BACKGROUND Treatment disparities between African Americans (AA) and Caucasians exist in multiple diseases. There are limited studies in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Our objectives were to assess differences in IBD therapies between AA and Caucasians, controlling for disease severity. METHODS We identified outpatients with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD) evaluated at the University of Maryland and the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center from 1997-2005. We assessed medications used and the presence of covariates by race. RESULTS We identified 406 patients; 102 were AA (25%). AA were less likely to receive steroids (56% versus 68%; P = 0.02), mercaptopurine/azathioprine (6-MP/AZA) (28% versus 40%; P = 0.03), infliximab (IFX) (10% versus 20%; P = 0.03), or either 6-MP/AZA or IFX (28% versus 44%; P = 0.005). Age at diagnosis <40 (odds ratio [OR] 2.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-4.54), steroid use (OR 4.75, 95% CI 1.93-11.7), and CD (OR 6.25, 95% CI 3.22-12.5) were positively associated with IFX use, while AA (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.23-1.08) was negatively associated with IFX use. Age at diagnosis <40 (OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.12-3.23), steroid use (OR 10.2, 95% CI 5.37-19.2), and CD (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.43-3.20) were positively associated with either 6-MP/AZA or IFX use, while AA (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.32-1.01) was negatively associated with 6-MP/AZA or IFX use. CONCLUSIONS There were trends toward lower odds of treatment with IFX or either 6-MP/AZA or IFX in AA when compared with Caucasians. Further studies are needed to determine if these differences are due to less severe disease in AA patients or due to disparities in care.