Department of Dermatology and part of the internship program at St. Thomas University. A popular international speaker and teacher, he authored the definitive book Acne Rx and published more than 300 medical articles, the most recent ones being released earlier this year in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and presented at the Skin of Color Seminar Series in New York City and the Orlando Dermatology & Aesthetic & Clinical Conference.
Dr. Fulton volunteered his dermatology services to His House Children's Home, a private, non-profit, faith-based foster children organization, to which he provided no-charge medical treatment to the children and hosted a yearly Thanksgiving luncheon. He actively split time between Flores Dermatology in Coral Gables where he continued to see patients weekly and his research lab at the Vivant Skin Care headquarters in Miami Lakes until taking ill in mid-June.
He was most proud of his beloved wife Sara who helped him with his Ph.D., and worked with him in research and in the medical office. She always attended medical meetings with him and helped with his teaching projects. Dr. Fulton always told her he couldn't have done what he did without her. Among his noteworthy achievements were creating more than 50 original skin care formulations, stabilizing Benzoyl Peroxide in gel form, qualifying as a Full Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, membership in the American Society of Lipo Suction Surgery and election to the Dermatology Foundation's Leader Society.
He is survived by wife Sara Fulton, brother Andy Fulton, daughter Susan Fulton-Arregui, son-in-law Richard Arregui, son James E. Fulton, III, daughter-in-law Isabelle Baranda-Fulton, daughter Kelly Fulton-Kendrick, son-in-law John J. Kendrick, III, son George J. Fulton, daughter-in-law Alexandra Hodges-Fulton, nine grandchildren and the 1000s of acne patients in whose lives he made a clear difference.
In lieu of flowers, the Fulton family is asking for donations to be made to the Dr. Robert Hsia Memorial Fund, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, 1600 NW 10th Ave., Suite 2023-A, Miami, FL 33136. An open memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at the St. Stephens Church, 2750 McFarland Rd, Coconut Grove, FL 33133. Those who wish to share their thoughts about Dr. Fulton are encouraged to do so as a comment on the obituary blog post located HERE.
[Image courtesy of PR Newswire]