During March 2011, Dr. Paula Delpech and several of her nursing students traveled to Grenada to participate in an International Study Abroad program. During their time in Grenada, they participated in several service-learning projects. During one of the service learning projects on breast health, 20 lumps of varying sizes were found among the women. In Low-Middle Resource Countries (LMRC), such as Grenada, the rising incidence of breast cancer and the increasing mortality from this disease are major concerns. Currently, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among Grenadian women. Breast cancer accounts for 49% of female cancers, with an age-standardized rate of 170.2 per 100,000 for all cancer sites combined. It is estimated that Grenada ranks 23rd highest in the world in breast cancer death.
Due to this experience, Dr. Delpech began working with a group of physicians, nurses, and sociologists from Grenada and Miami to find a solution to this health problem that would be effective and sustainable in the long-term. The St. Mark Community Health Project is a product of these discussions.