SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Denny’s hosted the first of a series of summits aimed at helping companies and individuals better manage and improve their mental health and wellness.

The inaugural summit took place on April 22 at the HPAC Theater at USC-Upstate. Attendees enjoyed free access with the option to participate in-person or virtually.

Dr. Daniel E. Dawes, senior vice president for global health and executive director of the institute of global health equity at Meharry Medical College, served as the keynote speaker and discussed the importance of addressing mental health equity and the path forward to a healthier society.

Other panelists for the first summit included:

  • Dr. Shaneeta Johnson: 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: 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
  • Sharon Lykins: Denny’s Vice President of product innovation

Journalist Roland S. Martin moderated two panels. The first, “Mindful Eating,” discussed the connection between food and wellness while “Wellness at the Workplace” addressed mental health at work.

“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,” said Kelli Valade, CEO of Denny’s. “The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the topics of mental health and personal well-being 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 second summit is scheduled for October 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Meharry College in Nashville, Tennessee.