What is Go Ask Alice! ?

Go Ask Alice! is the health question and answer Internet resource produced by Alice! Health Promotion at Columbia University — a division of Columbia Health.

This site has three frequently used features (among the many):

  • New Go Ask Alice! Q&As of the Week gives you the most recently published inquiries and responses — this section is updated every Friday.
     
  • Search Go Ask Alice! to find health information by subject via a search of the ever-growing Go Ask Alice! archives, which contain thousands of previously-posted questions and answers, and reader responses. The search box is located at the top of every page on the site.
     
  • Ask Alice! gives you the chance to ask and submit a question.

Go Ask Alice! is produced and funded entirely by Columbia University. The site does not receive funding to promote specific products, nor does it accept advertising of any sort.

What is the mission of Go Ask Alice! ?

Go Ask Alice! is a health Q&A Internet resource. It provides readers with reliable, accurate, accessible, culturally competent information and a range of thoughtful perspectives so that they can make responsible decisions concerning their health and well-being. Information provided by Go Ask Alice! is not medical advice and not meant to replace consultation with a health care professional.

When was Go Ask Alice! born?

Well, a lady never reveals her age, but Go Ask Alice! was born in 1993 at Columbia University's Health Promotion program, likely making it the first major health Q&A Internet site. Check out the history page for more information.

What types of questions does Alice! answer?

Go Ask Alice! answers questions about alcohol & other drugs, emotional health, nutrition & physical activity, general health, relationships, and sexual & reproductive health. If you've thought about a health question, it's likely on Go Ask Alice! If you don't find the Health Answer you're looking for, then ask Alice!

Keep in mind, Go Ask Alice! provides health information and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment advice, or a second opinion for health conditions. If you have an existing ailment or an urgent health problem, consult with a health care provider before acting on information contained here.

Who can ask questions?

Originally (back in 1993), the site was for Columbia students only. Its instant success on campus, combined with new Internet capability, quickly landed Go Ask Alice! on the World Wide Web for global access. Inquirers to Go Ask Alice! are anonymous — the question submission process does not require any personally identifying information (e-mail address, etc.).

Go Ask Alice! receives over 1,000 inquiries weekly from college and high school students, parents, teachers, professionals, older adults, and others, on every conceivable health topic. All questions are read. Additionally, the team behind Go Ask Alice! does not make up the questions. The site has always been reader driven and Alice! is committed to keeping the site focused on you, the reader. 

Who answers the questions?

Go Ask Alice! is supported by a team of Columbia University health promotion specialists, health care providers, and other health professionals, along with a staff of information and research specialists and writers. The team members have advanced degrees in public health, health education, medicine, counseling, and a number of other relevant fields.

What happens when information changes?

Responses undergo a standardized review process to ensure high quality and accuracy, and updated content is posted on the home page and on the updated Q&As page. Additionally, you can see both the originally published and updated/reviewed date in each question and answer. If you think a Q&A needs an update, please send a note using the Comments & Corrections form (and be sure to include some references).

Where can I go for more health information?

The Internet, print, and institutional resources prominently featured on the site allow readers to pursue additional information and assistance from hundreds of local, national, and international sources. All resources listed on Go Ask Alice! have been carefully selected by the Alice! team. There are no sponsored or paid listings on the site.

Hey, wasn't there a song...?

The name Go Ask Alice! came to a site producer in a dream, and is not a reference to the Jefferson Airplane song "White Rabbit," "Alice’s Restaurant," the TV show "Alice," Alice in Wonderland, "The Brady Bunch" housekeeper, Alice from "The Honeymooners," Alice Walker, Alice Cooper, Alice in Chains, or any other real or fictitious person, place, or thing named Alice. The Go Ask Alice! Health Question and Answer Internet Resource and The Go Ask Alice Book of Answers: A Guide to Good Physical, Sexual, and Emotional Health by Columbia University's Health Education Program are also not affiliated in any way with the book GO ASK ALICE by Anonymous, edited by Beatrice Sparks, Ph.D.

Are Go Ask Alice! Q&As available in print?

The Go Ask Alice Book of Answers: A Guide to Good Physical, Sexual, And Emotional Health (Henry Holt and Company, Inc., September 1998) features many of site's most intriguing and commonly-asked questions. While the book is still available from your local bookshop, the Q&As are updated on an ongoing basis. We encourage you to use the site for the most up-to-date information. Go Ask Alice! Q&As are also used by teachers and textbook producers as curriculum supplements in high school and college health education & public health classes.

I still have more questions about Alice! Where can I go?

There are a number of responses to questions submitted by readers in the past within the Health Answers library. If you still don't find the answer to your specific question, ask Alice!

I have a comment/suggestion for the site. Where do I sound off?

The team at Go Ask Alice! welcomes all general comments and suggestions about the site from readers. If you have a suggestion, please visit the Comments & Corrections form where you can submit your thoughts. Or, check out the Rants & Raves page if you'd like to view other readers' comments from the past (good and bad).

Do all questions receive a response from Go Ask Alice!?

Go Ask Alice! is not able to respond immediately or individually to queries. All questions are read, however not all questions submitted are selected for publication. It's also good to note that Go Ask Alice! provides health information and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment advice, or a second opinion for health conditions. If you have an existing ailment or an urgent health problem, consult with a health care provider before acting on information contained here.

Why don't I see ads on Go Ask Alice!?

The folks at Alice! Health Promotion, part of Columbia Health, made the carefully considered decision to NOT accept commercial sponsorship of any type for Go Ask Alice! readers have come to rely on the site for honest, frank health information free of commercial messages. It is a point of pride that the site has never included advertising and Alice! is committed to maintaining this policy.