Dr. Kathy Hoffman, PhD in Leadership and Change alumna, published her dissertation titled, Toward Socially Equitable Conditions: Change in Complex Regulatory Systems. The purpose of this qualitative participatory action research was to explore how complexity is engaged and experienced in complex regulatory systems and to understand how cannabis might be regulated in ways that lead to socially equitable conditions. This was accomplished by studying the lived experiences of governmental leaders charged with the responsibility of establishing regulatory frameworks for legalized cannabis where none previously existed. Using the learning history methodology, the study deeply explores the ways that complex systems coexist by capturing the lived experiences of research participants and enhance theoretical understanding of complex regulatory systems. This research contributes to leadership and complexity scholarship by empirically describing how complexity is engaged in complex regulatory systems, examining whether complexity has any connection to the practice of leadership, and adding to the emerging area of cannabis scholarship as it relates to social equity and the broader impacts of the war on drugs.
As the Agency Policy and Rules Manager for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, Dr. Hoffman oversees policy, rule, and legislative development for alcohol, cannabis, vapor, and tobacco products. She joined the agency in 2018, bringing 18 years of experience as a complex civil litigation paralegal in both the private and public sectors with a portfolio that ranged from national pharmaceutical company anti-kickback and false claim cases to cell tower placement suits in small Washington municipalities. She has served as a policy advisor at the Washington State Department of Health, supporting the work of the Pharmacy Commission, the Medical Cannabis Program, and Certificate of Need Program, and as a department representative in Medicaid administrative hearings at the Washington State Health Care Authority.