The vast majority of public health students exhibit the kind of ‘clean living’ that is routinely advocated as highly desirable by health promoters. However, this social and cultural distance from many of the most important health issues faced in our society creates a barrier for understanding and working with other population groups. Insider status, knowledge and understanding is essential in developing true insight in developing culturally appropriate interventions. Referencing Rose's influential prevention paradox, a revision is suggested stating that prevention measures are often developed by individuals outside the population in question and may offer little actual benefit to that population. Diversity is public health is essential. This diversity needs to encompass not just traditional foci such as race and ethnicity, but also socio-economic status and numerous other demographic variables.