In 1915 a group of New York physicians and social workers concerned about the lack of information on heart-related medical issues formed the first Association for the Prevention and Relief of Heart Disease. Similar groups sprang up in other cities, and in 1924 six cardiologists created a national organization, officially naming it the American Heart Association. Now, 82 years and 12 affiliate offices later, AHA programs cover the United States and Puerto Rico, with the AHA’s national center located in Dallas.

Each year, millions of volunteers and donors support AHA’s mission of reducing death and disability that results from cardiovascular diseases and stroke through research, fundraising and public awareness programming. Texas Lawyer recently asked questions via e-mail of M. Cass Wheeler, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association, and David Livingston, AHA’s corporate secretary and general counsel, both in Dallas. The discussion appears below, edited for length and style.