Osato Chitou ’10, the current medicare compliance officer for Gateway Health Plan, has had a long history of advocacy work that began before her legal career, including stints working for the National AIDS Fund and as an HIV/AIDS Social Worker Case Manager.
She completed her practicum for her public health degree at a refugee camp for Liberian and Sierra Leonean civil war refugees and has spent the bulk of her legal career ensuring that hospitals and health plans comply with state and federal laws.
Chitou, the current President of the Alumni Association in Newark, was honored by the Rutgers Law School Association of Black Law Students and its 26th annual Jazz for Justice Program in Newark in early February.
After accepting her award, Chitou told the students that she was proud to be a graduate of Rutgers Law School because of its commitment to social justice, “We do provide a voice for the voiceless. We have a story to tell.”
Robert Ratish ‘08, the former president of the alumni association, said Chitou is passionate about supporting the law school, “As President of the Alumni Association, Osato works hard to strengthen bonds among alumni and current students. Her selfless dedication to the Law School community reflects her belief in the ideals that make Rutgers Law School so special.”
She talked about being the daughter of Nigerian immigrants and growing up in Brooklyn before attending college.
Previously, she was the Director of Medicare Compliance for Amida Care, a not-for-profit health plan in New York. She’s also served as Director of Legal & Regulatory Affairs for CarePoint Health Plans as well as compliance officer for Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. She also was a legal specialist who oversaw Managed Care Organizations New Jersey market entry and exit for the New Jersey Department of Human Services and was an associate at Moser & Singer LLP.
She teaches courses in public health and healthcare management at the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration and is on the Executive Board of Directors for the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association and serves as co-diversity officer.
Before attending Rutgers Law School, she earned her master’s degree in public health and focused on community health education, traveling to the Buduburam Liberian Refugee Camp in Ghana. She also spent a year with AmeriCorps, working with the National Aids Fund providing counseling, education and HIV testing in rural North Carolina.
She got her undergraduate degree from Boston University and has a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina.
She said, “The future is very exciting to me as access to healthcare is a conversation that will not go away. I see myself as a change maker and advocate and look forward to using the tools I collect during this journey to make a significant impact on the health of many.”