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Dr. Rene Martin Earles

Dermatologist Dr. Rene Martin Earles has developed techniques and products formulated for the uniqueness of African American skin and hair. Dr. Rene Martin Earles was born on October 31, 1940, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Growing up in Washington, D.C., Earles graduated from Coolidge Senior High School in 1958. Following high school graduation, Earles attended Howard University, where he received his B.S. degree in chemistry and biology in 1963. Upon graduation, Earles attended the College of Medicine at Howard University and finished with his M.D. degree in 1967. Throughout his tenure in medical school, Earles worked at the Freedmen’s Hospital.

Earles held a residency at the District of Columbia General Hospital in general surgery. The following year, 1969, he began a second internship in orthopedic surgery. In 1970, Earles joined the United States Navy to direct the Medical Clinic at Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle, Washington. While in the Navy, he received a preceptorship in dermatology at the University of Washington, beginning his career as a dermatologist. In 1972, Earles moved to Chicago, Illinois, to begin a dermatological residency at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital. Three years later, Earles opened a private practice in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. In 1976, Earles attended a course in hair transplantation in Arkansas. The following year, he developed his own surgical technique for treating alopecia marginalis, hair loss at the hairline, in African American women. This procedure is called the “Earles’ flap” and revolutionized the field of hair transplantation for black females. This led to his appointment as chairman in the Division of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago from 1979 until 1981.

Earles presented his findings of strategies for hair loss management for African American males and females at numerous conferences and magazines including the Journal of the National Medication Association, Ebony, American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, Essence, and the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology. Earles has served as a consultant for African American personal care lines including SoftSheen-Carson and Fashion Fair Cosmetics. This early work helped prepare Earles to launch his own skin and hair product line, Dr. Earles, in which he has received two United States patents for an anti-dandruff formula and the process by which it is made. The company, Dr. Earles, LLC, is operated by his son, Robert Earles.

Earles is a member of multiple professional organizations including the National Medication Association, the American Academy of Dermatology, and the Chicago Dermatologic Society. He was named by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the top African American physicians. Earles has twenty thousand active patients and has treated over two hundred thousand people in the course of a forty-year career.

Accession Number

A2008.084

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/14/2008

Last Name

Earles

Maker Category
Middle Name

Martin

Occupation
Schools

Calvin Coolidge Senior High School

Howard University College of Medicine

Sylvanie F. Williams School

Hugh M. Browne Junior High School

Charles Young Platoon School

University of Washington

First Name

Rene

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

EAR04

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Aetna

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico

Favorite Quote

If A Man Is Out Of Step With His Companions, It Is Because He Hears A Different Drum.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/31/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab Cakes

Short Description

Dermatologist Dr. Rene Martin Earles (1940 - ) developed his own surgical technique, The Earles Flap, for treating alopecia marginalis in African American women. He also created his own skin and hair product line: Dr. Earles.

Employment

District of Columbia General Hospital

Dr. Earles

Rush University Medical Center

Howard University Hospital

Lorton Reformatory

U.S. Navy

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Rene Martin Earles' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about the origin of his middle name

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers his mother and maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his likeness to his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recalls his travels along U.S. Route 61

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles lists his parents' siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Rene Martine Earles describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers Sylvanie F. Williams School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recalls his family's move to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his neighborhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about his childhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his relationship with his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers his elementary schools in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about the evolution of his career aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers Hugh M. Browne Junior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his paternal grandmother's lessons

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers his experiences at Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recalls his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers his high school prom

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about his early employment

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recalls his introduction to Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his experiences at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recalls his decision to Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers his early experiences at Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about his struggle with attention deficit disorder

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers his professors at Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recalls his residency in orthopedic surgery

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers practicing medicine at Lorton Reformatory in Lorton, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recalls studying dermatology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about the early years of his dermatology practice

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes the Earles flap

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about the development of his dermatology practice

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recalls his foray into product development

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about his hair and skin care product line, Dr. Earles, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles remembers meeting John H. Johnson of Johnson Products Company

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his work for Fashion Fair cosmetics and Soft Sheen Products, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about his article on the Earles flap

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his method of treating keloids

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles talks about his hair and skin care product line, Dr. Earles, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes his children

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recites his poem, 'Bull Spit,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles recites his poem, 'Bull Spit,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Dr. Rene Martin Earles shares a verse from his song, 'Oh Baby'

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Dr. Rene Martin Earles describes the Earles flap
Dr. Rene Martin Earles recalls his foray into product development
Transcript
Nineteen ninety-five [1995] you opened your office [in Chicago, Illinois], your practice--$$Seventy-five [1975].$$Nine- I'm sorry, '75 [1975], and then in '76 [1976], what gets you involved in hair transplants?$$Well, what got me involved in hair transplants, was that I think I heard the word (laughter). Somebody mentioned hair transplants, I said, "What, what?" And somehow that just grabbed my imagin- I mean, you can do that? And once I heard it, I wanted to do it. And I'm s- I got involved in doing it, so when I finished--now, I heard about it before I--my residency [at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois] was up, and they didn't offer that type of training during the residency, so when I finished, then I pursued it with some vigor. And then I said, ah, I'll give myself about ten years, I'll become the expert in hair transplants in black people. People will fly all over the world to see me, I'll be in Ebony magazine, and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. So, ten years later, I was an expert, and people were flying all over and I was in Ebony magazine back in--$$Just what you said would happen did happen. But tell me about the procedure, it was first done because you have what's called the Earle flaps [sic. Earles flap], but it was a Juri flap (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, well, you see there were two, there were two--there was a plastic surgeon whose name is Jose Juri, J-U-R-I, he's in, I think, in Argentina, and his brother, Carlos [ph.] I think. One was a (unclear)--I mean one is a plastic surgeon, and one was a dermatologist, and they created this, this piece of surgery I think a strip of hair from the side, and you can rotate it around, and put it on the front, and so it gives you a strip of hair around here. It was a fairly complicated procedure. And I had a friend of mine who was in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], who was getting a hair transplant from a doctor in California, Newport Beach, Constantine Sparkle [ph.] was his name, who had been down to Argentina to learn this flap, amongst some other things. Now he had went and invented something called the scalp reduction, where you just cut out the bone there, your scalp, you throw it away, and pull the scalp together (gesture) like that. And you may do that serially (gesture); you may start off suppose this is--with this much bone (unclear), you cut out once, you got that much, you cut out again, that much, cut out again, you see, until it's gone--if the scalp will, you know, allow you to do that. And so, I would fly out with Harold Pierce [Harold E. Pierce], who's his name, in Philadelphia to, to see Dr. Sparkle do this procedure. And so when I had an opportunity, I did it on people, started off on my brother in law (laughter). And so I did that, and then I went out there one time and he was doing this, this Juri flap. I said, oh my god, not in my office will I do that (laughter), and I ended up doing it. And then, I addressed the problem of African American women who had their hair loss here (gesture) where people have and it's sort of--just sort of reverse Juri flap that works, that just simply hadn't been done. Nobody had considered doing it because people said, "Eh, there's nothing you can do about that," so.$$So, the Earle flap that you created is for women?$$Yeah, or anybody who has hair loss here (gesture). Who has hair loss here? African American women had the hair loss thing, so it's a flap of hair from here (gesture), and you lift it up, see, it's like this, you lift it up, and it goes there (gesture). So you could get full thickness of hair here, but you had to have some thickness of the hair here. If you have hair loss here, there's nothing to move, but you can take that from there, and put it in there, and it just changes the whole thing.$You were gonna talk about the mixing of the medicines for your hair care line [Dr. Earles] I believe, tell me about that.$$Yeah, what would happen was that I've always been a mixer of things and so--which is what goes on in dermatology, 'cause dermatologists have been mixing things for probably since the profession started. And so, I had always been very curious about mixing things and a lot of the prescriptions that I wrote were compounds. A dermatologist's only specialty in medicine when you can say take a little of this, pinch of that, quarter teaspoon of this, oh, add, and an eighth of a teaspoon of that, and mix it up and put it on. I mean you can't be a cardiologist and say take half of this pill and then a piece of that one (laughter). And so, as a result, now I got a lot of experience in that, seeing what would work and what wouldn't. And you see, you can do it, and as long as these are approved substances, you can put it on people. You see, that would be called experimentation, it's something else, but it's sort of like the art of medicine in dermatology. Now, there was one pharmacy in the City of Gary [Indiana] who could mix things, and he was slow, he was arrogant, and he was expensive, and people would take their prescriptions to him and he'd say, "Well, it's gonna be a week, and it's going to cost you, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah." "Oh my god, I need that stuff now," and they would complain to him, and then he would, he would say, he would reach in, or, "Here, take this back and take it somewhere else." And they would take the prescription and as they would turn to leave, he would say, "But you'll be back." And by god, they had to come back because he was the only one in Northwest Indiana that knew how to do that, they'd come back with their tail between their legs. They complained to me so bitterly, that I started, I said, oh, let me see, let me see. I had a major in (laughter) biology and chemistry, another major in pharmacology, oh, it's nothing to this. And I started mixing things and preparing them. And that led from--and then, in order to cut costs, then I said, oh, there's a 4 percent thing of this, why don't you just get thing and you know, the raw materials, and I started getting the raw materials, and I could weigh down the cost, but it also gave me a vehicle for creating things, and so that's how I got to creating different products.