MIDDLE EAST MEDICINE According to The Lancet, the Middle East is the most neglected health arena in the world today (1). That, of course, has not always been the case. Many early medical discoveries were made by physicians from the Middle East in the first millennium. Avicenna, whose real name was Ibn Sina, wrote The Canon, the 10th-century textbook hailed as the “medical bible,” was the first to describe the contagious nature of pulmonary tuberculosis, and emphasized the importance of diet, climate, and the environment to health. The Persian-born Al-Razi, more commonly referred to as Rhazes, advocated an ethical framework for medical practice and provided the first accurate account of smallpox. Ibn Al-Nafis, born in Damascus in 1213, was the pioneer of scientific peer review and the first to describe the pulmonary circulation, although his work remained largely unknown until the later dissections of William Harvey. These early achievements serve as a reminder of the intelligence and innovation of health professionals in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the status of health and medicine in the region today is often compromised by political unrest, poor public health, poor infection control, and inadequate educational opportunities. A recent report from the United Nations focused on “the three deficits of the Arab world”: knowledge, women’s empowerment, and freedom. There are now large numbers of illiterates in the Middle East. Half of the Arab women cannot read or write.