March 23, 2023

Denny's Kick Off Mental Health & Wellness Summits

People with their arms around each other's shoulders
Summit to feature keynote by Dr. Daniel E. Dawes, one of the nation's leading experts on mental health equity

SPARTANBURG, S.C., March 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of a national effort to raise awareness and offer expert insights, Denny's Corporation 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 will take place from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST, on April 22, 2023, at the HPAC Theater at USC-Upstate, 170 Gramling Drive, Spartanburg, S.C. The summit will be free to the public and attendees can participate in-person or virtually. Registration is now open through Eventbrite.

"There's no better time than now to focus on our well-being and bringing your most authentic self to the workplace," said Kelli Valade, Denny's Chief Executive Officer. "These summits will bring together our employees, educators, researchers and other experts to hear and learn about mental health resources."

The summit keynote speaker is Dr. Daniel E. Dawes, Senior Vice President for Global Health, Executive Director of the Institute of Global Health Equity at Meharry Medical College. In addition, Dawes is a professor of health law, policy and management and will discuss the importance of addressing mental health equity and the path forward for a healthier society. Other nationally recognized panelists include:  

  • Dr. Shaneeta Johnson, an experienced Chief, Minimally Invasive, Robotic and Bariatric surgeon, clinician, educator, researcher at Morehouse School of Medicine/Senior Fellow in Global Health Equity at Satcher Health Leadership Institute
  • Dr. Monique May, a board-certified and licensed family physician best known as the "Physician in the Kitchen"
  • Dr. Bennie L. Harris, Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate
  • Denny's very own Sharon Lykins, Vice President of Product Innovation

Dr. Bennie L. Harris, Chancellor of USC Upstate, said the summit offers a timely and relevant platform for such an important issue.

"Mental health and wellness significantly impact the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities across the Upstate region and beyond," said USC Upstate Chancellor, Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D. "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."

Nationally acclaimed journalist Roland S. Martin will moderate two panels, "Mindful Eating" and "Wellness at the Workplace," that will address how food is connected to wellness and mental health in the workplace. He will also provide recommendations on what people can to do to address mental health in our homes and communities.

Denny's acknowledges that the post-pandemic period has ignited an increase in loneliness and mental illness. A 2021 American Psychological Association survey revealed that nearly 3 in 5 employees (59%) said they have experienced negative impacts of work-related stress in the past month, and a vast majority (87%) of employees think actions from their employer would help their mental health. 

A second mental health summit will be offered from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. local time, October 10, 2023, at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.

About Denny's Corp
Denny's is a Spartanburg, S.C. based family dining restaurant celebrating its 70th anniversary year and founding purpose: We love to feed people. That purpose has led us to become a restaurant brand that guests worldwide rely on for delicious value and craveable contemporary meals across breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night. Every day, we welcome guests to dine whenever and however they prefer, whether it's at our brick-and-mortar locations, via Denny's on Demand – the first delivery platform in the family dining segment, or at The Meltdown and The Burger Den, our two virtual restaurants. Our longstanding commitment to supporting our local communities is brought to life with our Mobile Relief Diner that delivers hot meals to our neighbors during times of disaster.

Denny's is one of the largest franchised full-service restaurant brands in the world, based on number of restaurants. As of March 1, 2023, Denny's had 1,602 franchised, licensed and company restaurants, which includes 157 restaurants in Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

To learn more about Denny's, please visit our brand website at or the brand's social channels via FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokLinkedIn or YouTube.

SOURCE Denny's