The American Heart Association (AHA), a nonprofit, voluntary health agency funded by private contributions, is dedicated to the reduction of death and disability from cardiovascular diseases, including heart diseases and stroke. The AHA is one of the world's largest voluntary health organizations with about 2,200 community organizations in all States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. More than 3.7 million persons volunteer with the AHA to fight cardiovascular diseases, the nation's No. 1 killer and a leading cause of disability. Preventing heart disease and stroke is the first priority of the American Heart Association. In support of this goal, the AHA has contributed more than $1 billion to cardiovascular research since 1949. Public education programs to inform people how to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke is another priority. The AHA also sponsors continuing medical education seminars and meetings throughout the year.