This paper outlines the development of family medicine in seven Middle Eastern countries. Some of the first family medicine activity occurred in Turkey in 1961, in Bahrain in 1978, in Lebanon in 1979, in Jordan in 1981, and in Kuwait in 1983. Family medicine programs have also been established in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, and Iraq. In most programs, family medicine training occurs largely in hospitals, even though few Middle Eastern family physicians practice in hospitals after completion of residency training. Thus, there is a need for better outpatient training, but resistance from those responsible for traditional medical education makes it difficult to change the current model of family medicine education. There is also need for better opportunities for professional development after graduation and for establishing research activity in family medicine.