Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Spartanburg-based Denny’s hosts summits on mental health and wellness

Ross Norton //April 21, 2023

Spartanburg-based Denny’s hosts summits on mental health and wellness

Ross Norton //April 21, 2023

Denny's is kicking off a series of summits focused on how companies and individuals can better manage and improve their mental health and wellness.

The first summit is taking place Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the HPAC Theater at USC-Upstate in Spartanburg. The summit will be free to the public and attendees can participate in-person or virtually, according to a news release.

"Denny's has always been committed to feeding people's bodies, minds and souls, and this summit series perfectly aligns with our holistic approach to wellness," Kelli Valade, CEO of the Spartanburg-based national restaurant chain. "The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the topics of mental health and personal wellbeing front and center. Now is the time to think about how we can bring our whole selves to all facets of our lives, including the workplace."

The summit keynote speaker is Dr. Daniel E. Dawes, senior vice president for global health and executive director of the Institute of Global Health Equity at Meharry Medical College. Dawes will discuss the importance of addressing mental health equity and the path forward to achieving a healthier society, according to the news release.

Other panelists include:  

Dr. Shaneeta Johnson, a surgeon, clinician, educator and researcher at Morehouse School of Medicine and senior fellow in Global Health Equity at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute

Dr. Monique May, a board-certified and licensed family physician best known as the "Physician in the Kitchen"

Bennie L. Harris, chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate

Sharon Lykins, Denny's vice president of product innovation

"Mental health and wellness significantly impact the quality of life of individuals, families and communities across the Upstate region and beyond," Harris said in the release. "We are thrilled to join forces with a global leader like Denny's to address one of the most critical public health issues of our time."

Journalist and author Roland S. Martin will moderate two panels, "Mindful Eating," which will address the connection between food and wellness, and "Wellness at the Workplace," which focuses on mental health at work.

The HPAC Theater is at 170 Gramling Drive in Spartanburg.

A second mental health summit will be offered from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. local time on Oct. 10, at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn.

Denny's is one of the largest franchised full-service restaurant brands in the world, based on number of restaurants. The company had had 1,602 franchised, licensed and company restaurants, effective March 31, including international locations in a dozen other countries.