Cara Varley, MD, MPH

Cara Varley, MD, MPH

Cara Varley, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine
OHSU School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, 
Center for Infectious Disease Studies


BS, University of Washington, 2004
MPH, Oregon Health & Science University, 2009
MD, Oregon Health & Science University, 2015


Intern and Resident, Internal Medicine, Tulane University, 2018


Infectious Diseases, Oregon Health & Science University, 2020

Board Certification

American Board of Internal Medicine Board Certification, 2018
American Board of Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease Board Certification, 2020

Clinical Interests

  • Mycobacterial infections
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) treatment and prevention
  • Structural Determinants of Health

Research Interests

  • Non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections
  • Infectious associated with biologic therapies
  • Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV
  • Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
  • Structural Determinants of Health


Dr. Varley is an infectious disease specialist and an epidemiologist in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. Before earning her medical degree from OHSU in 2015, Dr. Varley worked as an epidemiologist with a focus on the epidemiology of tuberculosis and non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections (NTM) in Oregon, and the infectious risks of biologic therapy in patients with rheumatologic diseases. After earning her medical degree at OHSU, she completed her Internal Medicine residency at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She returned to Oregon to pursue her Infectious Diseases fellowship at OHSU and completed an additional year of training with a focus on management of mycobacterial and chronic chest infections. She is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and sees patients in the Oregon Mycobacterial Clinic.

Dr. Varley’s primary research interest is the epidemiology of pulmonary NTM disease, specifically disease progression and development of outcome measures. In collaboration with Dr. Kevin Winthrop, Dr. Luke Strnad and the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Center for Infectious Disease Studies, she serves as Primary investigator and Co-investigator on various NTM disease clinical trials. She also has an interest in expanding HIV screening and access to HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), incorporating structural determinants of health in medical education, and providing clinical and research mentorship to students, residents and fellows. She also teaches the HIV epidemiology course through the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.

In her spare time, Dr. Varley enjoys traveling, photography, eating her way through the Portland food scene and spending time with her partner and 2 dogs.

Representative Publications

  1. Varley CD, Winthrop KL. Nontuberculous Mycobacteria: Diagnosis and Therapy. Clinics in Chest Medicine. 2022 March; 43(1):89-98.
  2. Varley CD, Rogers LM, Dixon BR, Bernard SC, Lacy DB, Sulpizio E, Aronoff DM, Townes JM. Anaerobe. 2022 Jan 24; 102520. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2022.102520. PubMed PMID: 35085782.
  3. Varley CD, Winthrop KL. Long-Term Safety of Rituximab (Risks of Viral and Opportunistic Infections). Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2021 Jul 16;23(9):74. doi: 10.1007/s11926-021-01037-3. Review. PMID: 34269903.
  4. Varley CD, Winthrop KL. Chapter 8: Vaccination before or during pregnancy. In: Karen S, Eliza C, Monika Ø, editors. Practical Management of the Pregnant Patient with Rheumatic Disease. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; March 28, 2021.
  5. Varley CD, Ku JH, Winthrop KL. COVID-19 pandemic management and the rheumatology patient. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2021 Mar;35(1):101663. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2021.101663. Epub 2021 Jan 13. Review. PubMed PMID: 33536145
  6. Henkle E, Novosad, SA, Schafer S, Hedberg K, Siegel SAE, Ku JH, Varley CD, Prevots DR, Marras T, Winthrop KL.  Long-term outcomes in a population-based cohort with respiratory nontuberculous mycobacteria isolation. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2017 Apr 13, 2017. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 28406709
  7. Varley CD, Henkle E, Ku JH, Schafer S, Winthrop KL. Incidence of Disseminated Nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) in HIV-infected Patients; Oregon, 2007-2012. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017;23(3):533-535. PMID: 28221103
  8. Henkle E, Novosad S, Siegel SAR, Varley CD, Stadnik A, Winthrop KL. Northwest Biorepository Of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Patients- Baseline Characteristics. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2016; 193:A3018.
  9. Winthrop KL, Ku JH, Marras TK, Griffith DE, Daley CL, Olivier KN, Aksamit TR, Varley CD, Mackey K, Prevots DR. The tolerability of linezolid in the treatment of nontuberculous mycobacterial disease. European Respiratory Journal. Eur Respir J. 2015 Apr;45(4):1177-9. PMID: 25614169
  10. Varley CD, Deodhar AA, Ehst B, Bakke A, Blauvelt A,  Vega R, Yamashita S, Winthrop KL. Staphylococcus aureus colonization among individuals with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases treated with TNF- inhibitor therapy. Rheumatology. 2014 Feb;53(2):332-7. PMID: 24173434
  11. Wasson NJ, Varley CD, Schwab P, Fu R, Winthrop KL. Serious skin & soft tissue infections in rheumatoid arthritis patients taking anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha drugs: a nested case-control study. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2013 Nov 11;13:533. PMID: 24498926
  12. Ku JH, Winthrop KL, Varley CD, Sullivan A, Ehst BD, Blauvelt A, Deodhar AA. Implications for biologic therapy: Staphylococcus aureus decolonization of individuals with a history of recurrent skin and soft tissue infection. JAMA Dermatol. 2013 Aug 1;149(8):986-9. PMID: 23784002
  13. Winthrop KL, Chen L, Fraunfelder FW, Ku JH, Varley CD, Suhler E, Hills WL, Gattey D, Baddley JW, Liu L, Grijalva CG, Delzell E, Beukelman T, Patkar NM, Xie F, Herrinton LJ, Fraunfelder FT, Saag KG, Lewis JD, Solomon DH, Curtis JR. Initiation of Anti-TNF Therapy and the Risk of Optic Neuritis: From the Safety Assessment of Biologic ThERapy (SABER) Study. Am J Ophthalmol. 2013 Jan;155(1):183-189. PMID: 22967869
  14. Winthrop K, Baxter R, Liu L, Varley C, Curtis J, Baddley J, McFarland B, Austin D, Radcliffe L, Suhler E, Choi D, Rosenbaum J, Herrinton L. Mycobacterial diseases and antitumour necrosis factor therapy in USA. Ann Rheum Dis. 2013 Jan;72(1):37-42. PMID: 22523429
  15. Gattey DM, Varley CD, Almario BM, Winthrop KL. “Hospital Infection Control: Eye infections.” In Clinical Decision Support: Hospital Medicine Online. Edited by Wiese, J, Auerbach, A, Glasheen, J, Li, J. -. Wilmington, DE: Decision Support in Medicine, LLC., 2013.
  16. Winthrop KL, Varley CD, Sullivan A, Hopkins RS. Photo Quiz. Happy buddha? Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Jun;54(11):1628, 1670-1. PMID: 22573894
  17. Winthrop KL, Varley CD, Ory J, Cassidy PM, Hedberg K. Pulmonary disease associated with nontuberculous mycobacteria, Oregon, USA. Emerg Infect Dis 2011;17:1760-1. PMID: 21888816
  18. Varley CD, Gross ND, Marx DP, Winthrop KL. Tuberculosis of the nasolacrimal duct. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011 Sep-Oct;27(5):e129-31. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0b013e318201d4fb. Review. PubMed PMID: 21242852.
  19. Kendall BA, Varley CD, Choi D, Cassidy PM, Hedberg K, Ware MA, Winthrop KL. Distinguishing tuberculosis from nontuberculous mycobacteria lung disease, Oregon, USA. Emerg Infect Dis 2011;17:506-9. PMID: 21392445.
  20. Winthrop KL, Baxter R, Liu L, McFarland B, Austin D, Varley C, Radcliffe L, Suhler E, Choi D, Herrinton LJ. The reliability of diagnostic coding and laboratory data to identify tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacterial disease among rheumatoid arthritis patients using anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2011 Mar;20(3):229-35. doi: 10.1002/pds.2049. Epub 2010 Dec 10. PMID: 21351303.
  21. Kendall BA, Varley CD, Hedberg K, Cassidy PM, Winthrop KL. Isolation of non-tuberculous mycobacteria from the sputum of patients with active tuberculosis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2010 May;14(5):654-6. PMID: 20392362.
  22. Erard V, Guthrie KA, Varley C, Heugel J, Wald A, Flowers ME, Corey L, Boeckh M. One-year acyclovir prophylaxis for preventing varicella-zoster virus disease after hematopoietic cell transplantation: no evidence of rebound varicella-zoster virus disease after drug discontinuation. Blood. 2007 Oct 15;110(8):3071-7. doi: 10.1182/blood-2007-03-077644. Epub 2007 May 21. PMID: 17515400.
  23. Vu D, Peck AJ, Nichols WG, Varley C, Englund JA, Corey L, Boeckh M. Safety and tolerability of oseltamivir prophylaxis in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients: a retrospective case-control study. Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Jul 15;45(2):187-93. doi: 10.1086/518985. Epub 2007 Jun 5. PMID: 17578777.