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The Centre, formerly known as The UQ Centre for General Practice and Primary Health Care, was established at Mater in August 1994, was jointly funded by the Sisters of Mercy and Queensland Health. Since 2001 it has been funded by the Sisters of Mercy and external funds obtained through project work and evaluation consultancies.

The Centre, renamed in 2007 to Mater/University of Queensland Centre for Primary Health Care Innovation, is a collaboration between Mater Health Services and the Discipline of General Practice, School of Medicine, University of Queensland. A strength of the centre has been its capacity to respond to changing community needs and in partnership with key stakeholders to focus on building systems to provide effective healthcare to individuals and communities.